Are We Asking Too Much of Our Public School Teachers?

Updated on November 17, 2011
S.J. asks from Georgetown, TX
34 answers

So just for full disclosure I am a secondary teacher and I had a really stressful day. This is more of a vent...but also a question about societies expectations of teachers. Today I was frustrated that I had to go pick up my daughter from daycare. Our school day goes until 4 I had to rush out the door of my classroom to drive across town and pick her up. I was frustrated because I have a pile of paperwork on my desk that is practically bigger than my desk. I can not catch up. I go in 2 hours early every day and can't get ahead. I am so buried that I am inconvenienced by my family :( Now I feel like the worst mommy in the world too.

I teach 3 different "preps" or 3 different sets of lesson plans per day. I have 190 students. I attend 3 IEP meetings on average per week and do about 5 hours of grading and 5 hours of lesson planning per week. My lunch period is usually spent helping kids catch up on missed worked and tests. I quit coaching the extracurriculars so I could focus on excellence in the classroom. I have won some district level teaching awards so I always push myself to live up to others expectations.

I love my students. I truly enjoy teaching them and learning from them. I love my school and my colleagues. I am just overwhelmed. I feel like I don't truly meet the needs of my learning disabled students, I worry that my students are unengaged and or depressed. I try to call home and push my students to excel. I try to be the best teacher I can possibly be with clear expectations, feedback for growth and speedy grading. My family is suffering. How can I balance a job that takes 65 hours a week to do well with a little girl who wants to play My Little Pony? If I leave work at students suffer.

I always thought that 10 years in I would have all my lessons perfected and it would get doesn't. Every year there are new trends and new expectations. Classroom management gets harder every year and if I see another cell phone or set of ear buds I am going smash them against the wall.

I am sorry I if I sound whiny. I want to keep working and helping kids, but I don't want to burn out.

Do you ever think about how much work your kids teachers do? Are you a teacher who has found balance. Is 28,000 a year worth this :) I just wonder.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your positivity. It helps to know that people do appreciate how hard we work. It also helps to know that we are not alone. I know tomorrow is a new day and it will be ok. The thing about teenagers is that they are so darn sweet that just when you think about running away from school and never coming back...they melt your heart. I also think back to my teachers who made such a difference. I hope we can find a way as a society to lessen the stress and focus on the positive.

Featured Answers


answers from Dallas on

I think a big part of the problem is that administrators are overpaid, leaving less for the teachers who work much harder.
One of my friends who was a teacher of the year was "promoted" to administration. She quite after one year there. Among other things she was told to no longer associate with teachers!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

To solve your problems & many other Teachers, get the Government & Unions out of the classroom. By getting government out, you can actually teach & not 'teach to test'. Getting Unions out then you can make the big money like they are raking in.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Teachers are not paid nearly enough! And 28K is very low pay for a teacher, especially after 10 years, isn't it?

My niece is a teacher and it takes a LOT of time--both at the school and at home.

I get sick of hearing people say "they get ALLLLLL summer off"!
For my niece, that's just shy of 6 weeks.

I find a huge division in logic when the people that teach our children have to make low pay or take pay cuts when the top 500 earners in this country can escape a fair tax rate. Hello?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I am very good friends with many of our daughters past teachers. Many of them are as dedicated as you are. You can drive by the schools at almost anytime and see teacher cars in the parking lots, yes, even late at night and on Saturdays and Sundays.

This is the only way they can do all of the work they need to do to fulfill their commitment to teaching and to do the extras for their students.

I am sure your state is like ours. The state Legislature always has another test, anther standard or new laws that mean teachers have to do more work, but the Legislature does not appropriate the funds to cover all of this.. And so the responsibility falls on the teacher to make the extra time, take the extra course or training at their own expense.

Then parents wonder why there is not enough time during the school day for their children to do their homework. Why parents have to help children learn certain skills etc..

In know we all want the best education possible for every one of our children. The secret is to work as a team. The schools and the parents. This is not us, vs, them.. Teachers are teaching because they want to. They attended college, most of the teachers I know have their Masters. These are some of the most highly educated people you will meet and yet we treat them like babysitters. Without teachers, I know our daughter would not have been a National Merit Scholar. She would not have been accepted to 9 top tier colleges. I will never be able to thank all of her teachers enough for their dedication.

