At My Wit’s End

I am just about at my wit’s end with this teaching thing.

I have two reasons for this:

  1. I am handling more classes than an average teacher (although I don’t have to worry about grading or parents for that matter).
  2. I have to be prepared for students of every age.

These are my classes at the high school:

  • 4 7th grade classes (but 3 of these are with the same students)
  • 4 8th grade classes
  • 1 11th grade class

These are my classes at the elementary schools:

  • 4 1st grade classes
  • 2 3rd grade classes
  • 2 6th grade classes

These are my classes at the Academia:

  • 3 adult classes, of which 2 meet twice a week, for a total of 5 adult classes that I attend
  • 1 private adult class that I have 2 times a week
  • 1 class of 6th and 7th grade girls
  • 1 class of 6th and 7th grade boys that I have 2 times a week
  • 2 3rd grade classes
  • 1 teenager class

Drumroll please, that’s a total of 27.5 hours a week, distributed among 18-20 different groups of students.

Don’t try doing the math yourself cause the length of each class varies, and so does which class I actually have that week.  Just trust me that I know what I’m talking about.

In comparison, teachers here are required to work 17 hours of classtime a week, but actually work less than that.  My roommate Isa works 12 hours a week and is required to be available to substitute 5 additional hours to make it to her 17.  These teachers undoubtedly work harder than me as they have more things to prepare, more things to grade, meetings with parents, etc., but they are also paid more.

I understand now why teachers work such short days (in the building): because teaching is exhausting!  Four and a half hours in a row just kills you.  I have had other jobs and this is by far the most tiring. Probably because you always have to be concentrating, and you can’t take any time to think about anything else, distract yourself with your email, or move at a slow pace. You have to keep the class moving and everywhere you turn there’s some new smartass student who doesn’t give a shit.

The little kids are even worse than the older kids because they won’t stop moving, talking, yelling, screaming, farting, etc.  As expected, the boys are the WORST.  They don’t listen, they don’t shut up, they can’t handle instructions.  I have tried straight copying from the board, physical games, and arts and crafts, and nothing seems to work with these people. I tried playing a game with a soft, squishy ball, and it wasn’t enough to just toss the ball from person to person, NO.  They had to throw the ball as hard as they could at each other, which prevented anyone from catching it, and therefore, stalled the game and lost its focus.

Let’s not forget that I brought this upon  myself.  I decided to work at the Academia to make extra money so that I could do as much traveling as I wanted.  And boy can I do as much traveling as I want! WITH strings attached: teaching!

I always said that I could never be a teacher and this experience has only confirmed with CERTAINTY that my evaluation of my capabilities was completely accurate. I am only interested in teaching students who are equally interested in learning and who also know how to sit down and stop YELLING.  And well, that’s only a handful of kids out of a hundred. I’ve been told that the apathy and disrespect of education is more prevalent in Miranda than in the rest of Spain and I sure hope so for the sake of Spain’s future!

Next trimester I may cut down on my Academia classes because it is becoming too overwhelming to plan for such a variety of classes and students.  We’ll see how I feel when I return from my vacation with Hannah.  Maybe the break will give me enough R&R to make the extra income worth it.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “At My Wit’s End

  1. j.lee

    hahahahahaha your picture. and your entire post. i love you.

  2. Your schedule stinks! At least you’re in Spain, right?

  3. yeah..looks like you should cut down at the Academia after our trip..you won’t have the big trip looming over to pay for anymore..and you should be happy in spain, not stressed! that’s a lot of hours, not just in the classroom, but preparing as well. from your picture, i would guess that fewer hours might be essential to your sanity🙂

  4. Jess

    Yeah, that picture cracks mah shit up.

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