Burnt Out Teacher? Find Your Moment

When I was a first year teacher in an urbane charter school a fight had just broken up and I was feeling pretty disillusioned.

The realities that the average young person living in extreme poverty or adverse conditions in super rural and urban areas is rough.

Kids don’t care about your math homework when their best friend just overdosed and died last week.

Kids don’t care about your research project when they’re not sure what mood their dad is going to be in when they get home.

Kids definitely don’t care about how much time you missed with your family to plan your lessons when they just lost their best friend to gang violence.

While there’s no magic wand to make kids get interested in your class the next best thing might just be to be interested in them.

Do you know their name? With masks and with students half in the building it’s tough to tell kids apart by just half a face — but that’s why it’s even more important to take time to notice your students.

Kids were already cocooning off into their own tech bubble of social media, AirPods and a never ending stream of Netflix on their iPads at lunch even before masks. Now it’s almost as if today’s young person is a walking disconnected fortress of socioeomotional solitude.

Teachers’ best chance to break through this is through engagement, connecting and just flat out throwing enough spaghetti at the wall until something — anything!- sticks.

Back to that fight.

The dean who helped me break that fight up and fill out all the paper work in her office stood up and stared outside her office window at the football field where kids were wrapping up practice.

I asked her what she was doing. She was looking out at one of our toughest to reach kids playing catch, laughing and giggling with his little baby brother who comes to watch him.

“Oh I’m finding my moment for the day. The one moment I can look to and go maybe we did something right after all.”



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brendan Cahill

Brendan Cahill

Exploring emerging trends in teaching, education, tech, business and beyond.