A Rant About Teaching and Why Can’t I Change the Whole System By Myself?

So here we are again: It’s May, there are less than 20 days of school left, and even though this year was difficult (each one always is for different reasons anymore), I am bustling with ideas of things I want to try next year.


Yes, next year. While I do have two or three applications out to get out of the classroom and move into curriculum writing (which I think is my true passion), the odds I can get those jobs with very little experience in that subject matter is slim to none, I think. The odds aren’t zero, so I applied.

But am I really a teacher planning on going back next year, even with all the straight disrespect given to us lately? Surprisingly, yes. While there were a lot of challenges between students, colleagues and supervisors, I had a blast with my students this year. Did you know I had no students fail my class in the first semester? I have high expectations. Students met them.

As the year went on, my biggest struggle was in getting my coworkers to care as much as I did: to try new things to help their students; to build relationships and understand why they are the way they are. You’re not always the best teacher because you’re mean (you’re also not always the best because you’re nice either).

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ripped away -a poem-

ripped from your fingers
when you’d finally gotten the grasp,
snatched from your hands
that’s it – that’s a wrap.
you got one chance,
you should’ve tried harder –
oh, you felt your life was falling apart? Er —-

too bad, no second chances.
the decision’s been made,
your input be damned.
it’s all a game that’s being played
where we forget that our players
can be human too.
they struggle with emotions,
some more than others do.

we give it our all,
but is it ever enough?
or do we keep ripping opportunities
when the going gets rough?

you think you know me
better than I do –
but how do I prove you wrong when
after all I’ve been through,
everything I’ve tried
isn’t good enough for you.

You ripped this from my fingers,
stomped on it with your shoe.
Now what the hell am I supposed to do?

Turn the Page

Well, here we are. I am officially done with every part of the 2020-2021 school year. At the end of last summer, I had every doubt that I could make it through this school year in general without a full on mental breakdown. Every day challenged me in a new way, and forced me to look at my own life, thoughts, behavior, personal expectations, self-doubt. I learned who’s really on my team, and who wears two faces better than I thought they did. Most importantly, I learned that I can make it through anything.

It’s crazy how your own mind can work against you, convincing you with every fiber of your being that you are not worth the love and appreciation other people have to give; that you are not great at what you do no matter how many people tell you otherwise; that everyone would be better off when you’re not around.

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You Are Not A Burden

I have to repeat these words to myself on a daily basis recently.

I’ve been posting a lot of poems lately. Not every single one I’ve written, but a good chunk of them. It’s annoying because I want to save them and try and publish a poetry chapbook of my own, but I think there’s power in sharing an emotional struggle to ensure that no one ever truly feels alone in the battle with their own mental health. I feel that when we try harder to hide it from everyone, it’s when we feel the most alone and that we are a burden to those who love us.

I’ve uttered those words to my therapist a few times. “I feel like I’m becoming a burden.” It’s the anxiety/depression talking, I know. She’ll ask in response, “Who told you that you’ve become a burden?” and I have to admit that nobody has said it, that’s just how it feels. It’s crazy what a sick brain can convince you of.

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Relinquishing Control (Or At Least Trying To)

It’s hard for many to admit: you truly do not have control over anything except for yourself. I’ll be honest, this is one thing that has absolutely wrecked me over this last year of my life. I never considered myself to be the Type A control freak. I’m way too introverted to carry that title and position. Most “control freaks” run a situation, refusing to let others take over.

I, rather, let other people run the show while I watch from the sidelines as things fall apart because I knew better but was too afraid to stand up and say anything. What happens when things don’t work out as planned? Someone has to pick up the pieces and fix it. Enter me: the fixer. I have no issues with this role. Never have.

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When the Self-Doubt Holds You Back

So often – okay, literally everyday – I find myself making the decision to not do something because I don’t think it’ll work out, I’m not good enough to do it. No one is going to like it anyway, so why bother? I’ll be honest, hitting publish on blog posts many days is a challenge, and a great post will sit in my drafts for months and months because I fear it’s not good enough.

I have a hard time feeling good about anything if I don’t get validation from it. That sounds so bad and typing it was actually harder than writing it in my journal. If I don’t get likes and comments, I should just throw it away so no one knows it bombed. I’m a failure. Why am I doing this?

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Good Enough -a poem-

What is good enough?
Who sets the bar?
How do we know how much,
how big, or how far?

If I create the line,
then where does it stop?
Because I have so much trouble
with needing to be on top.

I struggle with lowering
the expectations I have set,
and if I miss out on something,
I’ll be stuck with the regret.

Everyday I find myself
more and more stressed out.
Everyday I’m closer and closer
to a full breakdown.

I never feel I’m good enough
for all the praise I get,
but I’m recognizing more
that it’s a flaw in my mindset.

I have to find a goal
that I can strive to achieve,
then NOT move the bar up again.
Only then, will I believe:

I am good enough.

If Your Mind Was A Mansion -a poem-

If your mind was a mansion,
who would you allow to rent the rooms?

Sadness? As you process
the latest loss in your life:
another family member gone too soon.

Anger? You’re mad at the world
for constantly cutting and cutting
you down until you’re two feet tall
and can’t take anymore.

Fear? That things will never get better
no matter what you do or try or

Anxiety? The constant thoughts
taking over your mind, shouting,
“worthless; unworthy of love;
how can we make this worse?”

Depression? Because all of the other
roommates drag you down until
there is no more sunlight peeking
through the windows.

Happiness? Bullied into the basement
by the rest, wondering when
they can come back upstairs
to turn on the lights
and show you that

you –

you get to choose who rents the rooms
in the mansion of your mind.

NaNoWriMo: A Shocking Week 2 Update

It’s the end of week 2 of National Novel Writing Month, so you know what that means — time for an update on my students’ progress!

I promise this post will be shorter and much quicker to the point. You can recap all the information about our NaNoWriMo project in my first two posts! (One) (Two)

Once again, these is only the numbers for my students; I do not have data for the other 7th grade ELAR teachers’ students at this time, but hope that at the end I can share their numbers as well. I’m trying to figure out how to get those numbers without creating more work for my colleagues. 2020 is hard enough, am I right?

Ok, without further ado…

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On Being Hard On Yourself

After leaving a meeting that I joined into even though I had to take the day off today, I sat here at my desk recognizing that I am literally my own worst critic. Honestly, I already knew that, but I feel like I need to keep saying it out loud to fully accept it as the truth. It’s a mindset I do not wish upon anybody, because in my mind, I am never good enough.

I strive and strive to be the best at what I’m doing. Weirdly, this does not affect me in all parts of my life. I never strived to be the best in sports – I was okay with being good enough. I never strived to be the best in school – C’s get degrees, baby. I never strived to be the best, most successful sibling/family member/friend, etc.

For me, I strive to be the best in my career: I’m a 7th grade ELAR teacher who is struggling through every part of this school year.

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