Getting out of the Rut?


Be warned; this is a kvetching post.

There are times when I am really fed up with teaching. This is one of these times. I teach six classes; three of them really get on my nerves, two are bearable and one is fine.

There are probably more than one reason for being in this state of mind:
– Teaching is not easy.
– Teaching in a very average public school is quite a strain.
– I have been teaching for 22 years, which is quite some time. Maybe I have just had enough of the whole thing.
– Some kids are really difficult to deal with and we get too little help either from the school administration or the authorities. Parents are voters and voters should not feel angry.
– Far more people reach high school than when I first started and what we ask from the students hasn’t changed much. Unfortunately English has not become easier in the meantime. Sadlly for the students, it has become more necessary to know at least one foreign language. But how do you teach a language to people who don’t know what verbs, nouns and adjectives are?
– It is disappointing and emotionally exhausting to try and find new ideas for people who couldn’t care less.

One of my collegues recently mentioned that she had gone back to college while still teaching. She started about three years ago and is in the last year of a BA in French and comparative literature. For instance last semester she studied The United States through the Eyes of Jewish Authors as part of the curriculum.

It dawned on me that this might be the solution. I should try and find something I’d like to study – this should not be a problem – enroll in one Parisian university and take the train once a week to learn something that would keep my mind busy and stop me from kvetching here and elsewhere.

12 thoughts on “Getting out of the Rut?

  1. I empathize, having been a teacher, myself, in the past.

    I think having an outlet would be an excellent idea, and it might give you a new perspective, and help with the teaching frustrations.

    Kvetching is a good thing, and much better than keeping it inside!

  2. Ilana, I’m sure you’ve read Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth. They will surely give you an idea of the US seen from Jewish eyes. I’ve done both these authors in class. I’ve also taught Cynthia Ozick and Amy Bloom. You’d love them I’m sure.

    While I’m not a very religious person anymore, the Pope embarrasses me when he does stupid things like reinstate a Bishop who denies the Holocaust. He’s called for the Bishop to recant but how could he have done what he did (the Pope) in the first place? Such complete insensitivity!

  3. Brainstorm on the many things you could do besides teach. Then pick one, and go for it.

    Love the flowers.

    By the way, I taught myself web design. There are so many skills one can learn online these days…

  4. I re-read what you wrote and then I realized that you don’t necessarily want to get out of teaching, just find something that excites you so you won’t feel so grumpy about it. Is that what you mean?

    Comment to Mary: to find out more about Jewish life in America, I would definitely pick Allegra Goodman over Philip Roth! Or Chaim Potok.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  5. Leora: That’s exactly what I mean!
    Mary: I have read one novel by Malamud, which I enjoyed but I am not to fond of Philip Roth (unlike a lot of French folks).
    Jewwsihes: The more I think about it the more I believe it’s a good idea. I only have to choose carefully because of the cost involved.

  6. Interestingly, here in Israel, all teachers – even elementary school teachers – get a sabbatical every seven years. Many use the time to go back to school or for professional in-service training.

    Have a good week!

  7. I think your last two paragraphs are the best solution. One thing I looked forward to (if I had stayed in Boston) was the opportunity to audit classes (for a very small fee) at the college where I got my master’s degree. This would have given me stimulating, challenging reading and conversation, and would probably have helped keep my teaching inspired. I think any adult education could help with this, though more power to you if you have the ambition to pursue a degree!

  8. You can kvetch any time you want ID. We like to listen and help, if we can, but you seem to have come to some conclusions on your own.

    Keep us posted as to how you’re doing.

  9. Shimshonit, you are making me miss Boston! I could take fabulous adult ed classes with great teachers for cheap. (of course, the cost of living there is now outrageous, but you can’t have everything)

  10. Pingback: Tempting « Ilana-Davita

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s