When Passion Becomes Lost

I feel lost, confused, and somewhat helpless. I question some of my past decisions that have led me to where I am today. Did I choose the right major in college? Is this job really all that I can attain with my degree and certification?

I know for a fact that I definitely don’t want to go back to college. There are no degree programs that excites or enthuses me. I just want to be creatively free. I want to be able to use my talents and skills in a way that my current job doesn’t allow me to do. I feel like I’m constrained.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been a middle school reading teacher and it has been one hell of a journey. I’ve taught over 500 students and I’ve come to the realization that only about 30% (or even less) actually care about their education. The other 70% percent could care less.

Is it the students fault? No. And honestly, I feel quite bad for them.

I truly believe it is the educational system itself that fail our students. Year after year, students have been promoted from one grade level to the next without having some of the fundamental skills needed to be successful. Schools are not given the necessary resources or funding to help accommodate some of these students academic deficiencies. This only adds stress to the teacher and students.

It’s like the school system wants teachers to be miracle workers, and magically make a student performing 3 or more grade levels behind proficient within a year. Then to top it all off, you still have to use grade level material (considering the fact that they take a state test on grade level) as a tool for instruction.

If I was a child, I would probably be frustrated and give up as well. If a child don’t have the pre-requisites to be successful on grade level, how will they ever attain true academic success? This is something I wonder all the time from a teacher perspective. I really don’t think the educational system is realistic.

This brings me to a point in wanting to exit the field of education. I don’t want to be held responsible for the academic success of students, within a system that doesn’t cater to their academic needs.

I do have days when I enjoy teaching and mentoring the students with real life advice. However, the curriculum that I’m assigned to teach really doesn’t allow time for mentoring (which it should because that can help with social emotional learning and possible student achievement). So technically, I’m only doing that 10% of time. However, 90% of the time, I’m fighting a one sided battle to get students to at least put forth an effort in completing their assignments, or to at least try and participate in guided activities.

The pandemic could possibly play a role in low student engagement, considering the fact that many are at home behind a computer screen. One day, I’ve even went as far as to asking the students, “What else could I do to help you succeed?” And nothing but silence followed. I know for a fact that I’m a damn good teacher and the students love and respect me, but they are really unmotivated and I’m honestly starting to feel drained.

I really thought I could make a difference in this field overall, but I realize that there’s only so much I could do, especially with the unrealistic expectations that are placed upon educators during this pandemic. Hopefully one day, there could be a call to action in changing this whole system, so that all students can really become successful.

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