Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How To Have a Miserable School Year

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Update:  The 2013-2014 school year was so much better than previous years.  I had a new team and a new co-teacher.  I also made certain that I had a better attitude about things and it made a whole world of difference.  Here's hoping and praying that next year (with more changes on the horizon) will be just as good.

Last year was a terrible year. I was unhappy and I made sure everyone knew it. There were a lot of things that I wish I could change about last year, but that is in the past. This year, however, I have decided to have a better year. There are, as usual, things that are beyond my control about the school year. Everyone has those. But instead of focusing on the things we can't change, we need to take charge of the things that are ours to take care of. With that in mind, here are three ways to guarantee you will have a miserable school year.
Continue to Focus on Things You Cannot Change. - Every teacher faces struggles in their classroom. Every teacher has challenging students and difficult parents. Some teachers have the privilege of working with special education students or with students who are so new to the country that they don't even know what the bathroom is in English. That doesn't mean you can use those challenges as an excuse for poor performance or a lack of planning. As teachers we have to take the class we are given and do our very best to teach those students the content and how to become the best human beings they can.
Make Excuses Based on Time Constraints. - There is never enough time in the day. We all have to go to meetings, then go to more meetings, and we have to end the day with more meetings. The lessons we planned will ALWAYS take more time than we have to give them. You will be absolutely miserable if you can't get past the fact that time is short and students take a long time to do EVERYTHING. There is nothing I would love more than to get to the end of a unit, knowing that I had a ton of extra time. That's just not the case and making excuses about why I can't everything done because of data meetings, team meetings, and home responsibilities will make sure I have a terrible year.
Refuse to Try Anything New. - Everyone has their favorite assignments and projects. We tend to get a bit possessive of the way we teach and it is hard for us to deviate from the norm. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try something new. We need to be willing to "roll with the punches" and try something new, not just because it is new, but because it might have a better result than that worksheet you've been doing every October since you made the switch from mimeograph to Xerox. And, yes, I used to teach with a woman who had her boxes. She had a September box, October box, etc. If it wasn't in the box, she didn't teach it. Needless to say, she spent a lot of time complaining any time something new was introduced. Don't be that lady.
There you are. Follow those three steps and I guarantee you will have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad school year. Promise.


  1. Mr. Pearson, I really enjoyed this post. And I vow not to be the lady with the box. (Love that!)
    I've been teaching for over 20 years, and there have been tough times and wonderful times. One thing I know I have to do is surround myself with positive people, because the negative ones are contagious. Another is to find the humor in every situation, and the angel in every child. Sometimes I look long and hard, but all these years later I can honestly say that I love my job.
    Good luck!

    1. You are so right about the negative ones being contagious. Even when you try to be positive, I think our default is to find the negative. It takes a lot of effort to be positive, but it is so worth it. Thank you for your comments.

  2. Attitude is everything! Last year was such a struggle and that had to be my daily mantra. Everything changed, from new online planner requirements to the standards - common core, but testing state standards, and our adoptions (yes, plural) all changed. On the days I was successful at remaining positive I felt so much better, but on my "human" days it was tough. This year will be better and my mantra will continue. May we all continue to grow and teach outside of the box! :-)