In my experience what’s most problematic about schools is the adults who don’t have the courage to grow. As I’ve stated before, school isn’t about adults. It’s about the future trajectories of children who didn’t choose to be born, are forced to attend school, and are stuck with whatever teacher they’re assigned. That totally sucks. It’s not fair, and although I recognize that “life isn’t fair,” one of the primary reasons behind our human ancestors collectively choosing to create civilization (read: not having to gather berries and kill animals every day to survive) was to approach fairness as closely as possible.
So stop giving me the cop out that “life isn’t fair and kids just need to learn that lesson.” Have you learned that lesson? I bet you still complain about all the ways you got a bad shake at life. Not those kids’ problem. So stop talking about it, because every time you do, you let that stuff permeate your membrane and subtly filter into your interactions with kids.
I can’t overstate this enough: Those kids sitting in those seats did not choose you.
You didn’t choose your boss. How does that feel?
Sometimes you luck out and you have a boss who is understanding and fun to work with. A lot of times you don’t, though, and that situation is so bad for so many people that we make movies about it. (Anything we make movies about should be reflected upon more regularly, I’d say). Having a bad boss can literally suck the soul out of us. It affects so much of our lives outside of work.
And us adults have another thing we’re now free from, if we choose to grow and do inner work: our childhood home life. These kids still have to wake up every day in a house they may not feel safe in with parental figures they may not trust. And then you’re going to heap more on that kid because you don’t want to try something new or you don’t want to reduce your monthly, unnecessary One-Click purchases on Amazon to go see a therapist and reflect upon why you snap at kids who are having a bad day?
Quit teaching if that’s the case. Please. And definitely don’t hang on to your job through the union.
Go find another industry with a union to fight for your consciously chosen mediocrity. I know you can’t just switch careers into another industry that easily. I’ve tried, and it’s really hard. So go look in the mirror every morning while you attempt to do that and remind yourself that those kids didn’t choose you and your unwillingness to be nicer to them.
Until you can find a job in another industry that doesn’t so directly affect the quality of children’s lives, contain your problems in as tight a container as possible. That’s the only ethical option, and you know it.