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Monday, February 13, 2006 

Day 110: The ups and downs of teacherhood

Teacherhood - add this word to the dictionary please - I never heard that word before but I think it describes well the way I feel about teaching. A special mental state that combines teaching with feelings of motherhood.

Not the way I think about teaching, but the way I feel. I feel part mom, part teacher.

When I'm in class lecturing on a new topic, writing things down on the blackboard, handing out assignments and specifying how I want the next lab report written up, I'm definitely a simple teacher. When I'm correcting and grading hundreds of tests, I'm still a teacher. But when my heart fills with angst as I add up some of the marks, specifically those of the students that repeatedly fail, fail and fail, the motherly side of me takes over. Through these students' repeated inability to get a passing grade, I feel MY failure to reach out to them and teach them the way THEY need to be taught. And if I can't do that, I'm not really doing my job.

I'm also trying to give as much support as I can to my special student, the one who is depressed. I'm starting to feel depressed myself, not because of her, but because teaching is not easy, letting go of those that fail repeatedly is both impossible and tormenting. I can't balance this the way all the other (real) teachers seem to.

Perhaps this whole adventure was a mistake. And yet, tomorrow morning, I'll be smiling at them as we dissect sheep brains at 8:30AM... go figure...

But I could never do anything else. I love my kids, all 200+ of them. Even the evil ones, the annoying ones, the loud ones, the obnoxious ones. I love them because every day I learn more than I teach, I get more than I give, and I get love in return for my lessons.

Yes, it is so hard when they fail. You hurt for them, because you know this may be the story of their lives. But you also have to remember to rejoice when they succeed. My second graders and I read "Mummies in the Morning" (#3 in the Magic Tree House series) and they shocked me with their reading abilities and insights into the story. These are the "approaching/on grade level" kids. I am blessed by them every day.

We just hit day 100, more done than left!

I'm not a mother, and who knows if I ever will be, but everyday I teach I feel like I get an awfully good insight in to the type of mother I'd be. AND a lot of practice.:)

ok here is what you do. take a scalpal full of the sheep brains and pretend to eat them. better still, hide a little cup of raspberry jelly and peanut next to the sheep brains but out of the students sight. scoop up some really fast and take a bite. then stand back for and watch them wake up. i call it a teacher's revenge.

I teach in college, and I feel part mother part teacher too. I want them all to succeed, and I feel very much as though they were my own kids when I tell them to do their homework, come to class, and come in to get help when they are stuck. Some listen, and some don't, but that's just like being a parent too.

you've just described my dilemma as a first-year teacher...i do believe this is the most difficult thing to deal with...or possibly the lack of appreciation for the work i put into what i do...i simply hate that it's those students who work the hardest who do the worst. for every red mark i make on the page, i can picture their face falling when i hand it back, and it breaks my heart. i know there are times when the lightbulb comes on, but it's sometimes difficult to remember those times.

i love that word..."teacherhood"...it's so appropriate.

The phrase "hit the nail on the head" comes to mind here. I have felt exactly the same, practically on a daily basis for the past 3 years.

Just stopping in to say hi, Lolita. Have a great week, and hang in there!

I was here.

Cheers!

Hello.

I like your blog. I run the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School and I am the president of the Association of Online K-12 Schools. I would like to offer to host your blog for the coming year(s). Please check out our association I think you will find some things to help in your teaching and in your blogging life.

http://www.scs.sk.ca/cyber/aok12s/home.htm

Darren Cannell
dcannell@scs.sk.ca

Sounds like you are a very empathetic teacher, and I truly admire that. Empathy is one of those funny things that can't be taught, and your students are better because you have it for them. Just be careful that your success isn't completely predicated on theirs. A friend of mine worked in juvinile hall and the only way he made it through was to remember what his boss said, "it usually takes someone about 68 times to get it, and you were number 34." This doesn't completely apply to your situation, but the idea is the same. Do your best, keep trying new ways to reach them and that's success in and of itself. Nice blog, I will continue to check it out down the road, and if you would like to check mine out please feel free. I think, as a new teacher, you would find it as useful as I find yours. Cheers!

This is my 3rd year of teaching and I just love it. Even though there are difficult days, it's the best and most rewarding job I've ever had.

This software helps me grade papers fast..it's an ez grader type.

http://www.egrader.net

I am an education student hopeing to one day become a teacher and I know from having the experience being the student who has gotten a couple low grades in a row nothing gives you the drive to keep trying like a teacher like you who cares about you and wants you to succeed

I found your blog whilst looking for education blogs on Google.

I'm very impressed by your own "learning curve" and you sound like a great teacher.

Being from the land down under, we have only 5 1/2 weeks left of the school year before summer holidays.

And yes I have a calendar to mark down the days until report cards are due, final assessment dates etc.

