Warning: bad language in this post; it was directed towards me today – not from my mouth.
It isn’t just young teachers leaving teaching. I’m an old teacher and I am leaving teaching. Today consolidated the decision and has accelerated it; I am motivated more than ever to find something else and build it.
The hours are insane, the paperwork is ludicrous, but beyond that, teachers just aren’t respected anymore. We are treated like sub-humans. Continuously.
I was humiliated today. Absolutely humiliated. I wanted to sit on the floor, rock myself and sob. But I couldn’t. I was on class. I was teaching.
It’s a hard thing to deal with. You know you are worth more, you know that you don’t deserve it, but there are too many kids who don’t value us.
I started the day positively. I was organised. I love the kids. I was happy to see them again. Happy to be there. The start of the final four days of a block in a faculty I love, run by a great Head Teacher whom I adore.
One of the kids had other ideas. It started with whining and talking. It became whistling. It developed into tapping with swearing,”Fuck you.” Belligerent refusal to stop, to move, to put the phone away, to complete the work, to stop talking. The phone continued to be out. I confiscated it. I confiscated the pen that was used for the tapping. The child started arguing, loudly proclaiming that they weren’t going to follow my instructions until I gave them the phone back. They then started bullying other kids, pushing the buttons of a student they knew would freak out and react; he didn’t too much because he respects me. The child just kept going and going and going. They were removed by the Head Teacher.
During Assembly, I politely asked a student if they were in the right line and I copped another mouthful, and when she finished her friend started. I was polite and just doing my job.
Next two periods and playground duty were fine.
Last period, the child from the morning banged on the classroom door as I was settling my class. The child then went to the windows, smiling and laughing, raised the middle finger to me and called out, “Fuck you”, “dickhead” and “arsehole.”
Yep. I just wanted to curl up and bawl. This isn’t the life I want. This isn’t the world I want.
Were there positives? Sure. A student who usually won’t do anything for me was so mortified that someone (except her) could treat me so badly so worked exceptionally during the lesson. I thanked her. The small windows we get.
Teachers are leaving because we aren’t validated by our employers and their representatives. My Head Teacher applied for a formal caution. She received it. But I think the Deputy and the Principal should have suspended the child. For three out of the five periods she belittled me.
I don’t deserve this.
I left work feeling like a failure, mentally modifying the work that was left to try to mix things up for the kids, to try to engage this child.
It isn’t right. Kids have license to abuse at least one staff member before they learn that their behaviour is unacceptable.
And I’ll keep seeing the articles, Teachers leaving the profession, and reading everyone’s shock. Really? Kids have changed and as their behaviour has become worse, Principals and the Department have become softer.
We need to look after the child’s welfare.
Sure. But who is looking after the teachers?
I had to see a friend to debrief so I could come home relieved of pain. I’m now taking time out of my life to process it a bit more. And I’m exhausted. My plans for tonight will go by the wayside; my energy is depleted from staying calm and being professional whilst abuse was hurled at me repeatedly.
Goodbye teaching. We will be parting ways very soon. You have changed. It is you. And it is me; I know I’m worth more than this, and my life and the people in it deserve better than this.