Recent postings by special education teacher Ms. Riz offer a unique and articulate glimpse into the emotional life of a dedicated educator. Last week, after one of her colleagues had been hit with a chair by a student, she reflected on the hidden toll of her profession:
The reality of the dangers involved with working with emotionally unstable students hovers over us, ignored, unrecognized, dismissed ... until something like this happens. Then we are pulled into a swirling frenzy of emotion: worry, resentment, then angry resignation.
What toll does this silent, pulsating sense of dread have on us? How does it affect our professional lives? What impact does this heightened stress have on our personal relationships? No doubt, our bodies feel the burden.
Then, in a follow-up posted five days later, she stiffens her resolve:
We need to be tough. We can't complain too loudly when we are exhausted from the physical and emotional abuse we take each day. We know getting hurt is quite likely, which is why feeling worried or overly cautious feels like a betrayal to our chosen profession. (See previous post.) It's part of the job. Don't like it? You don't belong here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.