I teach several subjects from Yrs 7-10 and teaching across 4 subjects can be a nightmare but I have to be organised.

I think you have to be borderline anal to be a teacher if you want to be a good one! :)

Love the blog. Keep it up :)

As a future teacher, I like to read how other teachers feel about thier students and how they teach. It helps me be some what prepared for what i have to face when i become a teacher.

Wow! Teacherhood. Yep that's a good word. I feel the same way!

Asphyxia activity (aka The Choking Game) is known all over this country, Canada and the world. There's a great chance that your child or grandchild, niece or nephew has already heard of it and has tried it or may be enticed to play it. Children as young as 6 years old have explained it to shocked parents. They don't know the deadliness or the dangers of permanent disabling brain damage, they think it's fun, safe and silly. Please help by signing the petition below. The life you save in the future may be a child who means the world to you. mom

A Petition for the D.A.R.E program and every Elementary/Middle School Health Program to incorporate Asphyxia Activity into the cirricula has begun to circulate -

Your signature means we insist on keeping our children safe -
"Sign Here at the DB Foundation.com"

Please feel free to copy and paste this. Blog it, Link, it, Forward it!!


The more signatures, the bigger the impact!

Professor David Cohen, from the University of Michigan, has called teaching the impossible profession. Despite the fact that it's impossible we've got to continue to try our best. Don't feel like you're a failure if your students fail. Teachers fail when they stop striving to ensure that every student succeeds.

Andrew Pass
http://www.pass-ed.com/Living-Textbook.html

Your blog is great !!! I just start reading it. Please keep this blog, I really want to read all articles in your blog.



~ Hong Kong

I am going to school to be a teacher and i know it must be a difficult job to have. I believe that teacherhood really should be a word. When you spend time each day with your students a motherly feeling must come in to play. Keep up the good work as a teacher.

Hey there!

I'm a first year with you. Luckily, I'm surrounded by a lot of mentors in my family (most of them have at least 15 years under their teaching belt).

This is what they told me when I get that "I'm failing them," feeling:

You are on a roller coaster. Every time you go up you a hill,you get a rush, every time you go down you become scared. You have only been on this roller coaster for a little while. After you are on it for 35 years, the highs are just as high, but the lows become part of the ride.

Remember these things:
-Even Schindler couldn't save them all.
-You're job is to run the marathon, not the sprint. You have to keep yourself up in order to be good for them. So stop beating yourself up. -If you can say to yourself at night, "I did the very best I could with what I was given today," then rest well.
-No matter what--you are fighting the good fight.

Hey, I'm taking education classes right now, and I love your blog. Thanks for the worning me that I will be emotionally involved in my students' lives.

hiya! I have been reading your blog and really like it! I've recently created an education portal to share classroom resources and was wondering if you would linke share with me? Just trying to get some exposure, let me know what you think!! www.free2teach.co.za

thanks :D

Hey- I love this idea for a blog! I am new to the blogging world and such- but am finding so many interesting people! I am here to let you know about a site I started, www.bookclub4boys.com. I'm a mother of 4 boys. I started a book club for my oldest when his First grade teacher recommended he repeat the grade- because he was such a poor student... specifically in reading! We advanced him, but I made it a "mommy mission" to get him reading! (I started a Boy Book club.) After FOUR years of hosting a book club for him and now younger siblings... I just had his parent teacher conference- where his teacher was BEAMING to inform me, he's in the HIGHEST reading level in the school! (He's in 5th grade but reading at a 8.6 reading level!!) I was shocked- because he still doesn't read for fun... but he does read the book selected for book club and he and his friends have a blast at our ACTIVITY packed bookclub meetings.
Since this has been such a HUGE sucess for my family - and the other boys in our group- I started this site to share all my book club outlines and ideas for FREE! So please check out my site! And pass the information on to the parents of your students!
Sincerely,
Laura
www.bookclub4boys.com

This comment has been removed by the author.

After I'd been a secondary teacher for about eight years, I felt a bit burnt out from being so devoted. It was time for me to start a family anyway. Subsequently, I discovered I loved - and still love - being a mother. Being a mother made me realise how close to parenting 'teacherhood' actually was. I returned to full time secondary teaching after about 11 years out of it doing part-time adult teaching and bringing up my two kids. I think I'm a better teacher now then I ever was prior to having my own children. Yes, teaching is very similar to parenting. But I'm so relieved that some of the kids I teach go home to parents other than me!

I had a friend who taught for 2 years and said "No more". I think that teaching 8th graders has to be one of the hardest jobs for such little pay.. you really have to love your job hey? :-)

I am studying to become a teacher and have two years left after this semester. I become overwhelmed thinking about having my own class where I am the one who is accountable for their learning for one twelfth of their schooling life. I realise after reading your blog that to be an effective teacher I need to be not just willing but am required to give all that I am to my class.
Thankyou for yoru honesty!

