I am having an existential crisis. Not really, but it does often feel like my world is caving in lately. I'm glad I'm typing this, because I honestly don't think I could say it out loud and therefore make it a legitimate part of my day-to-day life.
I think I hate my job.
I started the year working for a school in the special education department, anxious to get an opportunity to finally take on a classroom in my home state and see how I made out. I applied on a whim for a part-time position in my secondary field (history) and, surprise, got it! They even made it full time because they liked me! The tricky part is that I'm entering the school in the middle of the year, the teacher I'm replacing joined administration so she's still in the building which I think makes some of the kids not sure how to deal with a new person. Also, this is a small school but it is surrounded by very large, very tough cities. The school has no money and looks it and during my interview, they told me there's a very high turnover rate. On top of that, the most difficult students were given to the teacher I'm replacing because she knew them and knew how to control the classroom. I was also told that my honors class is not really honors, my college prep class is more like a special ed class, and the class I teach in "The Trailer" is a smattering of students not able to handle mainstream classes.
It. Is. Rough.
Honestly, I thought I totally knew that I wanted to be a teacher and that I was a good teacher. I did know that classroom management is my area to improve, but I truly thought that my patience, belief that any student can learn, and the fact that I am slow to anger or frustration would help me do just fine.
Instead, I dread going to school every morning. I know that every class is going to be a battle with at least a couple students. Cell phones are a major issue in the school and most teachers have given up, meaning that a lot of the kids are texting while the teacher is giving a lecture. Basically every student has something awful going on at home, so my sympathy wars with my attempt to be firm and set high standards.
Also disconcerting, I think a few of them can't really read. These are upper level high school students and, when I asked the honors to write 2-3 paragraphs for homework, those who even did it had an almost impossible time. One girl said that she just wrote one long paragraph because her English teacher usually helps her split them into sections. This is honors. This girl is not on an IEP.
How could this happen? I've seen the 7th grade social studies teacher in action and the kids seem good to go. What has happened where they've declined? Or how else can I make sense of this?
Any thoughts/feedback would be great. I want to teach them well, but it's been a really uphill battle.