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Educationally Relevant Question - EDIM 510

My educationally relevant questions stems from the low morale here in California following a Spring full of huge budget cuts and layoffs. Hopefully the Summer will heal and we can start a new year in happier places! :-)

My question to you is:
In these hard educational times, with budget cuts and layoffs around every corner, what inspires you to keep going to work each day?

Hi Tari
What a great question! I think for me, I get up and go to school everyday because I love what I do. I don't always love all the people I work with or all the bureaucratic nonsense that is inevitable in a public school but I love the kids and the craziness (most of the time). Over the past eight years of teaching, I have never had a boring, uneventful type of day. Each day brings its own challenges and rewards and I am very blessed to have shared in the lives of so many of my students. Plus, I've learned a whole lot!
Have a great day!


Hi Tara,
The four people I team with inspire me to keep going to school each day. I am the oldster at 51 and I work with two newbies who I mentored and a second male teacher who is 37. They bring all sorts of great ideas to the table and new ideas always inspire me. We all support and guide each other, we communicate so well and collaborate on everything. That's not to say we don't have issues at all, but the way we are able to deal with whatever comes up, for the good of the kids, lets me look forward to going to school every day.

Hi Tara-
I wish I had a magic wand to fix the problems you have in California. It must be quite challenging. I don't suffer from your issues but I think we can all relate to wanting more and getting less. I find myself gaining strength from seeing new ideas and the challenge of finding ways to use them, expecially in technology. Randy Pausch (of the Last Lecture) said it best "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people." This might be a bit optomistic at times but teachers are always great at doing the best things with little resources. We have to keep pusing forward!

Hey Tara,
I am not going to work in the fall, at this time, because of budget cuts. But the hardest thing was finishing the year stong after recieving my pink slip. To answer your question, the kids kept me going. They counted on me to be there and they deserved the best education no matter what was going on in my personal life. Let's be real, none of us took this job for the money….we do it for the kids!

Hi Tara,
To be honest, it's the students and my fellow staff members (including most of the administration) that keeps me going every day. Even with the "difficult" students, I know that every day will be a challenge and I enjoy the challenge. I also remind myself that every day is a new day and I can start over. My 9th graders will now be across the street in our 10-12 building so I won't see them unless they stop over and visit me. I have a new class coming in (and I hear that they are extremely lazy) so it's always interesting knowing that you build and foster relationships witha class and both students and teachers move on after the year is over.

I have a fabulous staff that I work with. Being a special education teacher, I get the opportunity to work with most every other teacher in the building in some form. Our "house" principals travel with their classes so we adjust each year to a new principal but in the 2 years that I have been with the district, the house principals were fantastic.

In the 5 years that I have been teaching, I have worked for 3 different school districts and a poor administration at the vocational school. I love where I am at right now. I'm also extremely grateful and lucky to have a job, despite budget restraints. I understand the new restraints and but honestly don't think much of them. Thankfully our district is trying to find ways to cut back in manners that do not impact the students' educations directly. We've managed to cut back on our building's electric bill by thousands of dollars in just waiting to turn the lights on and turning them down right at the end of the day!

Wow that sounds really optimistic now that I reread it but honestly, that's generally how I feel throughout the year. I definitely have my rough patches and I definitely do not enjoy seeing the red light on my classroom phone to let me know I have a voicemail, especially when the red light becomes a screaming parent! But like I said, I love the staff that I work with and enjoy being with the students. I feel that through the various grad courses (such as these), it's exciting to go into work to try new strategies!


