And I’ve Lost My Sympathy

When people see him, they see a fierce dog. THIS is the ridiculous face I see all the time. He doesn't have much to do with this post beside the fact that this picture makes me smile.

So I am coming to believe that in the last few weeks of school I have turned into the most uncompassionate person EVER.  It’s starting to annoy me that all of a sudden, some of my students suddenly care about what their grades are and how they are going to pass my class.  First of all, my class isn’t THAT hard.  It can be tough, but realistically, if you do the work and give me effort, you’ll pass.  Easy as that.

I have a handful who will repeat English 11 as Seniors in high school.  My sympathy?  GONE.

Also, add to this frustration the demands some teachers are making right now.  I work at a small school (which has more benefits than negatives, in my opinion) and I really, really love it.  REALLY.  The majority of the students are wonderful.  The staff is relatively small, which allows for a family feel at times.  But just like every good side, there are bad sides also.  The BAD part of working in a small school?  You cannot just be a teacher.  You can’t.  It’s not possible to just be a teacher and assume you’ll keep your job.

Here was the initial conversation that helped me to get a job at my school:

Principal: So, you are certified to teach English and Drama….Can you coach?

Me: Um, what sport?

P: Pick one.

Me: (thinking frantically of a girl sport OTHER THAN cheerleading) Volleyball? <–Side note – I played volleyball for about 10 minutes when I was in high school and then I RAN back to the theatre to sing and dance my way through the rest of my time in high school.>

P: Let’s go talk in my office and have an official interview.

And long story short – I was hired.  BECAUSE I would coach.  Granted, I’m being kept at my school because I am a teacher (and an AP teacher at that) but I am also a coach. Yes, I am trying to find someone who will be able to dedicate more time and energy to coaching, and it would be helpful if someone who knew all the intricacies of the sport was actually in charge.  Alas, there’s me.

I say all this because I’m getting frustrated at the teachers who refuse to coach.  They (and YES, these are multiple people with teacher certifications) either go one of two routes:

1)  The pride route. “I did NOT go to school to be a coach.  I became educated and received my Masters to become a teacher.  I will break the stereotype of being a coaching teacher.”

2) The pitiful route. “But I don’t know how to coach.  I don’t know anything about sports.  Um, I really don’t think I can do it.”

LADIES.  This is NOT how you get a job – nevertheless a teaching job.  The economy is rough right now.  Schools have their pickings of who they want at their school and they want people who are willing to go above and beyond for the school and students.  Plus, as someone who can tell you from experience from working at a small school – you HAVE to do more than teach.  At bigger schools, they have plenty of other bodies who can fulfill the coach’s role.  But this isn’t the case at most of the schools these days.

Someone tried to get me to feel sorry for them this morning BEFORE I HAD MY COFFEE.  I almost lost my cool, which isn’t ok at 7:30 in the morning.  Telling me you might have to teach a class you don’t like next year and that you might volunteer to coach (even though you whine about not knowing any of the sports) does not make me feel for you.  Nope, not at all.  I taught 3 (out of a possible 3) different preps each semester, lost my planning period for 2 months because I was coaching a sport I didn’t really know, lost an entire pant size because my stress levels were so high I couldn’t eat due to the stomach pains (which I smile about now because I love my smaller pants but I cry thinking of the price I paid to earn them), AND I taught AP classes which involve Saturday prep sessions, weeks of prep in the summer at training courses, and massive amounts of grading.

If you are looking for sympathy – go elsewhere.

Or at least for the next few weeks until summer break hits.

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