Tonight's blog and chat was written by the wonderful Lauren Taylor
In loving memory of Bowie, I decided to jam out to one of the greatest songs ever known to man. As Queen and Bowie serenaded me during my commute home on Monday, I was thinking about how much the song “Under Pressure” encompasses the feelings that I have as a teacher. If my life had a theme song, this would be it. Imagine the Bowie/Queen (NOT VANILLA ICE) bassline beginning as soon as my alarm clock goes off each morning.
So imagine my theme song wakes me up Monday morning. I got to school. I was tired (correction: I am ALWAYS tired), I had gotten ANOTHER email about the testing schedule with some weird acronym in the subject line.This was after I had sat through an hour long meeting listening to yet another Common Core debate, and ESSA something something something. Wait, what’s that again? Something new? Oh. And don’t forget that meaningless PD day coming up.
I constantly feel pressure. Pressure from the bureaucrats. Pressure from testing, data, covering as much content as possible, but don’t forget to do all the things while putting the kids first! This is what many of us teachers are faced with daily. We sit in meetings crunching numbers, analyzing what kids “need” from this data (what happened to just ASKING them what they need?), and we leave thinking “how can I possibly do any more than what I am doing now!?” But I HAVE to do it because of outcome based education?
Flashback to my terrible Monday...
As I was singing at the top of my lungs choking back the tears from my ugly stress cry, I realized that the song is a metaphor for education. Yes, Queen and Bowie were singing about education (well, in my mind they were).
I remembered reading an article about the video for Under Pressure in Slant magazine a really long time ago, where the video was described as “Exploring the pressure-cooker mentality of a culture willing to wage war against political machines, and at the same time love and have fun.” I had to look up the article to remember that quote exactly, but I was thinking about that while listening to the song and I think it describes teachers perfectly. And it’s in our darkest, most stressful moments that we usually remember why we’re fighting and why we haven’t given up.
Yep. I started teaching because I love my students. And it’s fun. They’re fun. And I know all of you amazing people feel the same way despite feeling like you’re losing your damn minds sometimes.
So I don’t want this chat to turn into a rant, because that would be easy to do (sort of like what this blog post became), but I want it to be a way for us to talk about what we’ve done to prevent ourselves from cracking under pressure. How have we dared to “change our ways of caring about ourselves” and put our students first? Let’s think back to a time before all of the acronyms and standards and numbers and grit (like sandpaper? I don’t even know) and rigor (whatever) made us feel like we were in a pressure-cooker. Let’s talk about having fun. And things we love.