Until we begin respecting Teachers for what they really do for our children, we are going to end up with the brightest teachers burning out and looking for other careers.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I haven't read any other answers, Queen Jane, but let me say this: Yes, I totally agree with you. I'll even leave my work as a preschool teacher out of this, as well as my own experiences. My son is four and I worry for him that he's going to have teachers who are way past overwhelmed, both in class size and in their own lives because of the demands placed on teachers.

I have teacher friends and I know that despite some complaints that teachers are 'overpaid', that is far from the truth. Many teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets every year to make sure all the kids have the materials they need to learn because schools are on such a tight budget. People often don't understand that getting paid for twelve months isn't the truth; it's that teachers choose to have their annual salary broken up into smaller amounts to help keep their income steady.

I have teacher friends who have cried because of the long hours their kids are in daycare, add to that all the hours of work they do at home when their kids are asleep. They are not teaching because they don't want to be with their kids, either. They teach because they have to pay the bills. But they also teach because they care. Smaller classroom sizes and better funding of schools and special ed programs could significantly improve the lives of teachers.

Some parents expect teachers to be perfect. Perfect communicators about the tiniest of issues. Perfect models of society. Teachers are expected to be in constant communication (immediately!) when someone's kid comes home upset about the littlest thing. Parents get upset if teachers do/don't do Christmas/Valentine's Day/Halloween.... the smallest misunderstanding can send parents running to the principal because they perceive the teacher to be in the wrong/mean/picking on the child. The parent aspect is one more thing to add to the pile, and only because so often, the child is given the benefit of the doubt without even asking the teacher, and then they come in half-cocked and angry instead of asking a simple question...

No, I personally Do Not think $28,000 a year is worth it. Sorry. I balk at such an unreasonable sum of compensation. I'm of the opinion that teachers should be making at least $50,000 a year. You are doing some of the most difficult, challenging and important work in this country and should be compensated for it. We need to be finding ways to support teachers, not sabotaging them. I know that when my son goes to school, I will be doing everything I can, from volunteering at the school or in the classroom to making sure that I help my son with his schoolwork and that we do our best as parents to help him be a helpful student.

I loved my job as a preschool teacher, and it was truly demanding with a far more reasonable number of kids. I don't know how you do it, and my hat is eternally off to the teachers who care enough to do their best.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I teach high school English (AP and on-level), and this is the most difficult year I've had in the 15 years I've been teaching. To answer your question, yes, teachers are asked too give/do too much. I love my job when I'm in the classroom with my students, but it's the insane amount of additional requirements that makes me want to hide my head in the sand. I could write you a long list of complaints, but I won't. You know that teachers are completely overwhelmed right now. They've also taken away our conference period this year, so we're really drowning. The sad thing is that as hard as we try to continue to be good teachers, it's the students who suffer along with us.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

This sounds like the conversation I had with a high school math teacher last night (I am an English prof at a community college). We were both so depressed and exhausted and very, very worried about money.

I am like you. I wake up early to grade papers. Then I wake up my kids to get them to school. Then I teach all day. Then I come home and deal with the house and dinner and getting kids to sports. Then I clean up and crawl into bed, unless I have a new prep.....then I either stay up late, or if I am too tired, I try to sleep and sleep poorly because I am worried that I am not prepared. Two days a week I work from home teaching online; it helps to have flexibility, but I am glued to my lap top grading papers and it is getting very difficult to keep up the pace. It takes twice as much work to teach online so I pay the price for a bit more flexibilty, which makes life manageable when one of the kids get sick. I can never, ever get sick.

I let my learning disabled students (i have many) rewrite papers, which means I am grading that work 3 or sometimes four times. I have conferences with my developmental writing students for each paper (five per semester). Then for my transfer students, I am writing recs and spending time with them as they try to decide on a major and a university. Then there is the committee work....which is usually focused on the massive budget cuts. No wonder I get migraines.

Tonight I am on mamapedia so that I can be near my kids while they do THEIR homework. (I can't grade at this time of night because they will need to ask me questions when they need help.) We will try to spend a bit of time together before bedtime, and then tonight, I will need to reread long sections of Milton's Paradise Lost before tomorrow's class.

