“I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

I listened to this young teacher’s lament. “I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

She’s been teaching for 7 years and is a fabulous teacher. She’s bright and bubbly, fun, switched on and the kids love her. She is a great teacher. And yet I fear she is going to be another statistic of our failed education system. She has already lasted longer than the average graduate. It makes me so sad but I know exactly where she is coming from because I’ve been there.

The long and grinding days are hard enough with all the afterhours planning and the marking but we accept that. The constant flack we get from the media and sometimes the general public hurts but we manage to accept that as part of the job as well. The staff meetings and parent teacher interviews, fetes, camps, discos, we accept them as par for the course.

What it is impossible to accept is the feeling that we are letting our students down. “I give those struggling more time than I should and I scaffold them through it but they still fail. I’m failing them.” It’s the tears cried for our students that end up making the job impossible. It’s the never ending guilt of doing what we know is not best practice.

It’s the pushing of them too hard and too fast, the stress and anxiety that we inadvertently cause them. It’s not teachers like her or like me who are failing kids. It’s the system that is failing these kids and it’s failing teachers as well. (Kathy)

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