I have been so discouraged about teaching the past few days.
I never stop grading, and sometimes I think it is literally going to destroy my mental health. I try to figure out ways to shorten assignments but still make them meaningful; I try to figure out ways to assign less or grade more efficiently. It is just so difficult when I have 115 juniors, and I want them all to improve as writers. I get tired of spending all my free time grading. It's no wonder the attrition rate for teaching is like 50% in the first five years.
I've also found that students (and their parents) are only obsessed with grades and don't even care about the learning. They are willing to do anything--well, except work hard--in order to get a high grade, including cheating. I cannot stand cheating. It cheapens everything that I do in my classroom. I can no longer even give homework assignments because so many of them come back copied or plagiarized, and I don't want to take the time to read every word and double check for cheating--so I've started making them do almost all of their responses in class where I can monitor that they are working independently.
I wish they would stop worrying about their stupid 97% averages (which, by the way, is not actually indicative of the ability levels of most of these mediocre students) and start worrying more about becoming better readers, writers, and people. I had to take two phone calls from crazy parents this week: One father was concerned that his daughter "only" had a 94% and wanted me to accept one of her late assignments. (I didn't.) Another mother called in a panic because her daughter "only" had an 87% this quarter--and I must add that this student is definitely not a 90s-level writer or reader. I have no idea how she's been getting 90s in her other English classes over the years. This mother wanted to know "what went wrong" and why her daughter had "such a low average."
I sometimes honestly consider a career change--not leaving teaching all together, but instead teaching in a different setting--such as a prison. You may laugh at that, but I am serious. I hear the class sizes are small, no overbearing parents are involved, the students actually want to learn, and a security guard is present to deal with any and all discipline issues. Sounds pretty ideal and probably quite rewarding.
It's my personality to be a perfectionist, and I let all of these factors of my job really bother me. I am constantly thinking about what I can do differently in order to make my job more enjoyable while also being an effective educator. I drive myself crazy thinking about teaching.
Sometimes, I think teenagers these days get a bad "rep" as lazy and entitled; but I have to admit, many of the students that I work with would fall into at least one of those categories. It's a rare teenager indeed who works hard, takes responsibility for his/her actions, acts respectfully, and has well-adjusted priorities.
I have to get up in six hours and start another day, so I better get to bed and try not to lie awake thinking about teaching...
I would like advice.