I get attached to my students, especially if I see them for 180 days a year for three or four years in a row. Add the hours of afterschool rehearsals for plays and musicals, and I probably see my students for more waking hours in the day than their parents see them.
As a high school theatre teacher, my students share their lives with me: their challenges, their successes, and their heartbreaks. It is my job to listen and sometimes hand over a Kleenex or a sympathetic word of advice. I am a role model, mentor, and counselor for these children as well as a teacher.
I work so hard to fight for them at school. I defend them when they aren’t doing so well in other classes, I make sure that they have the materials necessary to perform shows, and I give up most of my extra time so we can have a successful drama department. I want my students to achieve great things, and I see the potential in them to do great things. I look forward to seeing my students in advanced-level theatre classes every single day because I know that they care. Or at least I thought they cared.
I believe in my students when nobody else will, and then they think it’s cute to take advantage of all the hard work I do by showing up to rehearsal forty-five minutes late, reeking of weed. Did they think I wouldn’t notice? Did they think I would just let it slide?
I feel so discouraged when stuff like this happens. I am patient person, and I will give a hundred second chances to people, even if I know they probably don’t deserve it. When I’m done though, I am done.
People always wonder why the burnout rate for teachers is so high, and this is why: as teachers, we pour our hearts and souls out into our work. We care so deeply and so passionately about the good we are called to do in this world, and we get no appreciation for it. We love our students like they are our own children, and all we get in return is parents calling the Board of Education about petty things, low wages, and students who do not even care about how much we do for them.
Some of us burn out, and some of us keep teaching because we have to believe that at some point, we will make a positive impact on the children we teach.