Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quitting Principals vs. Quitting Schools vs. Quitting Teaching

In response to "Teachers Quit Principals, Not Schools," in which the author argued that teachers leave because of poor leadership, I would say the following: I'm absolutely certain that this is absolutely true in some cases, but sweeping generalizations that encompass an argument that all teachers leave schools for a single reason oversimplifies the issue. Schools are cultural fits, and it can take several tries to find a school with a culture that matches an individual teacher, which is why it's a bit sad when young, inexperienced teachers believe that because they didn't like teaching at one particular school, they don't like the profession, period.

If you're an older first-time teacher, one who has worked in other fields or industries prior to teaching, or you've taught at different schools, you may understand the distinction. You come to realize that because one job was terrible doesn't mean that all jobs are terrible. That professional experience, whether gained from teaching or simply from having worked at multiple jobs, is invaluable in making that distinction. Teachers ostensibly incorporate self-reflection into our teaching, teaching students how to reflect on their learning, and needing to reflect on our own teaching methods; yet teachers can be just as bad at reflecting on an experience and admitting hard truths to themselves.

Sometimes a school just isn't a good fit. Sometimes the administration is not good (one school at which I've taught had unethical administrators who passed failing students without consulting the teachers); sometimes teachers don't agree with how administrators lead and direct the school; sometimes teachers act unprofessionally and don't fulfill the terms of a contract; sometimes teachers just aren't very good at their jobs; sometimes there's not even any one particular thing wrong, or there's not anything even "wrong" as such - it's a matter of personality and fit. And sometimes teachers leave teaching altogether for better-paying pastures, or their professional interests change, or various other reasons have less to do with education and more to do with external factors. It's an oversimplification to imply that all teachers "quit principals." Teachers quit teaching, not necessarily people.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Year Six

Today marks our sixth anniversary, which is really not a long time to be married, but Ed and I were remarking last week how quickly the time has gone.

Ed realized very quickly what he had
gotten himself into. At that point, it was
too late to renege, though.
I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage this past week. I remember the priest with whom we met while going through Pre-Cana saying that at around the seventh year of our marriage, we would become disillusioned; this was a common and regular occurrence. I wonder if that happens only if you go into one's marriage with a lot of illusions. I disagree with the adage that love makes you blind; I think that real, actual love makes you see very clearly.

I know people get divorced for lots of reasons - and in cases of abuse, those reasons are good ones - but I also wonder how many people get divorced because the marriage didn’t “mean that much.”
We were married, just not very well. The marriage didn’t mean much to us, and so when things got rough, we broke up. I had been too immature to know what I was getting into. I thought passion was the most important thing. When my romantic feelings left, I followed them out the door. It was just like any breakup, but with extra paperwork.
I don't know much one can know what is getting into when getting married. I still remember reading accounts by (usually) women who would proclaim uncertainty, or worse, but didn't want to postpone or cancel the wedding because of its cost, others' expectations, hurting the would-be husband, etc.

In any case, this year for one was a quieter one. I started a history endorsement just this past week, mostly because I want a raise (I need four more classes to obtain the raise), but since I need eight classes for a history endorsement, I might just keep going. Ed is continuing to work as an analyst for SkyWest.

Last summer we went to Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, where we saw a couple thousand dinner bones exposed on the cliff face inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall, as well as some really beautiful geology formations and petroglyphs. We're staying in Utah again for our summer vacation; we're going to the Bryce Canyon Annual Astronomy Festival.

I presented the MLA Convention in Philadelphia in January, and I'll be presenting again at CCCC Summer Conference in June in San Jose, which Ed will accompany me to. And since Ed grew up in San Jose, he'll show me around, and we'll be able to have a mini-vacation while we're there.