I realize that I’ve been angry lately. Impatient could be more accurate. Indignant too.
I only feel this way with my work, or to be more accurate — when I am at work. I’ve been in this school for over four years now. Not long, but long enough. There is no doubt that there are things that can be done better — should be done better. Somehow, the scale of our task — educating the gifted — doesn’t measure up with the scale of our ambitions. I don’t want to be someone who simply resigns into the way things are. I am just not built that way. And yet I know that it is only through working with things the way they are that I can get anything done. This can be so frustrating.
There are days when I need to remind myself of why I do this. My father has it right — if I am to endure a job with all this unnecessary stress, I might as well choose one that pays better. I easily could (or maybe not considering these tough economic times). But rely on my sense of mission or duty to keep me stubborn. Day in and day out, I remain here for something all of us teachers came here for. There is no doubt that all of us teachers only wish the best for our students. We may not agree on how to go about it, but we can all do ourselves a favor by remembering why we are here.
My core concern is that the world is changing quickly, our students with it, but we are not moving at the same clip. Increasingly, I see that their schooling is getting in the way of their education. I am concerned with the amount of work that seems to just increase year after year. I am bothered by the lack of varsity sports and the feeble support for clubs and extracurricular activities. I am troubled that all the government red tape will turn us into bureaucratic mummies, fit not for the classroom but for subterranean tombs. I feel we need to look hard into how we define and measure achievement. And I think we need to have an honest discussion of what values and virtues we really want our students to embody.
Times are changing, and yet our gym remains unfinished. Even with all the incremental upgrades in our IT department, that fact remains glaring — that building forever a marker of our missed opportunities and misplaced priorities. “Things haven’t changed” can be at once the most comforting and most frightening thing a future alumni could say. So when they say that let it be for the right reasons — that despite all our limitations, we are a community who continues to do our best. That is how it has always been. But at this point, I just dare to ask — are we being the best we can be?