As I get closer to my colleagues in my school, my district and in my department, I’m finding tremendous strength. I went to my professional development on Monday beleaguered—still with a box full of papers to grade. I’m stressed about my school closing, my shaky financial situation and how to manage my troubled students while increasing the academic rigor.
I’m not the only one. In fact, I found myself in a room heavy with worn faces. In that shared burden there was camaraderie, albeit in an exhausted form.
There’s a bond, too, among the history teachers. We met today to score the essays from the district assessment. This was an in-depth project that challenged students to interpret primary sources and form an evidence-supported argument. It’s the product of a department with very few resources but a determination to measure and push for further gains. We talked about the most important elements of history and how to best have children connect to it. Add to that the shared classroom strategies and now I’m excited for work tomorrow to start rolling out the second semester line-up.
Within my school staff, the camaraderie is nothing short of brothers-at-arms. The struggle we are in is incredible. The level of hostility and aggressiveness our students can show towards us is nothing short of shocking. We can roll our eyes over stories with the same cast of characters. It feels like a daily Herculean effort to stand against the disrespectful storm and demand respect, order and engagement. We remind each other that we do it because we care for these kids and for the material we’re teaching. We do it because it’s such a challenge. But mostly we do it because it feels damn good when a lesson hits its mark.
I don’t know what my financial status will be in a couple of months. I don’t know where I’ll be working next year. But I know impressive things will keep on happening.
– Dan Adiletta, Explore Middle School