Teaching is a profession that requires us to not only educate our students in scholarly ways, but we are also to educate them in how we act and communicate with one another.
It is important that we love on each one of our students, as they may not get that love and care from home.
I am a hopeful guidance counselor, studying Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University. We have talked multiple times recently about how important it is for children to have structure in a classroom because so many of them may not have structure at home. Children thrive on structure. They also thrive on tender love and care. These children may not see it at home so we need to be sure that we show them love in the classroom as well.

You sound like such a great teacher! To show that much concern and compassion for your students is just beyond words; because many teachers lack that. Your not only being a teacher but your also being a great mother figure. I believe this is exactly how my first year of teaching will be. I hate to leave those students that continue to fail behind, but I know I can't neglect the rest of my class either. However, in the end I know that all things will work out for the best, because every thing happens for a reason.

me too... I love my kids soo!

for me, we have to teach them well, to become a person that usefull for our contry, become a doctor, scientiest, or the next president may be?

well... if you need more "resources" to pull your idea to face the kids, I found something very nice in http://www.theteachingpost.com.

they provide me sounds, videos, pics, docs, etc to give me more idea and methodology in managing them.

I would have to agree with what you wrote. I taught for 6 years before leaving to head into the business world. I can vividly remember feeling like half teacher, half parent. It's your parenting gene that kicks in, because I'm a man and I had the same reaction as you. Keep up the good work, but remember, taking on the parental role isn't about letting things slide. It's about setting clear expectations and encouraging kids to reach those levels.

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Teaching is not an easy job and we need to do more to support those that spend their days instructing our kids.

I know the days of a teacher can be unbelievably challenging, but the challenges are oh-so-worthwhile when you have a day like I recently had. You can read more about it on my blog at www.wqlnreadysetlearn.wordpress.com. I had an amazing experience this week as we traveled to the Zoo with PBS Kids Host Miss Rosa!

If you are a mother and you teach, that is the hardest part. It is because you feel that you want the best for all your students.

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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Hi,
Teaching is not an easy task. A teacher must be very careful at the time of teaching. Student’s future is in their hands. I like your post, thanks for sharing.

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I am quite interesting in this topic hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts.
bba

I feel the same way in that we feel like mothers while teaching. Sometimes I feel I have other roles as well. I have taught for nine years in an inclusion classroom in the state of Virginia and have loved the students like my own. I even had one that called me mom and I found myself answering to her. We worry that we fail at reaching some students but later it all pays off when they come back to tell you what they remember about your class and what you ment to them.
Jamie

There is so many wonderful things about being a teacher.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, boojeebeads.com is having a contest where every teacher in your school can win a free gift! Check out the contest at my link.

Hello,
We are asking for your assistance, and guidance to get the word out about an
amazing program to make small pets available to grammar school teachers
in the classroom.

This program is designed to help teachers that would like small animals as
teaching aids or mascots etc. in the classroom, or to assist teachers who
presently have animals, in obtaining supplies needed to care for the pet.
We realize that teachers have limited funds and our program offers grants
of up to $150.00 for the purchase of small animals such as fish, hamsters,
birds, as well as supplies.

We have the money, we have the program, we have a website, all that is
needed is your help to get the word out. We at Pet Care Trust, feel that
exposing children to the care and responsibility for animals is imperative
in the development of good character and compassion in relationship to all
living things. The care of animals teaches children life affirming values.
If you could pass this along, post it on your website or give me advice on the best
Way to the get this information to teachers it would be much appreciated.

www.petsintheclassroom.org
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Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!
mba

Keep up the great work. It's great to follow the adventures of a new teacher.

We work closely with new and veteran teachers doing field science in an international settings. It's great to watch new teachers bond with students in such an unusual setting. Keep making it happen in the classroom!

This kind of information is very limited on internet. Nice to find the post related to my searching criteria. Your updated and informative post will be appreciated by blog loving people.

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it is really great to read your post.Thanks for sharing informative post.
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Best teacher award goes to you. Appreciate your ideas. Have to follow you regularly!


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When you said Teacherhood, I thought you were refering to some unscrupulous part of a city where teachers hang and engage in bad behavior!

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  • I'm Lolita
  • From Canada
  • Challenges... don't we all love a good challenge? University, married life, a mortgage, kids, keeping my sanity while we cruise through life at 100 MPH... why not try my hand at teaching for a year. After all, a school year is only 180 days - anyone should be able to survive 180 days, right? Well, I'm about to find out - follow my journey and enjoy my trials and tribulations as I embark in this 180 day rollercoaster ride of teenage hormones and drama, spiked with discipline, homework, exams and surprises I'm sure...
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