Weekends are about more grading and desperately trying to clean the house, which goes to hell during the week. I hate to admit it, but we really do not have much fun at all on the weekends. Some weekends I feel like all I do is yell and then worry that I am not getting enought done AND that I am ruining my kids' lives.

And next week I might have jury duty!!!!!

So , no...I do not think you are whining. Anyone who stays in teaching this long and works to be effective is going to be exhausted. I hope you get a bit of a break soon.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Oh my gosh, I hear you loud and clear!!! I, too, feel like I can't balance it all. I teach fourth grade, and I don't think the general public understands that our job is never done until June. There is always a lesson to be planned, test to be given, paper to be graded, or sheet to be copied. I am constantly leaving my stack of work to do so I can go home and be a mommy to my three kids. I love working with my students, but I wish that people would understand that while your child may be the world to you, this is my job, not my life. I need to be at home with my family, enjoying time with them because that is my life. Sometimes I have to choose family over work.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I honestly don't know how you all do it. I am very, very appreciative for everything teachers do.

I disagree with a previous poster that said that a woman cannot ever find happiness or balance between working & family. With the right job, employer & support system, it can be done. 65 hours a week for 28k a year is a lot different than 40 hours a week for more pay, where you can leave the work, at work, make a decent, living wage, and where you do not get attached to 20 something little people. I can only imagine that teachers have an intense pull that keeps them at school, molding the minds of tomorrow.

I can't imagine being in your position, OP. It takes a special person. But at the end of the day, you also need to be happy, and do what you feel is right, in order to do right by your family. Good luck :-)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I hope the posters who write on this site about how much teachers are overpaid read your question. Then again, what difference would it make - nothing you say will teach them anything.

You are so right about how hard teachers work. There are bad teachers out there, and there are wonderful teachers out there. I can't advise you - other than to see if there is a mom who could help you in the classroom by doing some lessons of some sort for you. Having someone else in the classroom tends to help kids behave better. I have taught a week long segment on the banking crisis for a friend of mine's economics classes every semester for him for the past two years. He actually stays in the classroom with me, and if he needed to, he could work on stuff while I'm teaching (I bring my own "stimulus package" with me when I do this segment - a great big bag of candy that I "share" with kids who answer questions and participate! That helps them listen, since the subject matter is rather complicated, and it's okay for a "guest speaker" to do something like this.) I realize this is unusual, but you could bring in people who have some talents in something you teach to talk to the kids.

Another thing that I would consider if I were you, is to hire a mother's helper at home. Have her come a half hour after you get home a couple times a week. Spend that half hour with your child one-on-one, before doing anything else. Have the mother's helper give her a snack, sit down with her homework, while you throw together dinner and start working on your papers. Maybe that way you can catch up. And a mother's helper isn't very expensive, since they aren't really old enough to babysit yet.

Maybe you could cook most of the meals over the weekend so that dinner is easier during the week.

I strongly urge you to confiscate any ear buds or cell phones that surface in your classroom. You can also tell the kids that the phones have to stay in their backpacks, with only paper and pencil/pen on the desk with them. Turn any cell phones confiscated into the office so that they have to pick them up there after school - not from you. That will make it another teacher's problem instead of yours, because they don't want to chance losing the cell phone the rest of the day.

Thank you for trying. Thank you for taking care of our children. Thank you for going to these IEP meetings. It is a hard job.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Friend of ours is a 1st grade teacher. Has been for 30 years. She still stays up too late, wakes up too early, juggles class stuff with taking care of her father who suffers from dementia...she's got a lot on her plate, too, and now the school district said they're taking over (essentially) because of all this pushing to teach to test.

Yes, I do think we ask a lot and pay too little. People think that a teacher starts the day at 7 and ends at 3 and does nothing on weekends, breaks and summers. Those people have never met a good teacher.

When I feel like something's gotta give, I try to make it in favor of myself and my child. DD is only this little once. If I stop for 20 minutes to have a tea party with her toy cats, that will be more important in the long run than 6 more customer questions.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

In my opinion, teachers do some of the most important work in the world, for inadequate pay or appreciation. Three of the four most important people in my childhood were some truly outstanding teachers I had. They helped me believe in my worth, something I did not get much of at home.

