Teaching #101: Please be aware that our kids/students are struggling.

I have seen a lot recently about teachers not being okay. This is absolutely true, but I think it is overshadowing the struggles of our students, our children, during this time.

I am a teacher in a public school in a very wealthy district. The vast majority of my students are motivated, well-behaved, and “capable” readers and writers. They come from solid family lives where they are feed and cared for well. This is not to say that there are not issues with students in these areas, but these issues are not the “norm”. The teachers here work hard and are compensated. The average salary in my district tops $100,000 a year.

All of this being said, I am seeing my students struggle in ways I have not in the past. I see students with tremendous holes in their learning. They may have a strength in one area and a significant weakness in another. There are ninth graders in my class who struggle to decode three words in a ten word sentence that is below their current grade level. I have students who struggle to sit in their seats, who are falling asleep during class, who refuse to come to school.

The other day another parent reached out to me because her 8th grade son who has an IEP is not making any gains in reading. His most recent assessment shows regression. She is asking me to tutor him. I can’t. I have too much on my plate already. I am already tutoring two students and I can’t add any more.

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The teachers around me are complaining and unhappy. Everything is too much. It is too much to even think about adding another thing to their plate, but we have to add stuff because students are struggling.

Education is in crisis, and I am not sure how we are going to fix this. Fewer and fewer people are going into teaching every year.

I feel like I am on a sinking ship and I am watching from the railing as people get on life boats and other people drown, and I have limited amount of time to decide what to do to save myself…

There was a story I heard many years ago. It was about a frog, a scorpion, a terrible storm and a rising river. The scorpion asked the frog to save him and help him get across the raging river.

“Why would I do that?” The frog asked. “What if we get halfway across and you decide to kill me?”

“Well, that’s rather silly, isn’t it?” The scorpion responded. “Then we would both die.” The frog thought about this for a bit, but he couldn’t waste much more time because the water was getting higher and higher. Ultimately, he decided to do the right thing and help the scorpion.

When they were halfway across the river, the scorpion struck the frog and they both started to sink.

Before he died, the frog looked up and asked the scorpion “why”.

The scorpion said through the bubbling water, “Because I am a scorpion.”

Love and Light, my friends!

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