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The Difference Between Giving Up & Knowing When You've Had Enough


There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you've had enough.
                                                                               Dave's Words of Wisdom


The last time I blogged, it was February 18, 2018. It's unlike me to go so long without writing about my kids and my classroom.  Both are such huge parts of my life and identity. I had so many cool things to share with you this spring. But it felt dishonest to write about them, because I've been struggling. I don't feel creative right now. I don't feel hopeful. I look at my students, and I want to hold them and cry.  

My momma always told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything. 


So I haven't said anything.  Not one word. Because to give words to the rage I have felt over the past three months feels like an act of self-harm.  I do not want to argue about gun control   I grew up in a hunting and fishing culture. Guns were valuable tools used for putting meat on the table and dispatching pests that caused problems on our rural property. I was taught how to shoot, how to handle a gun safely. I was taught to be respectful of it. And I was okay.  However, what is the purpose of weapons of war? It isn't to shoot a deer or rabbit. The purpose is to annihilate anything it's turned on. And in our country, they are turned on teachers and students, not on the lawmakers who accepted millions in campaign payouts from the NRA. 

Two weeks ago, I sat in ALICE training and listened to the 911 recording of the librarian from the Columbine High School during the shooting. I could barely keep my shit together. It is harrowing to listen to, and I choked back sobs. We talked about how to build a blockade, how to run, and the accuracy of a shooter when the target is moving. We practiced. 

In the last three months, I've watched teachers in West Virginia (my birth state), Arizona (where I used to live and work) and North Carolina fill the streets in protest. I've read the ugly, filthy comments of people on social media directed at those teachers. I am unhinged.  We can take a bullet for your children, but we don't deserve benefits and livable wages? 

Adolf Hitler said, " Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction."  One of the first rumbles of fascism in pre-war Germany was the suppression of its teachers.  In the U.S., we are not just being suppressed, we are being demonized...until the latest school shooting, when we become either heroes or victims who are easily forgotten.  Quite frankly, it feels like no one is standing up for us. 

When I became a teacher, I was ready to shake the world up. My grandma and my mom were both teachers. It is in my blood. I had the optimism and zeal of  a "wet-behind-the-ears teacher."  I was going to make a difference. I've been teaching for 25 years. I spend about 2 months (when added all up) of my time with my students administering district and state-mandated assessments. The minutes I am supposed to teach all subjects are also mandated, and they add up to more minutes than there are in the school day.  I'm given about $3-$5 to spend per student for school supplies, for the entire school year. I can not write off the money I spend on my students. 

And now, I need a bullet proof vest. And I've been thinking about buying a baseball bat to keep next to my classroom door. And I need to teach my students how to pile furniture up in front of my classroom door for our next lock-down drill. 

Last week, I listened to a friend ask me why her tax money should go to public schools. She wants private school tax credits for her kids. 

Last month, another friend told me that I'm "too political." I wonder, is it because teaching is thought of as a "female profession" and nice girls don't have strong opinions? 


But you know what? Too bad. I've had enough of not being enough. Teachers have worked hard enough, cried enough, begged enough, and died enough in this country.  Period.

Next time, my creativity will be flowing. Next time, I'll write about beautiful ideas and beautiful students. Next time, I'll have hope to share, because I was taught to pull myself up my bootstraps. Next time. I promise. 


Until next time, check out my educator friends below. 



2 comments

  1. I'm with you all the way in what you've said, Tracy. Very scary world we live in today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So well worded, Tracy. Thank you for your summing up how I've been feeling. You are more than enough, my friend!

    ReplyDelete