I'm genuinely grateful for caring teachers like you, and I've seen some terrific teachers get discouraged and burned out. I worked as a teacher's aide and tutor for a few years in my 20's, and even then, too much was asked for too little reward. With increasing class sizes and stringent standards to meet, I'm sure it's harder than ever to feel adequate appreciation for the work you do. Whine away, my dear. I'll harmonize on your behalf.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

You don't sound whiny at all! You sound like a woman who wants to do well at her job and still have enough of "you" to give to your family.

I actually DO think that we expect too much from our teachers. My brother in law is in his first year of teaching and he LOVES it, but I don't think I have ever seen him so exhausted- not even when he was going to school full time, working part time, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Did I mention that he graduated with highest honors? He did homework whenever he had a spare minute. He was SO busy and all that still can't compare to the enormous workload that he carries, at school as well as with the work he takes home with him.

I am homeschooling a preschooler and a 3rd grader and I can't tell you how much this experience has made me have such high regard for public school teachers. You have so many different dynamics, personalities and learning styles to deal with that it makes my head spin! Thank you for all that you do.

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answers from San Antonio on

I don't have any advice, but I do want to say thank you. My mother is a teacher and I know how hard and stressful it can be.

Thank you for molding the minds of the future. You're doing a great thing and we need more teachers who are worried about their students and involved.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Thank you for expressing some of my feelings. I'm not a high school teacher but an elementary teacher. I don't have nearly the amount of children you do, but the prepping and grading is overwhelming even at my grade level. The stack never ends. I'm exhausted at the end of the day, and I know my family suffers. At the primary level, it's more front end loaded. The kids are much less able to do things for themselves, their executive function is not in place, and trying to get parents to realize their children are having difficulties and should be helped now is often impossible. Unfortunately, it then shows up in your world.

I'm saddened that children at 7, 8 and 9 years old already bully, and that they are disrespectful to me, themselves and others.

I work my hardest to treat the children fairly while giving each child what they need, but it is totally emotionally draining.

I wish I had a solution.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Awww, that's rough! No, $28k a year is WAY below what it'd take me to teach again. Here in the Chicago suburbs the starting wage for secondary ed is about $40ish.

What you describes is exactly what my life was like when I was student teaching, except I was a newlywed and didn't have any kids to have to take care of at home. I couldn't even fathom teaching at the level I wanted to teach at, plus raising a family, and have always been baffled by those women who CAN do it. I always assumed that they were just seasoned teachers before they started their families, so the lessons came easily.

You are not whiny at all--you are overwhelmed & underpaid & underappreciated. I wish I had advice for you, but I was too chicken to even attempt both motherhood and teaching (at least without being a veteran teacher before starting my family.)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Yeah this sounds like a rant. How could anyone answer?

I don't think my district asks too much of the teachers. I don't think anyone asks enough of the parents but that would be another post wouldn't it?

I do want to say I am that mom on the other side of the IEP table. I could find you another three hours a week, stop being required to read every word on the IEP, swear we remember what you said the year before and the year before. I know you don't want to read it either, I asked the teachers last week. :)

There is your structural problems. You are required to do stupid stuff that doesn't help our kids. Now if we could just figure out how to fix that.....

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Do we ask too much of our teachers? *I* think so. It's a BIG part of the reason why we homeschool.

I have a "2e" (gifted + ADHD) 9yo boy. Who is a class clown/uber popular/uber sensitive. The kind who gets the lesson in 30 seconds (slight exaggeration) and then DISTRACTS EVERYONE ELSE. He would EAT up that teacher's time. And yeah... I'd be in meetings at least once a week, and IEPs, and 504s, gifted coordination meetings with his teacher...

The schools just DON'T have the funding or support for kids like mine. It's cruel and inhumane (imho) to demand the extra hours per week my son would place on a teacher. Yeah, yeah... I know that education is a "right"... but when there's no money, there's no money! The programs and support Just. Aren't. There. Yes. We're legally allowed to insist upon it. But i don't particularly feel like trying to squeeze blood from a stone (SINCE we have another option... if I get divorced and have to enroll him, at least I saved them 4 years!). Since there's no $... that means it all would fall on the shoulders of his primary teacher.

