Three things I struggle with as a teacher:
- Sometimes I wonder if my expectations are too high. Is it possible to set the bar TOO high? I believe that it's better to set the bar too high than too low, but are my expectations of excellence too much? I expect my students to come ready to learn every day... I expect them to do their part, because I do much more than is required of me. I expect them to give their full effort - to pay attention, ask for help when they need it, and to do their best to succeed. I understand that these are skills that do need to be taught, but it's just tough when I am sitting here 6 school days before summer break not feeling like "enough" of my kids have reached that bar.
- Sometimes I wish I could end a year and feel like I reached every student. I feel like the number of students I don't feel I really reached increases every year, or maybe it's just my perspective of a few more added to the pile of "didn't reach that kid" from each year. I try to stay positive and focus on the ones that I've really reached, but it is disheartening to see those kids every day that still just don't get it (and I'm not talking about math here, I'm talking about "life" skills - integrity, organization, self-help, work ethic, listening to directions, etc).
- I really don't know how to teach or motivate a student who literally doesn't give an ounce of effort. I can't pull them by their earlobes if they don't want to succeed. I just graded my last Algebra 1 test (they did well, especially considering it was open notes!), but I still have a lot of F's overall. I never thought I would say this, but I am hoping for 26 F's this year in Algebra 1 - out of 104 students. And that's only if all the students that have a chance of passing pull it together in the next 6 days. Those 26 students are ones who don't have a chance of passing at this point. That frustrates me that I haven't been able to "make it click" with them this year.
What are your biggest struggles as a teacher?
How have you come to grips with them, or are you still struggling?
What have you learned over time to help you? (and maybe much longer than my 5 years!)