A Day In the Life

“One extra degree makes all the difference.”

Here I was, sitting in a staff meeting, being told by the administration that I can achieve more if I’m willing to give just a little bit more of myself, and all I can think is, “I’ve got nothing left to give.” You’ve taken one of my days. You’ve taken my classroom.  You’ve taken my instructional time. I have given everything, and yet I haven’t received more of anything in return. Except maybe students. I have more students in each class, but I can’t see that as a good thing.

Let me back it up. The idea is, if you push yourself just one degree more, you can go from hot to boiling, and boiling produces steam, and steam powers locomotives, and that’s an awesome thing. Or something like that. Honestly, you lost me at boiling. Yes, if I’m pushed just one degree more, I will be boiling, because I’ve been pushed pretty far this year already, and I’m none to happy about it.

First, they cut one of my days because “our numbers are down.” Then, they took my classroom because “our numbers are up.” And then, they cut my class time by ten minutes, gave me more students per class, and put me in a room with two other teachers. Two full time teachers, mind you. And now I’m being told to give more. Just a little bit more will make all the difference. Success is right around the corner.

Another favorite talking point was eliminating wasted time, “where can you cut back on wasted time?” (Well, for starters, I could not be in this meeting. There’s an hour and a half of wasted time I’ll never get back). Believe it or not, if you cut out 30 minutes of screen time every day, and put that time towards something more productive, like work, that equals 7,568 hours, which equals 4 1/2 solid weeks of time you could be using for work.* Think about that. Just thirty minutes a day. Because we all have that kind of time to spare, right?

I know this is supposed to be motivational. I get it, and maybe I could see the bigger picture here if it didn’t feel like I was being sh*t on, excuse my French. What I’m seeing though, the story I’m telling myself, is that I’m unnecessary, my class is wasted time**, and cuts must be made for the greater good in order to achieve success. Maybe I do see the big picture after all.

What kind of motivational nonsense have you had to sit through?

You better believe I was experiencing the 5 Stages of Staff Meeting Grief

*My numbers are suspect. I wasn’t really paying attention.

**Kid you not, this is basically what I was told when I questioned why art classes were being reduced by ten minutes.


6 thoughts on ““One extra degree makes all the difference.”

  1. Elizabeth Lee says:

    That was my life for years. Add on a chauvanistic principal who stuck his finger in my face and told me art and music wasn’t important to a child’s education. I found a high school position and am much happier


  2. Jodi says:

    We (2 art teachers) were moved into 1 room where we have a flimsy partition separating us. We were told the last week of school, we moved ourselves on our own time with no pay during our summer break. We’re expected to teach from bell to bell, have lesson plans out and available for admin., write objectives and essential questions daily, have 100% student engagement and keep discipline contained in our classrooms. We also have to attend numerous after school events with no pay. And don’t get me started on the departmental, committee, staff, and cast meetings we have to attend. It’s a joke. We are not important we will never be important. This was a dream of mine, to be an art teacher…now I’m re reconsidering my career.


  3. Gina Bush says:

    Thank you for sharing your frustration so honestly. I can relate. Right now I’m beat to hell, as I am every day at this time. I am depleted every day…they take and take and take. Because there is just one art teacher in the building,(that’s me) my voice hasn’t been big enough (or important enough) to be heard, when I’ve begged for help repeatedly. Not yet at least.


  4. Laurel says:

    Feel your pain, I finally said enough after over 20 years of loving the aspect of teaching art – introducing the wonders of the art world to all types of youngsters 4-18 years old – but burning out on the extreme nonsense handed out by administration and sometimes other teachers. After one elementary principal that never came in to observe me (although I had 3 of his own children in class) remarked that I need to specifically invite him when I did something “cool” with the kids and didn’t believe me when I said that “everyday is a cool day in art” and he was welcome anytime, I realized it was time to go – 9 classes a day with only 1 prep of 25 min was killing me. Has taken me more than a year to believe that my choice to regain my health away from the school setting has been the right one. Sad to think that our schools are draining & misusing those teachers that instill & motivate creativity in our students. I pray that you hopefully find a way to work through & past the frustrations.


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