“There’s only so much we can do.”

“There’s only so much you can do.” – The single most difficult phrase to be told and to accept as teachers, at least for me.

I’ve been teaching for 12 years now and I am always worried. I know, this is our natural state of being as teachers, I know I am not alone, yet this is probably the hardest part of being a teacher. BEING ALWAYS WORRIED. I am always worried about how parents will react. Always worried about making sure they get the right message. Always worried about not being misunderstood. Always worried about getting them on board.

“He/She’s lucky he/she has a teacher who cares so much” I often get from colleagues or admin. And usually, this is followed by a phrase that sometimes confuses me greatly. “But there’s only so much you can do.” These two phrases together are a constant struggle for me. It goes against one of the many reasons I decided to become a teacher, making and impact in my student’s life. And don’t get me wrong, I know and I hope that in one way or another, even if it’s in the smallest of ways, I know I have made an impact in many of them. Yet, there are so many others that I wish I could do more, and such impossible task it is without their parent’s help.

Today, a parent cancelled a parent teacher conference for the third time. A long due meeting to talk about strategies we are using in class, areas of opportunity we are working on with his child, suggestions for things that can work at home etc. I’ve tried everything in my power to help my student, yet I know I am hitting a dead end without parents on board. So, I’m being reminded I am a great teacher for caring and that I can only do so much.

Is the system wrong? Is the school wrong? Am I wrong? Are parents wrong? Most of the time I refuse to believe or accept this is how it has to be, yet so many other days I realize this is how it sometimes goes. We do our best during the hours we have, and the rest is to hoping that a bit of all that love, care, and guidance will hopefully someday have its impact on them.

3 thoughts on ““There’s only so much we can do.”

  1. Yes, you do what you can the best you can. There are many things you have no control over. And you don’t always see how much impact you really have. One way to help with the constant worry is to make sure you fill your cup to build resilience.

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