Focusing on the Teacher Part of the Teacher Leader (I Am New)

Jose Vilson Education, Jose



Confession time: this teacher has been a little down on his luck will. My girlfriend pointed out to me this year that I’ve shared less stories about what happens inside the classroom, particularly discussing the kids themselves. At first, I wanted to come up with counterexamples, thinking that this may be some brain warp I just made up myself.

But no, she was right.

And in saying that, she helped me come to terms with my lack of passion which has been replaced with a bit of malaise. I’ve become discontented with some surrounding situations and the futility of the policies and structures (or lack thereof) in my building. This isn’t purely administrative or anything, but I wonder if NYC Department of Education as a whole actually cares about our kids. Thus, as a teacher leader, some of the energy with which I approached my profession became negative thoughts that didn’t let me be the transformative leader I pegged myself to be.

In other words, I officially saw the burnout.

And the burnout isn’t just something you wake up with the next morning and shower it off. It’s like a slow motion plane crash. At first, it’s really fast and you know there’s something wrong, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Yet, you do nothing to change it and just continue spinning out of control. This is where I usually hear “It’s just getting around to the end of the year, of course you feel this way.

No. It’s unacceptable.

I don’t like the feeling of knowing that something I felt so passionate about, so enthralled in, that which succumbs the majority of my life’s work, the profession that has often given me cause to continue on into the next day, would leave me so readily. I affirm that I’m done with the BS, done with the gossip, the hate, the malfeasance, the idiocy, and the lies that have somehow coated my armor during this rough patch. It’s time to get re-motivated and positive about this year.

And so I probably crashed sometime last week just in time for the NYS Math Test. The best part about this crash, though, is that I didn’t fall nose first. I’ve landed softly on this plateau where I can recognize this as a minor setback to the overall plan. Fortunately, I have people I can bounce ideas off of and real patience that tempers me really.

Most of all, I had the wherewithall to, after all the periods teaching, and my presentation about inquiry team, to sit down in my desk, and start cleaning up that g-d-awful mess on my desk. With the hallways silent and the doorways mostly shut, I felt like the last man standing.

I am new.