Teachers – What Are You Planning

This is the time of year when many teachers are wondering how many days are left before school is out for the summer break. Admittedly, I am a bit of a geek and at the start of the school year I started a countdown timer set for one week beyond the published end of school date for my district.

I live in Maine and fully expect to have between three and five storm days beyond the three built into the schedule, over the course of a school year. So how many days are left before June 17th?

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Today’s date – March 19, 2011

With only around 80 days left before schools are out for the summer for most teachers, it also means that many teachers are starting to think about their future. I know I am.

The current budgetary crises has many teachers worried about whether between now and the end of the school year, whether they will be given a pink slip or be told that they will not have their contract renewed and be searching for a new job in or out of teaching over the summer. Others will or are rethinking their decision to be a part of a profession that has become so maligned and continuously bludgeoned by politicians, media pundits and others. Some have realized that they are not cut-out to be teachers and are leaving the profession and others will be told they need to leave teaching by their administrators (more than many believe).

Unfortunately, so many more teachers are going to leave because they are tired or disagree with the direction that education seems to be going in America (standardized testing, poorly designed and implemented accountability schemes, common core standards, etc. to name but a few issues). They are burnt out or just beat down by a system that continually asks more and more of its teachers and gives much less back to them than it has in the past. They are the teachers who will retire, leave teaching for other opportunities, jobs or get a different job in education, but not in the classroom where they are really needed.

I love teaching and where I am currently at is just like every other place I have worked, it has its good and bad points. I am not some wild-eyed dreamer or downtrodden pessimist who believes that things are either all terrible or fantastically great and that the grass is always greener on the other side. I would like to believe that I am a proficient special education teacher who has a good handle on my position’s responsibilities and am considered an asset (not an ass) where I am employed. Time will tell.

Personally, I am still a probationary teacher which means there is no guarantee that I will be asked to return next year to teach in my current position, the school has the option to renew my contract or not. If they do choose to ask me to return, then I will have to decide what my answer will be?  I don’t really know the answer to that question yet.

Luckily I have almost three months before school ends for the year and another month or so after that, to think carefully about my future as a teacher and review factors that I believe are important to my family and me before I have to make that decision. My wife and I are honestly discussing the pros and cons about whether I should return or not, or possibly even more important what we will do if I have that choice made for us.

The reality is if you don’t think, attempt to plan ahead and talk with your family, life has a tendency to bite you square in the butt. So while I would like to believe that I will be asked to return next year, I do have to figure out what I will do if I am not or if I choose not to return. Like they say – “life is all about choices.”

Many of you are in the same situation as me, have you started to think about what you plan to do?