Teaching is tough to troubled kids….5th grade teacher

Teaching is tough. I’m 25 years old and I’ve been teaching 5th grade for almost three years now and I can honestly say that it’s probably the toughest job I’ve ever had.

After three years working with fellow teachers and principals, I realize that the problem is not in the classroom. The problem starts well before these troubled kids even get their first pencil.

Let me tell you about a few students in my class and maybe you’ll be able to realize where I’m coming from and what I deal with every day.

“Micheal”, (fake name), a student in my class probably has never had a hug. Yes, a hug or a squeeze or just saying I love you, from someone who cares about him. His dad is in jail, his mom in a gang. He spends most of him time being watched by his abusive uncle and hanging around outside my classroom door after school hoping that I will let him inside to help me prepare for the next day. How can a kid like this stay focused in reading, math, and science when he isn’t even receiving the basic needs at home? I’m sorry, but math doesn’t mean a thing to you when your life is in the toliet.

“Tammy” (again, not her real name) lives with only her mother. Her dad is an alcoholic who, early in Tammy’s life, told her that he did not want to see her ever again. No wonder she just puts her head down during my writing lesson. Learning how to write a persuasive 5 paragraph essay means nothing to a kid who thinks her dad doesn’t care about her.

“Dominique” (a fake name) is one of 5 children born from her 26 year old mother. That’s only a year older than me!!! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that EACH of her siblings and herself have different fathers. No wonder she doesn’t participate in PE or science. Instead, she’s probably thinking “Who will mom bring home tonight?”

So, you can see where I’m coming from and why I agree with the statement..”Being a teacher…We aren’t the problem.” The administrators can try to play hardball with teachers and hold us accountable for the failing students, or push us to teach the standards, but it won’t change a thing. I work extremely hard to teach this kids, but I find the most important thing I can teach them, is love, inner peace, friendship, problem solving, lifeskills, happiness, and seeing that their is good in the world. This is more important than any arithmatic problem they could ever know. Yes, we need to teach them academic skills for the future, but we also need to be good parents.

I don’t think I’ll be a teacher forever, maybe a couple more years. I don’t think my heart can take it. I would also like to work in product management someday. I love working with people. I know that the skills I’ve learned as a teacher, will be valuable to me in any career.

Thanks for your time.