What is this job?

Some days the work I do brings me joy. Some days it brings me to tears. Some days it brings me to my knees. Some days I sit or stand in my buildings and wonder, “What job is this?” Some days I walk out of those buildings feeling like I just walked out of the twilight zone.

Within the past month I…

Tested my brains out and written report after report after report

Have gone to meetings for each of them

Watched a social worker stage a sit in because she doesn’t have her own office

Read a suspension report about an incident of sexual harassment of one student to another in which the administrator wrote, “as the situation came to a climax.”

Drove to a kid’s house to get his glasses so I could test him

Left that house, IEP Team in tow and, in an experience I still can’t shake, drove to another to have an IEP meeting

Heard about a teacher frustrated over the fact that two chairs in the classroom didn’t get returned to their original location after another teacher taught a class in that space, which only happened because we have no additional space

Read through student records and learned things about their histories that make me wonder how these kids even get out of bed, let alone try to learn something at school

Received letters from a medical professional requesting evaluations…and specific measures

Had conversations and asked hard questions about what we’re doing to meet the needs of all students

Have been asked hard questions about what we’re doing to meet the needs of all students

Read articles and books (and I’m not finished reading) about education and race and class and outcomes

I’ve felt more deeply than ever the weight of this work that I do. That we do. It is hard. It is heavy. It can feel too big and overwhelming and defeating.

And when I walked out of one meeting in particular today, I felt completely emotionally and physically drained by this work. In a way I never had before.

This is not my resignation. This is not me quitting. This is me trying to process this strange and brutiful work that I do, day in and day out. This is me trying to figure out how to give these kids–our kids–my kids what they need to beat the odds and have some semblance of a happy and successful life. This is me reminding myself that we’re fighting for the slim chance that their outcomes can be different–in spite of the generational issues that are just one piece of a complex picture saying otherwise. This is me still “saying there’s a chance.” 

After a glass of wine. And some sweet potato waffle fries. And maybe some sleep.

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