Consumed by educational climate….

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I came to the startling revelation yesterday, I am being consumed by education! It is eating my life away and I have to change to fix it. It must have started nibbling on me a few years back when I took a leadership role in our MEA Local. I felt I had the leadership skills and the knowledge to help guide our unit. The Michigan Legislature decided it was time for education to take larger bites out of teachers. Changing teacher tenure laws, right to work laws and teacher evaluation laws all within a couple of months. At first the larger bites mainly missed me. I weaved carefully through the landscape. Avoiding major bite wounds. The efforts are now showing their toll.

Teachers have always tried their best, giving it their all to make sure that THEIR students learn, are cared for and grow during their time together. Now I was asked to give more. Wanting to be an effective teacher, I always give all I can. Giving all I can at work and fighting the constant political criticism of teaching, funding cuts, and changes takes its toll at home. I have giving all my energies at work and neglected my home. My wonderful wife reminded me yesterday that I do more and am nicer to students and co-workers than my family. She is right. I need to change. I need to let the attacks, the criticisms, the inequalities go. Focus on education has consumed me. Instead of celebrating my wife’s bonus from work, I offered words of resentment. “Teachers don’t get bonuses!” That is no way to treat my wife.

I have let the educational landscape turn me into a cynic who complains about every aspect of society due to the neglect to education. This is cannot be healthy for anyone. I know this is why teachers are leaving the profession. It is devouring us. I LOVE TEACHING, but it has turned me into the worst husband and father as it eats me up. I have lost the ability to focus on the fun and positive in my life. We only live once and I don’t want to be the crotchety old guy sitting in the rocker at the coffee house alone.

I write this as a word of warning. Be a union member, raise awareness but don’t allow it to eat you up and seep into every aspect of your life, like I have. It can consume you if you do! I am now realizing how much I allowed the negativity in teaching seep into my home life. If I can’t get it out I will have to move on to another profession, but I LOVE TEACHING so I hope to figure out it out!