One of the schools I work in is insane. Not insane in that whirlwind-crazy-everyday-is-an-adventure sort of way. Insane in the I-want-to-stab-myself-for-agreeing-to-work-here sort of way.
Problem 1. My smallest class is 35 students. 35 8th and 9th grade boys. The rooms are echo-y so the slightest noise sounds like a herd of elephants, which raises the general room clamor exponentially in a matter of moments.
Problem 2. The boys were never taught to respect teachers. Some teachers they fear. Some teachers they respect because they have grown up with them. These boys were never taught to respect adults they don’t know, therefore new teachers like me are up the creek on day one.
Problem 3. The children have their own room rather than the teachers having their own classroom. The teachers move from one room to another while the boys sit and turn their classroom into an extension of their house. While this may not seem like a problem on the surface, the last two weeks have taught me that when students have their own room, they feel a certain level of ownership of it. You, the teacher, then become a guest in the students’ room, rather than the other way around which inherently provides a level of behavior. If the students had the feeling that “this is the teacher’s room and there are rules in the teacher’s room” it would be easier to manage them. As it stands now, the boys believe that their room is their room and you play by their rules in their room.
Problem 4. The other teachers, my supervisor included, believe that an invitation to come for shabbat dinner to their home will fix whatever classroom management issues you are having that are making it impossible for you to teach, therefore leaving you feeling like you are a waste of a teacher who now has no voice from yelling all day. This is akin to you approaching someone and saying that you are dying of thirst – instead of offering you a glass of water, they offer to come over and clean your house. The offer is nice, but this in no way helps your thirst, and ultimately you’ll die anyway from dehydration. But, hey! At least you’ll die with a clean house!
Problem 5. The administration thinks that every new teacher’s goal should be to have an “OK year for their first year.” I was told that “you won’t have a good year, and you definitely won’t have a great year; but if you have an OK year, you’re off to a great start!” What the hell kind of goal is that??? Who wants to strive for an OK year??
Problem 6. Instead of listening to me and my legitimate cries of “I don’t belong here,” or “I’m not right for this environment,” or “I can’t be the person you want me to be,” they just blow smoke up my ass about how I’m “a great teacher” and they “know I will succeed here with some patience” and that I “have a bright career here.” You aren’t listening to me. I’m not happy. Let me go. I’m going. I’m already mostly gone.
Problem 7. The administration, my supervisor included, thinks an appropriate place to have “here’s what you could do better” conversations is in the hallway or the parking lot, surrounded by students. The word of today is unprofessional. Try using it in a sentence today.
Problem 8. My paperwork to be paid STILL has not gotten filed, to no fault of my own. We are in the third week of the school year here and I have yet to have a drop of hope of seeing ONE SHEKEL. But, it’s ok, because I’ve been advised that when I do end up getting paid, it will only be in the 900 NIS/month range for at least the first 6 months while other paperwork is being processed. Yay.
Problem 9. I don’t speak Hebrew. They knew that when they hired me. Yes, I’m trying to learn. Yes, I’m doing the best I can. No, it’s not happening overnight. These students need someone who can speak Hebrew. The meetings are in Hebrew. Their parents who always want to call me speak Hebrew. The computer program where I have to input their grades is in Hebrew. I speak English and MINIMAL Hebrew. This will probably be the case for at least the first 6 months of this year. At least.
Problem 10. Rather than giving me actual advice or help to fix the respect issues and the behavior issues, the administration has decided that someone needs to come into every single one of my lessons and babysit my students. This is a bandaid, not a solution. What will happen the day the administration stops coming? What will happen next year? Or are they planning on doing this forever?
The advice I’m getting from all sides is to get out. I want to get out. My gut is screaming to get out. I wake up with knots in my neck and stomach from stress about my day to come. This is no way to live. Especially for a meager 900 NIS/month. They have made me feel so guilty for even thinking about leaving that the problem is being compounded. I’m happier at my other school. There’s room to grow at my other school. I’m treated like a professional at my other school. In the three days I spend in hell every week, I could be tutoring and making 4 times the amount monthly, on less hours. I could be working on my thesis, a dream now that seems unattainable and surreal. I feel so trapped.