You go into teaching thinking you are going to save the world, make a difference one student at a time. And... that is true. Your reach, your touch, your impact, is more powerful than you often realize.
A carpenter, at the end of the day, has something to show for his efforts - a building standing tall, casting a shadow in the evening sun.
A doctor, at the end of the day, has something to show for her efforts - a patient healed, resting comfortably in their bed.
A policeman, at the end of the day, has something to show for his efforts - the bad guy, locked behind bars, society safer for his heroics.
A teacher, at the end of the day, has little tangible to show for her efforts - a dirty whiteboard, desks scattered in crooked rows, papers to be corrected piled on her own desk. But the long term impact is not often seen, sometimes, never seen.
For me, this lack of tangible result makes difficult stretches in my teaching career longer, bleaker, and more defeating.
I don't need a pat on the back, or a blue ribbon; I just need the acknowledgement that I HAVE made a difference, that my efforts are worthy, that my hours of trying, in the end, made a difference somewhere, somehow.
Instead, it seems the media bashes me: Tells me I am unworthy. Tells me my worth is measured by a test score. Tells me my years of service are nothing. Tells me to do more with less. Tells me EVERY student should succeed (like I don't believe that myself already.... but to them, success is measured not by growth, but by bubbles, consistent bubbles for every child regardless of their God given talents).
I don't know... anymore, I question my own worth in the classroom. I wonder if I AM truly making a difference. Or am I just a warm body filling in scores, counting tardies, and tracking office referrals. Does the feel goody part of my job exist anymore?