There are only 2 local schools set up for kids like him. One (public/free) has over 600 people on a waiting list for 20 spots (some years as many as 2500, the list rewrites annually, you have to keep putting yourself on it, but after K, there's only attrition spots, aka 1-3 per year), and one is $15,000 per year (a gifted school that is set up to deal with that disorder, and the incumbent problems, and as such is also used to dealing with 2e kids. Particularly ADHD kids and Aspie kids (both nearly always gifted). The school had the resources, staff, and support for kids like mine.

Most schools just plain don't.

So I consider homeschooling my son to be a public service to every parent of neurotypical kids he isn't dragging into mischief, and the teachers who don't have to deal with him. (He's a GREAT kid, don't take this the wrong way, but he's a time-suck. AND I know it.)

((It's actually pretty funny. We go to chess club (school sponsored) and sports (little league type) up at the local elementary school. INVARIABLY when teachers find out we homeschool I get the "drill" that stops dead in it's tracks. The conversation goes like this:

"Don't you want him to __________?" (fill in any benefit of awayschooling, of which, there ARE a lot)
"We might have to someday, but for now, we're really happy HS'ing."
"But _____________."
"You DO know he's ADHD-2e.. right?"
Wide eyes
"Oh..... You know I REALLY RESPECT homeschoolers and __________" suddenly insert all the benefits of homeschooling.

Then I laugh and we talk, and we exchange ADHD tips and tricks and crazy day stories, and everything is good. ))

So I KNOW, at least our area, asks WAY too much of teachers.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Lafayette on

I have been in the schools for 20 years (I am not a teacher, I 'm a specialist) and I feel your pain. It is one thing to be busy, it is another to feel as though you can never catch up. I never recommend to anyone that they go into education/schools. It is a 60+ hour per week job, definitely. And summers are never free either.

To make things more manageable...have the kids grade their own work. They will learn more that way and the feedback is instant. There is some research behind this-sorry I don't have it handy right now. The few minutes it takes at the beginning of class will be worth it in your sanity! All you have to do is glance around at who is doing the HW and record your +/-. HW really should be practice and time to do things that didn't get done in class, not a gotcha anyway. The only thing you should have to grade is the big projects and tests. At the end of class, they need to do an exit ticket (oral or written). You might ask them to state something they learned or a question they have-that's your barometer for how things are going and whether you were effective that day. Work in think-pair-share and group learning so that you are not doing all the work. Then you can match the sped kids up with a group that will support them.

There is also some material out there for classroom management, especially for boys. They thrive on competition--which team can turn in the most completed homework, have the fewest run-ins with earbuds and cell phones (my current peeve is the sneaking of halloween candy, but at least it is short term :) )Good luck. I hope people gain some insight from reading the answers here!

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answers from Washington DC on

I taught high school English for a few years before my girls were born (and one year when I only had one kid) Teaching was hard enough before I had my own family. Teaching when I had a one year old was challenging, but at that point she wasn't in "activities" and she went to be at 8pm like clockwork. I became a SAHM when my second daughter was born (she turned 8 today!) I've only been a substitute teacher since she went to kindergarten 2 years ago. I always imagined I'd go back to teaching English full time when my kids went to school. Now, I don't even see how that's possible. My husband travels for work M-F, so I'm essentially alone all week. Reading your post, whew. I'm tired just looking at it. I'm not being very encouraging am I?!? I think the point I'm trying to make is I "get it". I struggle with my decision to stay home year after year - what about retirement???? The whole idea of it gives me hives. But so does the idea of going back full time. You have my deepest respect. You are doing one of the hardest (and most important) jobs I know. If it makes you feel any better, most of my friends (who are not teachers) say the same thing. I think there is a lot of respect for teachers out there- maybe more than we think. Keep plugging away. Your students are lucky to have you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

Is 28K a year worth it? No, but I for one am grateful that you and others like you do it anyway.
I had some really amazing teachers, especially in high school. I guess I never thought about what their lives were like when they weren't teaching class. Your post was enlightening for me.
Thank you for all your hard work and I hope tomorrow is a better day!

