Sunday, July 23, 2006


Putting a Show Together

"There is nothing you can do to make it easy that also won't make it bad."

I read this quote yesterday and immediately thought about my work as a teacher. This was said by Aaron Sorkin, a writer for television about the grueling schedule involved in making a weekly series. I have often thought that the only profession that might remotely feel like teaching is acting live on stage. There are major differences...stage actors do not perform all day long, and they are not responsible for controlling the behavior of their audience! They also do not have new material to prepare and present every day to the same audience. I realize that I have the freedom to re-do my lines if I mess them up, and I am allowed to use notes. I am a one-woman show, so I do not have to rehearse my part with anyone else. If I change the script, it doesn't disturb the flow of the show. But...

Teaching is not easy! I have struggled with this concept for years. I see other teachers who make it all look easier than it feels to me. They are (for the most part) good teachers. I have often wondered if the difficulty of teaching for me is an indication that I would be better suited for another profession. I'm one of those teachers who stays late and still takes home a backbreaking load of work every night. I finally bought a rolling cart to carry my school stuff, and I pack it full just about every night. Once I get my kids to bed, I am working on schoolwork until way past my bedtime. I still return papers to students later than I would like. No matter how organized I try to be, my classroom is a mess, I'm making copies and turning in lesson plans at the last minute, and I appear stressed out all the time.
Then someone out of the blue reminds me that teaching is not supposed to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is easy.

Sometimes I think it would be great to have a job where I spend most of the day working quietly in an office. I would have a telephone at my fingertips, a door I could shut when I am busy, and there wouldn't be 30 new people coming in every hour to mess things up. I actually had an office one year, and it was great! I was only there one day a week, and I loved those days. The rest of the time I was out in schools working with students and teachers. But do you know what? I missed having "my kids." I missed that relationship with the students. I missed seeing their progress over the course of the year. I missed the excitement of lightbulbs going off in students' brains and hearing them say, "Oh, I get it!"

Everyone is saying, "Summer's almost over. Are you ready to go back to school?" I am! I love back-to-school time. I can identify with this quote from the movie, You've Got Mail:

Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.
I love to buy school supplies and back-to-school clothes. I get just as excited about seeing my class lists as I did when I was a student. I love getting a fresh start every year...a chance to do things better than last year. I love going to football games and hearing the band and cheering for my team. I wish it were getting cooler, but that will come soon enough!

Teaching is not easy. But it is exciting, rewarding, fun, and worth every minute of extra work I put into it!

I hope you have had a great summer. Enjoy your school year!

I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas and words of inspiration. I have been teaching private school 5th grade for 7 years, but this year I will be teaching 7th grade math in public school. I look forward to checking your blog in the future. Thanks.

Good luck with your new job! I love seventh graders! You never have a dull moment!!!

I have begun posting my lesson ideas on my wiki at Please come by and see if you can find any helpful ideas. You are also welcome to post there.

Have a wonderful school year!

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