I walked out of an afternoon professional development session today in a rip-roaring surge of anger and frustration. As the evening wears on and my energy level crashes, I am left depressed and in despair regarding my choice 18 years ago to leave my career as a financial analyst behind and train to become a teacher.
I’m tired of being the crack-pot, the weirdo, and the one they roll their eyes about because I want to look beyond the cute projects and talk about outcomes, habits, and educational philosophies. I want to explore, debate, collaborate and create. I want to try, fail, examine, reflect, and try again.
I left the business world because I wanted to do something useful, something important, something transformative. I still want to feel that I am doing something valuable. What I came to realize today is that what I do in my “teaching” job has little value in our educational environment or our society. In short, as it doesn’t seem to matter how I teach or what I teach, since we have no common reference of what constitutes good teaching and learning, what I do has no intrinsic value, is essentially worthless. This is probably a good thing as less and less of my time is spent on creating and delivering curriculum and my time is increasingly taken up by data collection, input and analysis, testing, testing, and more testing, clerical work, and attending meetings where I have no voice or vote whatsoever.
The other day, a friend tried to make me feel better by reminding me that while I may be frustrated by the lack of important conversations where I work, it is clear that these conversations aren’t happening in many other places either. Is this all we have left with which to console ourselves – that we have company in our failure? Is this enough to sustain us?