“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen
One of the major issues stressed with new teachers is the work/life balance. After 5 years of teaching, I’m getting the hang of that balance. I’ve mastered not bringing work home during the week and I can even take a weekend off occasionally. But even when you do achieve the perfect balance, there’s still going to be work-related stress. That’s where the quote above comes in. To deal with the stress of work, I workout (sweat) and frequent Martha’s Vineyard in the winter (the sea). But what no ever talks about are the tears.
On Tuesday, when my students left for the day, I cried. On Wednesday, during my prep, I cried in front of another teacher. After the second set of tears, I felt better and was able to refocus and begin to solve my problem.
The reason for my tears is not important. You could substitute any teacher’s stressful situation for mine. What is important is what the occasional cry (or other displays of emotion) shows about a teacher. It shows that we care. It shows accountability.
Teachers work their tails off so every student gets the education they deserve. And when some are just not getting a concept after a week of different approaches to the same concept, we may just cry. However, that cry does not equate to giving up. We try again. We ask for advice. We persist until we can make a breakthrough. We do all of this because we know that it’s our job and our passion to educate students well.
That’s true accountability; no standardized test or summative evaluation is going to capture that.
Written by Jennifer Maio, a New Member Committee Member and 7th grade English teacher at Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jmaio88