These questions are magnified by not really knowing what our children are doing during the day. What ARE they learning? What concepts are being covered? When the typical response to "what did you learn today" is either "I don't know" or "stuff", how can you even be effective?
Let me start by saying that every job has its ups and downs. Every profession has positive elements and those that are less desirable. And, at one point or another, we have all complained about our jobs. Teachers, however, have somehow earned the medal of "top complainers". The general consensus is that teachers have nothing to complain about. Summers off, short hours, good pay, and benefits, a bull of a union…. what do we have to be upset about? If that is the case, why are teachers taking more than fifty percent more sick days than a decade ago? Why have mental health leaves skyrocketed? And why is teacher burnout a such common conversation nowadays?
Prior to teaching, I worked for a non-profit foundation that ran programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. When I started, I knew very little about the community. Children with autism, developmental delays, and cognitive deficits were only something I read about when completing my psychology degree. I embraced the opportunity, as new as it was. [...]