I used to love going to the circus as a kid. The Ringling Brothers really knew how to put on a show. I enjoyed the high-wire act, the lion-tamer act, and the caged-motorcycles act. I never needed popcorn and a soda while at the circus. The acts captively held my attention.
I came to the conclusion during the first part of this school year that being an elementary-school teacher feels like being in the circus. My "act" is that of The Juggler. You know, the person who skillfully twirls a variety of objects around in the air with nothing but two hands and confidence? I assign myself to this role because in my current position, I teach 6 subjects to the same group of students. Every. Day. On top of the instructional demands, there are district and state mandates to obey and students' needs to meet. Toss in interpersonal relationships with colleagues and admins, and my juggling act is in full swing daily.
After nearly 16 years of being a teacher, I have to be honest with myself: The circus act is tiring.
I find myself unable to approach every subject and every lesson with the zeal and zip I felt as a novice teacher. Despite continual changes to the curriculum and my efforts to keep units fresh, being The Juggler may actually be counterproductive. I'm stretched thin on most days. I'm not going all-in with my lessons. And I'm feeling the burn as I tumble fiery clubs in the air.
It's time for a change, Gen, and you know it.
The school year isn't over yet. There is time to infuse the last semester in my current position with some novelty, some creativity, and some zest. My students deserve the greatest show on Earth, and that is exactly what I'll give them! I'll blog more about my 2nd semester plans after the new year begins. Plans are in the works...stay tuned.
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