Howdy Tari!
My inspirations mainly come from the kids - and a few of the teachers who are totally awesome motivators. Even at the elementary level I have kids come back to tell me what they remember from my classes. Our district is faced with economic issues right now. Ethan Allen is a huge furniture factory that originated in our dinky little community. A few months ago they decided to move their plant south. That totally killed our area. As it was we had a little under 400 kids in the elementary (we only have one elementary and one high school). When we lost Ethan Allen we lost a huge part of our tax base, not to mention being faced with another decline in enrollment. Our district has been awesome in trying to not make staff cuts, but I know it has to be tough for them to make those decisions. Maybe that is an underlying cause for me taking these Instructiuonal Media courses. I feel I need to make sure the district can not afford to get rid of me full time. Sometimes it gets really frustrating, too, when "control" becomes an issue. We don't have access to an outside line from our rooms (though the high school does, go figure!), and trying to do research with the kids is REALLY frustrating because everyting is blocked. When those things get to me, that is when I start changing my lessons to make sure I am having as much fun as the kids. The day I stop doing that is the day I will probably turn in my resignation. Good luck! - D

Hello Tari!

Not related to your question, but I hope you're having a great time getting ready for or already are in Greece. :)

My inspiration for going to work every day has been my colleagues. I work with some of the friendliest, brightest, most helpful people I've ever met. Being a first year teacher in my building, I was assigned a mentor. He gives the best advice and will help me out with anything - he even seeks me out to let me know about his problems or if he found a cool science site, or whatever it may be. The two women hired with me to teach science this year are also really awesome. We share and collaborate on just about everything, helping each other out of pinches throughout the school year. I've also met a nice group of teachers outside of the science department that are always there for me, good days or bad. I know that students are supposed to be the inspiration for our work, and they definitely can be, but I really need that backbone of fellow educators to keep me going some days. So I suppose surrounding myself with these terrific people inspires me and keeps me going back to work!


Hi Tari
What keeps me going are my colleagues and my students. My colleagues are very open minded and supportive. When someone is having a bad day we are there to support each other (which means alot!) Also knowing that each day that I am there I am helping my students makes teaching all the worth while!

To be honest, Tari, my motivation to keep working has changed over the years as I've fallen in and out of love with the job. My current job is in a school for at risk kids and a few weeks ago we were talking about their struggles with homework. It occurred to me that I've been doing homework for over 50 years!

Right now, I'm deciding whether to retire or stay one more year (which would be my 36th). My passion for trying out new tech tools with students and colleagues is making it hard for me to walk away. I have all sorts of new ideas and what's become a habit of a lifetime — musing in June about the new things I'll try next September — is hard to turn off. I just have to keep asking myself where I really want to me this time next year: with the kids or on a bit of beach somewhere up the coast up to my knees in the Pacific watching the world drift my.


What we do is so important, we cannot take this moment in history and say, "The economy has tanked, and we are making do with less technology, so I will cut back my teaching quality."
The most important element of student success is the teacher-student relationship. That should never be affected by $.
That said, I am quite aware that even in this class group we some who have received layoff notices. I hope that you can weather the storm until things bounce back.


I'm loving all the posts that people have written in response to your question. Aside from the fact that I LOVE teaching my two side jobs, which are worlds apart from teaching (I do teacher contract negotiations year round in the evenings, and my full time summer job is warehouse work/customer service) help me to put into perspective why I teach. I "connect" when I teach. I connect with the students. I connect with the content. I connect with my colleagues. I connect with the parents…..It doesn't feel like a job. It feels like an extension of me.
Donna B.

Hi Tari,

Even though I have plenty of time left to go before I retire (25 years or so, hopefully!), what keeps me going to work every day is a combination of experiences related to the job. First, of course, I need to make a living. I like to travel, socialize, enjoy life, and live in a nice place - all of which cost money. A few years ago, between us, my wife and I had a stack of student debt, and neither of us wants to return to that situation. Secondly, a job these days is about as much as we can hope for. Lots of good, solid, qualified and experienced professionals are unemployed at the moment, and the number is increasing. Luckily, my job happens to be a lot of fun: my colleagues are mostly great people and there is always good humor at work. And the students themselves are an unusually good bunch - we're very lucky with our diverse and fascinating student demographic. But, if the salary wasn't there, I'd stay home. Just being honest….. Finally, my job supports my hobby, which is traveling. I live abroad and get more than two months of the year to travel around. Combined, all these factors make teaching the ideal job for me (until, of course, I become a best-selling novelist!!)
Perhaps if I was over in California I'd be more pessimistic. But life is very short……… Michael

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