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answers from Cleveland on

sweetheart I would give you a huge raise, not just a stupid christmas mug.

You are a great teacher, and i'm sure a great momma, Take an honest look at your work load, can you delegate anything? can the kids self correct or correct each others work. Is there anything that you can let go? because you are right you need to find a better balance.

sorry not very helpful but i hope you get some good suggestions. i want you to be around to teach my kids when they are that age.

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answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Thank you so much for what you are doing. You are doing one of the most important jobs in our country. Yes, I think you are underpaid and overworked. Thank goodness for people like you! This may or may not be helpful, but I work(ed) in a stressful occupation with high burnout prior to having my daughter, and one tip that I heard was to have a couple rituals to transition from work to home, so that you can (try) to leave work at work. A couple ideas are to have a bush or a tree outside your front door where you symbolically "leave" your troubles at the end of a work day. Another is to immediately change out of your work clothes, visualizing leaving that stress in the closet/hamper for the evening. There's lots of ideas like this, but those are just a couple.
Thanks again for your important work!

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answers from Los Angeles on

your job sounds demanding. But most full time jobs are. I never at any time in my life even before babies arrived imagined that I could do justice to my career and family at the same time. So I chose one- my family. What I think you are experiencing is a discovery that you have been lied to. That being a mother is not enough- that you can have it all, your career, and family and do it all well. I think it takes a very special lady to do both well, one who has energy to spare and doesn't need a lot of sleep. Thats not many of us. To make things worse, we are all frogs in a hot kettle of water being boiled but not realizing it. We can no longer support our families on one income like we once were. How angry does that make you? Sorry, I'm not one of the positive ones. But I do validate your frustration. I don't know many woman who feel they are doing their career, kids ,their husbands, and themselves justice. They are just white knuckling it.

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answers from Phoenix on

Thank you for your dedication and hard work. I think teachers do some of the most important work in society yet are extremely underpaid when you think about their own educational requirements and that the outcome of their work helps shape our future quality of life.

I don't agree with some that we need to keep the government and unions out of the schools. We need for government to prioritize education so that funding is not the first thing cut from the budget when the economy weakens. We need the funding to hire more teachers like you so the workload isn't so overwhelming and unions and businesses need to stay involved so that there isn't a gap between business needs and what schools are teaching.

What we need is better management, not more chaos.

To use old phrase--you sound like you have truly found your calling in life. Please don't give up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My brother is a teacher in Atlanta. I talked to him this morning, he had scheduled himself for a day off... found a sub for himself... admitted he hated to take time off because it always ends up being more work in the long run.... I asked what he was doing today on his day off, he said running errands that he hasn't been able to take care of on the weekend and grading papers. Grading papers on his day off.

I totally hear you, feel for you, and wish I could help. I live in MN, we have better pay for teachers here... I'm not sure what my brother makes in Atlanta but it's more than $28,000. He teaches high school American Literature... he only teaches that class, so his lesson planning must be easier...

I don't believe he has found balance though, as he and his wife are contemplating divorce... have tons of financial problems, and are way to busy to sit down and relax (ever!).

You are making a huge difference for your students. Please keep your chin up, but make sure you take care of yourself too. We need teachers who care about their students.

All I can say to the other Mama's out there - is support teachers, teacher unions, and support all the funding levy's that come through on your ballots. The teachers need the funds. EVERYTHING is expensive these days, and limiting funding for schools is only going to cause problems.

Take a breath. You are appreciated.


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answers from Colorado Springs on

It sounds like you pour everything into your job and the students. I do hope they appreciate you. However, can I offer a suggestion? Your daughter needs you more than they do. You are her only mother. The students and the parents will forget you soon enough. Your daughter will not. But, what will she remember? That she was a big inconvenience to you? Or that you were actually there for her? I'm not at all trying to be harsh, I'm just showing you what you have shown us, but in different words. $28K would never be worth giving up being there completely for my children and husband. You couldn't pay me enough to pour my life into strangers instead of my children, and as a result, my grandchildren. What you do today for your daughter will effect what happens to your future generations. What is your vision for her and for her children? Just to hurry up and grow up and get out of my way so I can do what is really important? Invest in her, not these strangers' kids. If you feel you must continue in your job, do your job, but not at the expense of what is really important right in front of you.

