September 20, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. That’s to be expected when I’m killing myself with trying to stay afloat in the sea of education.

Have I forgotten about you? No, of course not internet. How could I forget about you? I’ve just been really busy pretending to be a teacher for the past week. We have report cards and a very strange amount of meetings to worry about. I’ve also had to deal with “situations” involving rather racist language between students involved in my classroom (very long story that you will hear nothing about).

All in all, I guess I could say that I’m feeling pretty dead in the water.

Killing….floating in water…. Pretty morbid stuff there D.A….


“How is it going?” you ask me in your best Freudian manner. You then take a long draw on you handcrafted tobacco pipe.

Oh pretty bad I would say. I haven’t graded anything that I should have and my grades have to be turned in tomorrow. Also, my kids in Biology failed a pretty easy test. This makes me contemplate whether I’m a bad teacher or my kids just didn’t study. Now I understand that it’s probably because they didn’t study but it’s really hard to believe that after I talk to them. They do a really good job at making me feel like I’m the smelly turd in the corner of the room.

That was a gross analogy, but whatever, it’s true.

Since I’m here. And since you’re here. I’m going to vent for a little bit. Feel free to tune out during this whole episode of The life and times of D.A. “da boss” Bancroft and tune in another day. (Maybe next week we’ll talk about trains or something.)

I would like to say that my students have managed to work very hard at staying “disengaged” during class. Maybe it’s my poor classroom management skills (which is true). Maybe it’s my inability to understand how to reach out to whatever learning style they have (which may or may not be true). Hey, it could even be that these kids really hate me (unlikely, but since I’m not in a good mood I’ll just say this is totally true). No matter what the reasoning is they still manage to do a great job of letting me know I’m not doing a very good job.

Here are some really pleasant and motivating things I hear for an hour and a half each day.

“You’re not very good at this.” “I don’t like taking these notes.” “Why is this class so boring?” “How come you don’t do things like (Insert teacher’s name here) does? They do it way better.” “Why are we doing this?” “Can I go to the bathroom?” ”

Oh, and my personal favorite…

Every 3.5 minutes I get to hear a long and loud


I’ll admit it now. I dread 4th period every day. And I mean dread.

I’m not talking about the dread you feel when you have to take out the garbage at night and you already took off your shoes. Or even the dread of cleaning underneath your oven because you know you’ll find something awful.

I’m talking about the waiting in a hospital lounge to find out if somebody survived surgery or not. The dread of having to walk up to the bully and give up your lunch money….again…

I don’t know what to do with them…

Sometimes I wish I could just check out of caring about the whole thing. If I could do this job with no emotion I would probably not feel as drained as I do at the end of each day.

As for my other classes, I find myself enjoying and looking forward to seeing them each day. They manage to get interested in the material and ask useful questions. They’re even naturally well behaved (mostly). It’s also important for me to note that I have managed to get a much better grip on the material for those classes as compared to biology. (Remember, I’m supposed to be a biology teacher, not an earth/space teacher). While it’s good that I really enjoy how things are going in those classes (could be better, but I’m working on them), it’s also another demoralizing moment of realization.


Because my degree, (that lame piece of paper with my name on it) specifically says I am a successful student of biological sciences. I have  a statement of faith that says I learned how to teach biology, so well,  that a board of intelligent and successful educators allowed me to earn said degree. They believed I could do this one thing.

And, apparently, I can’t really do it at all.

I am so bad at doing it I end up going online on a blog that doesn’t even use my real name to complain about my teaching ability.

What if I wasn’t supposed to be the teacher I always imagined I wanted to be?

I still have that dream. I want to be a great teacher. But how can I pull that off in this situation? What do I need to change? Is it my personality?

Yet, I can teach earth/space science with relative ease?

What’s wrong with me?

I hope that I wake up in the morning and it just “clicks”. If the pieces come together in a way that I haven’t tried before, I would feel so blessed. I would feel so relieved. I would feel invigorated.

I would feel like I wouldn’t end up with ulcers by Christmas break.

Trying to chill before I go back to the trenches,


(P.S. Bah! Humbug!)



4 Responses to “:::Sigh:::”

  1. Dear Mr. Bancroft, you have everything you need to succeed at this job, the two most important being your knowledge of and interest in biology and a wonderful ability to tell stories. Tell them stories. Give it all a little more time. And here’s my most potent piece of elder-wisdom: Pretend you love 4th period. Tell yourself (often) that it’s the highlight of your day, that the students in 4th period are the most interesting in the school, and that you love every one of them individually and as a group. See what happens.

    My favorite line from this post: “…the dread you feel when you have to take out the garbage at night and you already took off your shoes.” Ain’t it the truth?

  2. I tried to comment earlier, & if you find a similar comment somewhere else (perhaps attached to a different post?) please forgive the mistake. I just wanted to say this: You are perfectly equipped to handle this job–you’ve got the knowledge & the interest in biology, first, and second you have the ability to tell wonderful stories. Approach 4th period as a chance to tell biology stories.

    And here’s a special bit of elder-wisdom: Pretend you love your 4th-period class. Tell yourself (a lot) that you look forward to 4th period each day, and you love the students individually and as a group and can’t wait to spend time with them. This can be transformative. Try it and see what happens.

    Finally, I love the line in this post about having to deal with the garbage when you’ve already taken off your shoes. Nothing is more aggravating.

  3. This post makes me want to cry, because I know the feeling. :(

    And it sucks.

    And it’s partly the kids’ faults.

    And it’s partly the government’s fault.

    And it’s partly culture, and the media, you, the school, the kids’ parents’ other teachers, China…
    You name them, and it’s probably “their” fault.

    Being a teacher is really hard; before I was one, I thought I knew how hard it would be, and I thought I could handle it.

    But there are days when I just wish I’d finish revising my book already, get it represented, and sell it… so I can back off on teaching a little.

    I promise you, though, there’s nothing as bad as that first year. You’ll improve with classroom management (everyone has to learn classroom management through expereince… it can’t be acquired in college). You’ll get used to kids being jerkwads who say mean things to each other and you… and you’ll become more confident in how you handle it when crap goes down. And you’ll have a memory file that’s slowly filling with warm-fuzzy moments when students let you know that you are making a difference to them.

    I promise it gets better.

    I’m only on year 4, but I promise it gets better.

    And don’t worry about whether you were made for this job or not. It’s the job you have, and you’re going to be amazing at it!

  4. Frank Bishop Says:


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