I've noticed that much of the time, dysfunctional situations/people make for better stories. It's way more interesting and makes a better story for me to tell someone about my old upstairs neighbor whose son kept screaming at her that he was going to kill someone with a serrated knife "It's serrated!!" and how he threw his dead pet snake onto my balcony than it is to talk about my other neighbor who says hi to me each morning.
Along those lines, it's often far more interesting - and needs to be brought up - to point out what schools and teachers do wrong. And I think it is necessary, because these things need to be corrected. But I was reminded recently when chatting online with a former coworker of the people who really did - and do - put all of themselves into it.
This woman I was chatting with was talking about how she's going to meet a former student who is now pregnant to give her some photos and what a wonderful beautiful person this former student is. This person (the teacher) is the first teacher I talked to at the school. She happened to have a prep period when I was interviewing and I asked her what it was like. She was honest with me, which maybe should have scared me away, but she helped me out a lot that first year. Some of the other first grade teachers did too, which was good because I didn't know WHAT I was doing and the administration was not about to help. Many of these people worked with kids during lunch and before and after school, donating their time. They all dealt with kids who had emotional problems that no one was qualified to deal with, teaching and disciplining them with fairness and patience, at least as much as was humanly possible.
I've heard a lot of these people from the early days talk about how they hope the kids are OK. None of them stayed for longer than my first few years but I can't blame them because we all had to leave. Whether it was for mental health, physical health, or family sanity, no one could last very long there and still do well. Some of them are in different school districts, others are teaching adults or preschoolers or not teaching at all. But I know they all remember the kids and, while we had a lot of kids we'd like to forget, we have a lot of kids we think about too and we hope and pray are all right.
I just wanted to say that just because I might be the only one of this group writing about it on a regular basis, there were some good people I worked with and I certainly would not be writing about the experiences now if they hadn't helped me survive my first few years, and helped me actually learn to teach.
Four years ago: It's Over.
Five years ago: Numbers