Losing Hope

losing-hopeThis year presents many challenges for educators. Budget cuts have left our district asking teachers to do more with less. Teachers are covering two and three duties each day. Some teachers barely have time to eat their lunch because their additional duty requires covering the lunchroom or lunch recess for their grade level.

Planning and prep at the elementary schools is nearly non-existent. Our PE and music teachers are now split between two schools, visiting our school two days each week. So yes, teachers do have two 35-minute planning periods each week. However, grade levels with three or more teachers do not have common planning time. Librarians were also eliminated with budget cuts, so the library stands empty with shelves of books being unused, gathering dust. I know we should be thankful that we have jobs, right?

When I walk through classrooms and around campus, it is obvious that the teachers are exhausted. They do the best they can with what they have, but they are fading. As an instructional coach, I make myself visible and do my best to support teachers, but is that enough? I try to express my appreciation, thanking teachers for what they do and leaving notes, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are tired.

This year my job has also been restructured. Instead of supporting teachers at one school, I now work at the district office and share the responsibility of supporting teachers at several schools, as well as, other curriculum responsibilities. Today I spent most of the day at the district office uploading data and making changes to class lists, adding and deleting kids, checking user names and passwords and preparing for district wide benchmark assessments. I find myself losing motivation, losing hope. I know this is important work that needs to be done. I am just feeling overwhelmed. I am struggling with how to stay true to my beliefs and also being open to examine things from a different perspective, the district perspective.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly

disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles Swindell


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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