Missing Mojo

I’ve totally lost mojo at work and I’ve become a completely mediocre teacher. I just can’t seem to pull it together enough to give a fuck. Most of the day I get by, but my last class is a tough mixture of kids and they need me to  be stalwart in my consistency which requires lots of energy and attention. Instead I end up following them on their random tangents and losing 10 minutes waxing philosophical or meandering down memory lane. We are falling severely behind and I’m panicking about what to cut, because there is no way we can finish it all. I feel like such a failure walking away from work every day. It’s really starting to get me down.

There are other things about work that suck right now. My VP is basically gaslighting me, which is infuriating. I don’t think it’s personal, or even purposeful, it’s just that denying that things she said or did actually happened is her way of avoiding taking personal responsibility. I’m really hoping our new principal can come in and deal with this, because I basically said I won’t teach English Language Development (or administer the CELDT test, or be involved in the RFEPing processes, or have anything else to do with ELD unless she can provide me with a formal description of what that position entails (I know, my expectations are so high!) They will be FUCKED if I step down from the position next year, so I’m confident the new principal will step up and be a professional about it. It’s not his style to play mind games and hide behind the district office like my current VP. Still, it has been infuriating to deal with.

There are also a lot of long time staff leaving at the end of this year. It’s going to be weird without them, and hearing about their new plans is a reminder that I abandoned my own plans to look for a new job. Three of them are leaving the area, not just our school, because things have become so untenable in this area for people making a teacher’s salary. (This actually brings up a whole other hosts of feelings for me about how I don’t feel the negatives of living here outweigh the positives, but that is for another post). The other, my good friend, is leaving to teach at a high school. We talked a lot about positions at the high school level earlier this year, when I was still on that trajectory. I knew this was probably coming, and I am very happy for her, but it’s hard not to see her so excited for a new opportunity when I didn’t even end up really looking for one. I don’t regret my decision (I could still apply for jobs if I changed my mind), but I am sad that I need to take at least one more year to get my shit together at home and at work. I just wish I weren’t always struggling so much. And honestly, I feel so shitty about myself as a teacher right now I could NEVER sell myself to someone effectively, let alone have the self-confidence to even apply. It’s definitely not the year for me to be looking for another job.

I know that things are hard right now at home and that is probably why I’m struggling so much at school. I get it. But it’s still hard. And there are so many days left, so many afternoons where I have to walk away feeling like the most ineffectual teaching on the planet, wondering how I could still suck this much at classroom management after 12 FUCKING YEARS of teaching.

31 teaching days left.

25+ years to go.

 

5 Comments

  1. Can relate with this so much. It’s hard to find that mojo when it’s clear that a break is needed (and by break, I mean switching gears). When we feel ineffective, it’s hard to break the cycle.

    So focus on the small wins. Tick off what you can from the list. If you don’t get to it, it’s worth reassessing why, but it shouldn’t be all on you. Know you are doing the best you can at the moment. At know it’s not forever.

    And having a contact at the high school level will be an advantage for when you do transition.

    Hang in there. Because even though you feel like you’re failing, you’re actually doing an amazing job overcoming a difficult crux.

    1. “When we feel ineffective, it’s hard to break the cycle.” <--- This. 1000x this. It's so, so hard. I shall try to focus on the small wins. Thank you.

  2. Document the Full *** out of every interaction with the VP. In a form you can print out and hand to the next principal showing over time your requests, what is said to you, what happens next (or doesn’t), and repeat. Very few people actually do documentation in full so it is powerful. It is even ok to make it Record of Conversation and send said document to VP IF YOU WISH to do so in order to make it obvious you are documenting. Or in VP’s presence refer back to … ‘huh, geez, when we met on date you said X or Y and I still haven”t gotten that information”. DOCUMENT!!!! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! Yes, a pain in the a** to do but very powerful. Even oral notes takes on your cell phone that you can reference and prove help. Cause otherwise it is purely one person’s word versus another’s and the tendency of management is ALWAYS to believe the person highest on the chain in the absence of any other evidence.
    Sorry. I hate documenting too. Good luck.

    1. I am absolutely not speaking to my VP about any of this without our staff union representative present (she is a good friend, so that is not hard to manage). Otherwise it’s all emails, and I CC and BCC the shit out of those. So don’t worry, I’m all about documentation.

  3. Teaching wears you down, plain and simple. This is the first year in my career that I have a non-classroom job (reading intervention) and it is SO MUCH EASIER! Managing a classroom full of kids is no easy task! Classroom management is an art and it takes such consistency and therefore it is incredibly draining. Cut yourself some slack. You’ve got a lot on your plate and teaching is so stressful when you really care, which you obviously do. There’s only so much time and energy you can put forth and still stay sane. Hang in there!

    Just a side note- I chuckled about the ELD comment. Nobody has ever been able to give me definition of what that time should entail and how to make it meaningful for kids with very different language levels. Good for you for calling them out on it!

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