Jan. 17, 2012 – A Broken Camel

I don’t know if I can do this. Between the rigors we are put through, the responsibility of education (academic, moral, ethical, social, etc.), of keeping our own current as well as our students’, now with this new evaluation tool…I think this may break me. Starting next year, we are to be evaluated five times a year from a 20-page document, with algorithms to determine our effectiveness like the meter on a wattage reader. 90 days to improve if we are found wanting, or likely be sacked. Gathered together into a pen like so many black sheep to be picked which is to go to slaughter when it comes time to RIF. It’ll pit us against each other, which you KNOW is what will happen.

I’ll be honest, I’m almost in tears and have been almost all day. I don’t know if I can do this, live under threat of losing my job every day because an algorithm deems me “ineffective”. I’m scared, I’m stressed. I’m trying to work with the rules THEY GAVE US. With the tests THEY MAKE US GIVE. All I want to do is hide myself away in a corner and cry. The six years of schooling, the two years on professional probation, the hundreds of hours I spent working and piecing together and preparing that portfolio that proved I could teach. Again. The hours that I spend day after day trying to do my best by my students. It’s not enough. It’ll never be enough.

But what else can I do? Is it odd for me to say that I don’t feel qualified to do anything else? I could work in a law firm, yes, I’ve done that before. I could work in a bookstore, if they’d have me. I could be a waitress. But could I support my family doing those things? Without anyone having to worry or fear? I think I would enjoy editing or proofreading for a magazine or newspaper but there aren’t a great many of those looking about right now, at least not in my area. I’ve checked. Everyone says they want “experience”, but how do I get it without being given a chance to do so?

I’m confused. And lost and scared and unsure of what to do next. Sticking it out and plugging away is what probably makes the most sense to people. And yet…does my future hold a possibility of anything different. The truth is that I do not like what I do all the time, much like anyone else. What I am not sure of is whether or not I like the great experiences I do get enough to go through all this. And that scares me more than a little.



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