R is for Re: My Place of Work (on teaching and chaos)


Actual picture from my place of work. There are more of them.

It’s strange to think, that there are schools out there where no one in staff cries. Where there arent mousetraps set out in the teacher’s lounge. Where there are working computers. 

It has started to come to my attention that the school where I work isn’t normal. That it isn’t normal to have such an overworked staff that there is crying on the daily. From adults. That it isn’t normal for your work to take so much from you that all you have energy for after work is to sleep. 

Don’t take this the wrong way, I love my job. I gladly give all of me to it. Which might not be a healthy attitude but I digress.

I love my school because it has the most brilliant staff. We are a tightknit group who are so flexible we somehow manages to fix things magically.

But it isn’t normal.

It isn’t normal to not run out of lined papers so we started copying the one sheet we had left. Then we ran out white paper so we started copying on yellow. 

It isn’t normal to have to do national tests that required calculators only to notice that sadly there are no calculators. Eventually the principal bought a set of circa twenty calculators that you could book. At a school with over 300 students. The older students used their mobile phones. 

This isn’t normal. 

It isn’t normal that I had a student with severe autism and couldn’t read or write. All she did was stare and sit and I tore my hair out trying to find assignements and classes that worked for everyone, including her. I failed with her. She had the right to a student assistant but the school couldn’t afford it.

It isn’t okay that it’s required to use technology in the classroom when all you have is 15 old macbooks that doesn’t properly work and somehow divide these over 24 students.

It isn’t okay that I don’t have enough color pencils and only broken pencil sharpeners. 

It isn’t okay that my old boss walked in on me TWICE crying my eyes out, said ”oh” and walked out. 

It isn’t okay that my coworker sat with our two bosses crying FOUR or FIVE times saying that she couldn’t handle her boys and she recieved nada help. 

It isn’t okay that I sometimes feel like I can’t protect my kids from being beaten up in the schoolyard by other children who have such bad mental health that they shouldn’t be in school. 

And apparently it isn’t normal that someone is always crying. Men, women, young, old. There is always someone feeling that they’re not quite managing. 

It isn’t normal to have such bad air in some of the rooms that the teachers get headaches from being in there. 

It’s not okay to have a principal that backs the parents and not the teachers. 

It isn’t normal to not have enough offices for the teachers and this year, us teachers of the second grade have been a bit homeless. We didn’t have offices to work in 

This is my place of work. This is why I fail to do much writing during the year. I am busy helping with the holding up the sinking ship that is my school. 

….and yet. A place is only as good as it’s people. There isn’t another place on earth I’d rather spend the next year in. There is no other place where I can turn to almost anyone and say ”I need help,” and they’ll help. When we’re not crying the people here exhibit such positivism I believe we can do anything. We are all brilliant and engaging teachers. There is no room for laziness. There is no room for second guessing. There is only room for doing. 

I have one more year here. I need to follow my class for one more year, the third grade, and then Im done. Then Im onto new adventures at hopefully more normal schools. 


4 thoughts on “R is for Re: My Place of Work (on teaching and chaos)

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