Lately, I’ve been upset about the climate at our school. I “was” going to write a somewhat “angry” (but truthful) post of how staff members have been humiliated in another education policy turnaround. However, the reality is that nothing is going to change that fact and Karma is alive and well.
However, the part that “does” bother me is that supply closets are now under “lock and key” (new materials coming in for the restructuring), and a couple of the small portion of individuals staying are “snubbing” the rest of the staff. It’s ugly – and uncalled for in my opinion. God forbid that even a stapler will be missing in the microscopic check-out procedure. Earlier this year we were addressed as “lovely staff” and “friends” and now those days are long gone.
The person in charge of the “Sunshine Committee” told a colleague that there will be no “retirement celebration” for me or the two educational assistants because some of them turned in their “announcement” at the last minute. Uh, I didn’t. Seriously, how much planning does it take to throw some cake and punch together? I wish I could say otherwise, but my feelings are hurt. However, I found out two days ago that one staff member had lost her father (Would you not think that someone “in command” would have told the staff?). Again the infamous “Sunshine Committee” person in charge didn’t send any condolence cards/flowers from the school according to the staff member.
OK, I’m sorry – some of the “spewing” came out. Thanks for letting me vent. Now, I plan to “move on” to better and greener pastures.
The NEA has an article posted on their website that speaks of teacher burnout versus teacher demoralization.
How does teacher demoralization differ from teacher burnout in terms of cause and effect?
I make a distinction between demoralization and burnout primarily in terms of cause. The effects – apathy, bitterness, depression, exhaustion, isolation – may, in fact, look remarkably similar. Burnout is studied most frequently by psychologists who examine how an individual’s personality, physical and mental health, and coping strategies help to manage stress. Burnout tends to be characterized as a natural by-product of teaching in demanding schools and leaves the problem of burnout as an issue of teacher personality and/or naiveté. Burnout is characterized as a failure of individual teachers to conserve their personal store of resources.
In demoralization, the resources – what I term the “moral rewards” of teaching – are embedded in the work itself. Demoralization occurs when the job changes to such a degree that what teachers previously found “good” about their work is no longer available.
Moral rewards are what bring many of us to teaching: finding ways to connect meaningfully with students, designing lessons that address students’ needs, using our talents to improve the lives of others. It is a sense that the moral dimension of the work is taken away by policy mandates that affect their teaching directly.
I’m almost there. In the words of the immortal Jerry Garcia, “What a long strange trip it’s been…”