I have left school two days in a row ready to quit. Keys off the key ring and everything. It's hard. Real hard. Hard like I didn't know possible. What makes it so hard is not necessarily the socio-economic "status" of the kids. That definitely plays a huge part in the difficulty.
Pam is an experienced teacher at the school. She has talked me down out of the tree both times. She pointed out that everyone who comes to this school goes through hell for months. She came to the school after teaching for 14 years. She had been teacher of the year and all that jazz. And she was destroyed for months, questioning her career choice, etc. This is a ridiculously hard school to teach at. Even for the best, most experienced of teachers. I have never been in charge of an elementary school class, period. Yeah, ouch.
There are good things though. It is a huggy school. It is where the majority of kids get their hugs. And their food. The kids are so glad when school starts because they get a hot breakfast and lunch. I am learning a lot about my comfort zone. One thing I know about my comfort zone is: I'm not in it.
Pam told me the kids hate when school lets out for the summer. They ask if they can come stay at her house. I have no idea what it's like at their house. Pam says that at home, only the loudest mouth is heard. And they bring that into the classroom, as well as all of their other baggage. One kid's dad was shot the other day because he was a drug dealer. There is only one counselor on campus, so the teachers do a lot of counseling.
I got hired on a Friday and started on Monday. How's that for planning time? I'm not complaining because it's a job.
Yesterday, I was out of there. Keys in hand. Pam pulled me aside and pointed out that I had one more day of this first week. At least give it one more day.
OK. So I came back for Thursday.
The first half of the day was great. The second half was horrid. So bad. And ultimately my fault. Bad planning, sure. But I thought I had "overplanned"
I turned in my keys today to the principal (who is VERY intense by the way) and said, "I'm not trained to do this job. I'm in way over my head. I don't think this job is for me."
She said "yes, that's why I didn't hire you before. Why don't you sleep on it, and call me tomorrow (I don't work on Fridays) with a decision, stay or go, it's your call." I said "OK"
I walked out. I saw Pam (who knew what I was up to) and she said "well?"
"I'm going to sleep on it."
And then we talked for a long time. She basically enouraged me to stay. She knows good teaching. She wants these kids, who don't have anything else, to have a good education. She wants me to stay.
Well, I went back into Vonnie's (the principal) office. And picked up my keys and said "I'll see you on Monday"
"That a boy" she said.