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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Teacher Stress

This year as been one of the most trying I have experienced in my 17 years of public school teaching. It seems like everyone is getting stressed to the max. Much of this comes from the fact that we are facing a sort of educational time clock on our efforts that comes from the fact that we face the real possibility of having our school closed due to low test scores.

We teach in one of the poorest attendance areas in Oklahoma City. Many of us face daunting tasks of dealing with kids with zero family support, kids who live in high crime areas, kids who face long odds of living successful lives. Each day is a fight to maintain order in our classrooms. Many students show little desire to master the material we try to teach. Yet we will be judged as being ineffective teachers if our students do not perform well on the state tests.

In other words, we could lose of jobs not for what we have done, but for something someone else has done who has little incentive to help us keep our jobs.

No wonder we are stressed.

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