I don't usually post more than once a day (okay-or week-or two), but a comment from Denny prompted me.
I am fully aware that some teachers in some schools work in less than ideal conditions, do not receive administrative support, and deal with difficult student/parent situations. But that just isn't my situation. In The Iliad, Homer shows what happens when the king (Agamemnon) isn't being kingly. His arrogant, selfish behavior, his "it's all about me" attitude, causes Achilles to stop fighting and go sit down beside his ships. When leaders today (in any profession) don't exhibit true leadership, those who follow them become discouraged, jaded, and, eventually face burn out. They mentally "go sit down beside their ships."
The principal of my school is a leader, and he behaves as one. We work hard, and I am exhausted at the end of each day, but so are the students. Teachers are held to high standards, and so are the students. That attitude filters down from the principal's office to the classrooms. From the classrooms, we communicate with the parents, and once the parents are on board, the sky is the limit.
It also helps that I am passionate (some would say obsessed) when it comes to what I do. I take it as a personal failure if a kid does not reach his or her full academic potential. Invariably, the occasional student, for what ever reason, just will not put forth the effort, and I am always deeply bothered by that. But I never give up on any kid. Outside of the accomplishments of my own kids, nothing in the world thrills me more than when a kid works very hard and has success in my classroom.
Last week, after our first test over The Odyssey (and it was a tough one), several kids made comments about how smart it makes them feel to be able to read and understand this stuff. They ARE smart-they just need the opportunity to realize their potential. My colleagues in my school have the same passion. It's common to see one of us walking in the hall holding a student paper and stopping people to read aloud to them a brilliant written thought.That passion infects our students, and they respond.
So, I appreciate the thought, but I would not trade professions with any person in the entire world.