Classroom Management

[Opinion] Teaching is Not for the Faint of Heart

Courtney Frausto is a 6th-grade ELAR teacher in Texas. She is strong-willed and determined to be her best at everything that she does. She loves a challenge and is always looking to master a new skill. She has a passion for teaching and a love that runs deep for her students. When Courtney is not teaching, she is chasing her 3 young children, enjoying time on the lake, or relaxing on the patio.

I would consider myself a seasoned teacher, but not a veteran teacher. I have been teaching for 4 years now, but I feel that this has been my profession for a lifetime. 
From the time I left the second grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Up to this point in school, I had the most amazing teachers who I admiringly looked up to, and knew that one day I wanted to be just like them. 
Fast forward several years, and I find myself standing in their shoes. I am front and center of my classroom every day. Looking back to the times when I admired my former teachers, I can’t help but wonder if they felt the same pressures of teaching that I now feel. 
Definitely not for the faint of heart, but those of us who’ve built up an armor, who was born and bred to be in the trenches teaching, we are also struggling. Click To Tweet
We all know that the past few years of teaching haven’t been the easiest. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but those of us who’ve built up an armor, who was born and bred to be in the trenches teaching, we are also struggling. Day in and day out, we are expected to show up, smiling, unphased by the warfare surrounding the trench we find ourselves in for the day. 
Most of us wake up, set down personal battles, and armor up to prepare ourselves for the day. The array of grenades, bullets, and battles that we will see within the day could range from struggling readers, kids being neglected at home, teachers quitting unexpectedly, admin dumping extra duties in your lap, bullying, etc. Every day is a mystery as to what can unfold. 
And yet here we are. Underpaid, underappreciated not only by the community and parents but now dealing with disrespect from students as well. Most days I am lucky to make it home with as little as five incidents throughout the day. Mostly student incidents. 
I leave, bag heavier than I remember when bringing it in, and sit in the silence of my car to digest the web of craziness that tangled up throughout the day. I can’t help but think, “Ugh, I have to do this again tomorrow.”
I wonder when this will get easier. When will the community respect us? When will parents wake up and realize that I cannot teach your child respect, and confidence, and goal setting on top of the curriculum if they are not helping? When will I have a day where I am on top of the world after I deliver an amazing lesson that took weeks of planning and preparation? When will an administrator appreciate something that I did this month or week? 
Then the reality sinks in that this profession, which is underpaid and underappreciated chose me, and I embraced it. I knew the days would be long and hard. I knew that there would be students who needed more from me than others. That my days of teaching just writing would result in therapy sessions, and follow ups to make sure students were mentally okay before teaching a lesson.
Looking back, my former teachers did all this as well. They were just so amazing at hiding their frustrations, and able to put their servants’ hearts before their own needs and frustrations. And I stop and think, how wonderful it is to be in the position I am in. 
To serve, lead, and help students of our community who are not appreciated in their environments, not sure of who they are or where they fit in. And they can come into my classroom and feel at home, so comfortable that they can have an off day, explode, laugh, rejoice, cry, and share some of the most intimate details of their lives with me.
Teaching is a work of heart. While it is not glamorous, the armor is heavy and hot, and sometimes too much to bear, the reward of hard work, lightbulb moments, and 75 smiling faces make the mud a little clearer to see through. 
We do this for the kids. We do it because we once had a teacher who did it for us. We do this because we LOVE what we do, no matter how hard or frustrating it can be at times. So don’t give up. Don’t lose hope, and never stop battling for yourself and your students. WE are the change.

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