I hope that this will encourage you, not hurt you. It's not too late. Who cares about stupid awards? Honestly, they don't hold up to the questions that come later from your children about why you weren't available to them, or why they were such a burden to you. If your students suffer, their parents can take up the slack. You cannot be everything to all of them. You cannot be perfect in all areas of life. Your daughter needs you to pour your life into her, not random people who happen to be on your roll call. Help your daughter. Teach her. Have you considered just coming home and being *her* teacher? I bet you both would thrive.

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answers from Flagstaff on

Been there, done that! I taught elementary school for a while, but am currently taking a break from teaching.

My 15 year old daughter is currently working for a teacher grading papers. I don't know what subject you teach, but you might consider hiring a high school student to do the same for you to take the load off of you. My daughter works about 4 hours a week, and is paid $20. She found the job posted on a bulletin board at the high school.

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answers from Phoenix on

See if you can eliminate one of the extra classes and turn it into a study skills class, if your school has it. That way, you only have about 10 kids, and you have most of that hour to catch up on your own work. Your principal knows how much you work. You need to start venting to him...and hopefully you will get what you want. A teacher at my school got 2 study skills, one free hr, and the rest as regular classes...she excels and works very hard for her students, and just like you, that paid off. Or try to eliminate one of your preps...I know...easier said than done. Good luck.

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answers from Phoenix on

Bless you! I taught 5th grade for 3 years before I left teaching. I LOVED teaching and plan to return, but I am a perfectionist and had similar expectations of myself as I hear you saying. The needs that a GOOD teacher has to meet on a daily basis for his/her students is astronomical and any teacher that does a good job at it AMAZES me and deserves applause!

Because of my expectations for myself, I knew that I would not be able to manage both teaching and motherhood. I am blessed and thankful to be able to be staying at home with my children when they are young.

Hang in there. You're awesome!

P.S. Thank you for all that you do for each child every day!

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answers from Erie on

What you need is a sabbatical. Is it possible for you to take *some* time off? I am afraid you are going to burn out, anyone who gives that much on a daily basis needs to "fill up the tank" regularly. Think about what you are doing for self care, and how you can do more for yourself, so that you don't run short for the others you give to.

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answers from Phoenix on

I don't have any wonderful insight or answers...I just want you to know that I completely understand. I only taught public elementary school for 5 years. My 5th year I had a newborn and by the end of the year I just felt like a failure as a mom and as a teacher. We decided that I should stay home. I have subbed and taught private preschool since then, but I have lots of friends still in education and I hope to find my way back when the time is right. However, I still hear stories like yours and it makes me not want to go back. To be short about it...YES!! Teachers are expected to do too much!!! It's so much more like teachers are expected to RAISE the kids as opposed to just teaching them.

I can tell you are a caring and great educator, because you wouldn't be venting about it if you didn't care!!!! Hang tight! You're the kind of teachers we need, but there's nothing wrong with taking a break from it either and focusing on your family.

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answers from Sarasota on

I am not a teacher, but I support teachers and I think all the teacher bashing in this country is ridiculous.
I my line of work I occasionally do one-hour training sessions for groups. The most I've ever had to do is three sessions, with long breaks in between. I find those days very tiring. I can't imagine how exhausting it would be to teach and lead a whole classroom of young kids for six hours, or five or six periods in secondary school.
I will say this though, a couple of my neighbors are teachers. One definitely seems to work a 45+ hour/week...the other is home promptly right after school ends 99% of the time. Not that there's anything wrong with that....but what I am getting at is maybe you COULD possibly spend less time working and still get the minimum required done?
Best wishes. Public school teachers rock and deserve more support in my opinion.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Yes, I think about how much teachers do all the time. It's CRAZY how much they have to do and how many hours they have to put in for so little pay. You have preparing before each class. You have grading at the end of each day. It is shocking to me how many hours a teacher has to work - and what about spending time with their own families? I do believe every teacher should have an aide who does grading. I also think every x years that teachers get a sabbatical year where they can do something totally different so that they don't burn out.

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