Next year I will seek greater balance, hopefully with only two preps. Having three preps nearly made me end my new career as a teacher. With BTSA, three preps, Common Core, AP level courses, intervention, and nearly all of my algebra students below basic or far below basic, I felt overwhelmed with a daunting set of tasks.
For each of the past two years, I have taught entirely new curriculum for each of the five courses taught: in one we switched to a new textbook, in another we switched to the Common Core standards, and the third was a new course entirely. Doing so left me exhausted every day, working late every night, and most weekends.
I’ve worked longer hours as a teacher than in any prior job where I was expected to work long hours but at four times the pay. While I am passionate about helping students, and hence society, I cannot do so at the expense of myself or my family. In some ways, teaching can be a combination “black hole” and “tar baby,” where once stuck you are kept and pulled in deeper and deeper until you are no longer there. That helps no one and in the long run will force the best and brightest to leave teaching.
In terms of teaching methods, I will continue to focus on small group work, student centered learning, and other methods where students maximally have the chance to learn academic and life skills.