factoryOften, especially early in my teaching career,  I’ve felt as if I was  just a clog in the education system or maybe just a type of resource for the education system to use.  I’m a resource because I have certain qualities and skills the system needs and can use.  The system decides how to use its resources (me)  to its best advantage. I really have little say in how the system uses me.  Oh yes, I get to fill out that little piece of paper to tell administration what classes I would prefer to teach but the fine print say that might not happen.  I might be asked to teach something I’m not qualified to teach because that’s what I’m needed for.  For example, because I good with kids who are academically at risk, I was assigned to teach cooking  to a grade 10 class of academically at risk  students. They could barely read.   It didn’t matter that I wasn’t qualified to teach cooking, the system needed me to teach cooking because the real cooking teacher wasn’t good with academically at risk students. The system needed a peaceful class (no problems for admin) so I got placed in the cooking class. Teaching that cooking class was so scary because most of the time I had no idea what to do. I thought I’d die when just after a class on knife safety, one of my students cut his finger.  I was so  mad that I had to teach the class, I gave the poor lad a paper towel and told him to go to the office and not drip blood all over the floor.  Talk about empathy!!!  I felt badly afterwards and apologized to the student.  I felt badly for myself too. I could have  refuse to teach the cooking class. I could have said no,  but then I wouldn’t have a job. I would be a resource the system had no use for.  Thankfully, I only had to teach that class once.  There have been lots of examples in my career when I felt as if  the education system treated my like a resource.  Thinking back I’m beginning to wonder why I loved teaching so much.

Do you ever feel as if you are a clog or a resource used by the educational system? Do you think that’s just the way it is or do you think we could change the education system so it doesn’t treat teachers like a resource?

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5 Responses to “Do you ever feel as if you’re just a clog in the education system?”

  1. Ms. M. on March 7th, 2013 2:40 pm

    thank you for your honest and painfully funny depicted cooking class. Yes, I can relate to your experience. I also appreciate your honesty in feeling angry and telling the student not to bleed on the floor. I have had similar incidences. If he bleed on the floor, not only was a student injured in your class, then there was mess that needed to be cleaned up!
    Ms. M

  2. Lillian Hopkins on April 18th, 2013 7:02 am

    The experience of the cooking class would have been so bad for you and I understand that. But sometimes we have to perform certain tasks that we do not like or that we do not know because we just can’t do anything about it. The incident where the student had cut his finger with a knife would have been disastrous. Thanks for being honest and sharing this experience with us.
    ith us.”

  3. Elona Hartjes on April 18th, 2013 11:02 am

    I know sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do but I was especially annoyed that another teacher who was a trained chef and had experience teaching kids to cook didn’t want to teach these particular kids so I had to. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the kids, I just felt I wasn’t going to do a good job because I had no clue what to do and the kids would lose out.

  4. George on April 20th, 2013 4:38 pm

    Im going through a similar situation. Ive been with my disrict since 2005. I moved up from a aid and and got my temp contract. 1 angry parent and my contract doesnt get renewed. I was asked to teach a subject I knew nothing about and with several hot spots. Now its the end of the year and I get to help with behavior calls

  5. Elona Hartjes on April 20th, 2013 5:55 pm

    I feel like teachers are just another resource, albeit a human resource for the schools to use how and when they see fit. It’s hard to make the best of it at times. I don’t know what to say. It’s not always easy to make the best of a bad situation.

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