Not Less Weary


Those of you who read this blog regularly know that this year has been particularly difficult in our school. The seeds had been planted for troubles and we were not disappointed; troubles we got.

We tried to overcome some of them by creating a committee, we got rid of a few students (which is not as easy in real life as it may look in writing) and we had a useless meeting with the chief school administrator. Finally last week one of his collaborators came to see how the school works and advise us on “how to do better with less”. I won’t go into this much as it was both frustrating and a total mockery of what our job is. To put it in a nutshell we were told that teaching is all about running a group and never about sharing knowledge. I ended up feeling even more disillusioned and helpless.

The last straw came on Friday evening. We had some friends over for Shabbat: the mother is a retired teacher and her daughter teaches French, History and Geography in a vocational school. Her school has an annual show run by the students with drama, songs and dances. It is a rather small school by French standards with only 300 students, a hundred of which are boarders. This year forty students were taking part but only six parents turned up, the audience consisted mainly of teachers and boarders.

Her story just made me sad about the society we have created. People who do not hesitate to call the school whenever we say something that their children do not like, people who often threaten and verbally abuse the teachers and administration but cannot drive a few kilometers when their kids are on stage.

I do no think that I can really analyze this incident but I know that I find it depressing. At a point in the school year when we are usually looking forward to the following year and trying to come up with wonderful ideas that we hope will inspire our students to learn more, I am not sure I even want to teach for the rest of my working life.

11 thoughts on “Not Less Weary

  1. That is extremely sad – and also rather shocking. How can it be that so many parents didn’t care enough to come watch their kids perform?!

    I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time and hope that things will somehow pick up for you.

  2. I also find it strange that parents will complain but not come to see their children in a show.

    A friend worked teaching math in two public school districts before going back to programming as a profession. In the first, the kids were poor, and some watched television all day long when they were not in school. The parents didn’t care whether the kids did homework and never showed up for conferences (they also didn’t speak English well and may have been close to illiterate themselves). In the second area, a middle class one, the parents showed up and complained. My friend actually found the first area easier, but in any case, she quit teaching. But she hadn’t committed so many years as you have.

    Good luck with whatever you do.

    • I wish I could speak two foreign languages really fluently rather than one fluently and four at a very basic level; doing something different might be easier. Beside in France it is quite hard to find a job at my age, which might seem surprising to people outside France.

  3. Hang in there. Ultimately you may decide to change careers but for now just know that we remember our good teachers for the rest of our lives. I’m sure that you have made a positive difference to many students.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Review with Hollyhocks | Ilana-Davita

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