Too Much Crying in the Car
I received an email from NPR Ed on Thanksgiving with a title that made me pause: Hey, New Teachers, It's OK To Cry In Your Car
Yikes. It’s OK to cry in your car. Really?
The article goes on to say that 10% of all new teachers will quit within that first year, and October and November are a special crumbling zone. This information supports the layout I prepared in Dear Teachers. I started by highlighting points about yourself (September), your people (October), and now the struggles here in November.
We all need preparation.
Hitting a wall after 6 weeks of school is similar to the walls you hit after you set up New Year’s Resolutions. Grandiose plans hit the repeated speed-bumps of reality, and we can start to feel hopeless and helpless. A few people can plug on while most others fall off to varying degrees. The more we’ve prepared for the bumps, the farther we’ll go. The more tricks and tools we have, the more likely we’ll reach some serious successes we can build upon.
That much crying? It’s not OK.
That’s my opinion. In 2017, we shouldn’t have that much misery and turnover in the world of education. Roxanna Elden runs a free email service called The New Teacher Disillusionment Power Pack in an attempt to support teachers through this time. She’s also the author of a 2013 book entitled See Me After Class, which “helps those great teachers of the future to survive the classroom long enough to become great.”, per the book’s entry on Amazon.
While it’s important for educators to build their own networks of support as they begin their jobs, they also need better tools given and (more importantly) practiced extensively before they are hired: while they are in their formative years in college. We do no one a service releasing ill-prepared or poorly-suited people into a workplace to sink or swim.
Our culture needs to respect education far more greatly.
Schools have been asking our students to practice, fail and try again for years. We say we don’t want robots who simply follow orders or answer A, B, C or None of the Above. Do our political and social systems support these ideas? There are grand visions in education to cultivate thinkers, innovators, practitioners, creators and leaders amongst all our young. However, is the country itself truly behind those ideas?
Preparing our educators for the social and emotional strains of the job and asking ourselves as a country what we really value and want to invest in are 2 things that will go a long way to take the sentence “Hey, New Teachers, It's OK To Cry In Your Car.” out of our everyday lexicon.
Until then, don’t be lonely. Reach out and speak out. Silently accepting and dealing is not an option. We can reach toward our dreams only if we're together.