Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Craving Apathy


Last night as I lay in bed half asleep, my husband commented:

“I sometimes find it comforting to hear you rant about your job.”

(Unspoken thoughts in my head) “Really? Do you like to know that I share in the misery that you find in night-shift ER work?"

(Words actually spoken) “Why?”

Curtis: “Because it means that you care. You’re not satisfied with mediocre work from yourself or from your students, and when it’s not happening, it bothers you. I like that it bothers you.”

And even though I was utterly exhausted, from both a long day at school and an evening of ranting about my frustrations to my husband, I let the conversation roll around in my mind.

He was right.

Earlier in the evening I had confessed to him that I had tried to do a halfhearted lesson toward the end of the school day. I was quite sure I was too mentally and emotionally exhausted to carry on with my full-blown lesson plans given the battles I had been fighting with students all morning. I was going to cave and do a by the book boring lesson.

Surely they would forgive me in the long run.

I had them get out their books; I had them read the instructions along with me. And I couldn’t do it. I asked them to pause while I dug out the original props for the lesson, and we proceeded according to the original plans—which called for creativity and fun and singing.

I did have the energy. I did care too much to do a second-rate lesson…as much as I tried to be apathetic.

There are times I wish I didn’t care. Sometimes I want to show up to work with no attachments to student learning and no personal accountability about the quality of my lessons. But the reality is, when I get to that point, I should probably find something else to do with my time. Apathy is oddly contagious, and doesn’t pair well with teenagers anyway.


  1. Wouldn't it be SO much easier to be a bad teacher? Ugh- there are days I just want to say "open your book to page whatever and read quietly to yourself, then answer the questions at the end of the story".

    That would be much more relaxing but we both know it's not worth the guilt!

  2. It's because of people like you (and the lovely miss Ali commenting right above me!) that our education system isn't completely destroyed! I think it's amazing that you take your job so seriously. THANK YOU!