13 years... thirteen long years is how long I've been a teacher. I've taught a wide range of ages/subjects- preschool (Lord help me; that was terrible), 6th grade, 6th grade reading coach, 3rd grade, 5th grade, and now 5th inclusion. In the next few weeks, a new position will open at my school- curriculum coach. And I'm thinking of applying for it. It's something I've pondered over for over a week now. I can't seem to pull the plug and submit my application, though. Why, you ask?
I've always wanted to be a teacher. My mom is a teacher, and since I was a little girl, it's what I've wanted, too. I love working with children. I love the fun, the excitement, seeing them learn. It's a very fulfilling job. My reasons for wanting to leave the classroom are not pretty. They will make me sound insensitive and compassion-less.
I want out because inclusion is making me crazy. Yes, I just wrote that. The day in, day out of working with kids of such wide range of disabilities is feeling impossible. And I will not get on my political soapbox, but I will summarize how I feel with one sentence, also calloused and insensitive. This is also my opinion (duh, it's my blog). NOT ALL STUDENTS BELONG IN THE REGULAR CLASSROOM. If I felt like my situation was limited to a year or two, I could do that, but this is the way it is for me now. It seems once you get put into inclusion, you never get out. Before you all send me to mental hell, hear me out. I have NINE students with disabilities, I have non-readers, children with autism, oppositional defiance, and a range of IQs from mental retardation to gifted. Oh yes, and I have 16 "regular" students, and NO AIDE. One of my students has a history of hitting his teacher. Last year, I was attacked on the school bus by one of my students, including him hitting, biting, punching, and scratching me. I have another teacher that takes out small groups, but that's only for two hours of the day.
And I'm exhausted. Each day, I'm stuck in terrible predicament of wanting/needing/trying to meet the needs of 25 children. And the task is impossible. It's nearly impossible for a "regular" classroom teacher, much less with what I've got going on. Each day I fail.
The coach in me can't help but to think how much easier my life would be if I didn't have classroom work to do on my own time.
And then there's the kids. I would not be working with kids, except for maybe a small group here and there. For the most part, I would be doing meetings, plannings, and working with teachers. Blah, right? It's even boring to type. However, it would be sweet relief, sweet sweet relief from the chaos, the madness, the failure. And that's where I am stuck. Do I take the easier road? For sanity's sake, do I bail on what I've dedicated my past 13 years to? Will I be happier?
The AD has been coming out to practice recently. And because of this, Coach C has resumed speaking to me. I actually got to decide my own athletes' events in our upcoming meet, and we had a real discussion about Piggly Wiggly and the meets coming up. I think he's finally settled with the fact that he is stuck with me, and he better play nice. (The AD is watching closely.) Maybe, just maybe, we've turned the corner and this season will end up being great. My hopes are high.
I also have a wheelchair athlete this year. I have to admit, I was pretty freaked out at first. I had no idea what to do with him at first. Thankfully, my coach gave me a few contacts, and I was able to get in touch with two different wheelchair coaches (both at university or higher level). They have given me some great feedback, and I'm even going to send them videos of my athlete for them to help with form and technique. He will be the first wheelchair athlete in our whole section. I'm hoping I don't screw this up. We have our first meet Thursday. We aren't near ready, but that's true with any meet that's less than a month from opening practice day. It's just nature of the beast.
*No pregnancy updates this time, but all is well.
Run Happy, friends!