And then there are the myriad small frustrations that are just part and parcel of a teacher's life. These are a few that I experienced just this week.
- A dysfunctional copy machine. I tried to run off 30 double-sided copies of an assignment. It should have taken all of 5 minutes, if that. Instead it took 30 minutes. Of course that was morning I purposely came in half an hour early so I could get some project-grading done. Needless to say I spent that half hour photocopying instead of grading.
- A website crucial to my reading class was down for unscheduled maintenance. Had there been prior notice? Of course not. On to Plan B.
- I needed to reschedule the lab visit for the reading class who couldn't get to the website, and can't get time in the computer lab until the end of next week. That totally bollixes my unit.
- A piece of technology I was asked to purchase out of my very limited supply budget can't be installed because another piece of technology hasn't been updated. I could have used the $99 to purchase other items I wanted for the kids.
- Students who are totally unprepared for class ---- no pencils, no paper, no homework. It's not that they can't bring these things, it's that they "forget." (I've checked to be sure it's not financial!) And because our supply budgets are so limited, I don't have a surplus of paper and pencils to give away. In our school, paper and pencils are part of the school supplies we ask parents to buy for their kids.
- Meetings that take up all my planning time. This past week, I didn't have one free planning period available to actually plan. Thus I tried to compensate by arriving at school between 6:15-6:30 am, and leaving between 4:15-4:45. My "contracted" hours are 7:15-2:45. Not that any teacher worth his or her salt works just contracted hours! There's no way you can be competent if you don't work beyond them.
I'm not trying to be a kvetch. I'm just trying to share a bit of what actually goes on besides trying to guide student learning and manage their (sometimes ridiculous!) behavior. I know EVERY job has its particular frustrations. And I certainly wouldn't put up with them unless I genuinely liked my job.