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A View From the Trenches

I admit it: I am a habitual Web surfer. But trolling the Web leads to some fascinating places, including this blog by a 24-year-old teacher of middle school students with behavioral disorders in Newark, N.J.

The writer, who goes by the delightfully random name of "liquidwafflegirl," doesn't post half as much as I would like, because I'm always looking for commentary by teachers. But when I read her blog, I understand why she doesn't write often. She really seems to be struggling with demanding students (in one post she said she broke her thumb trying to stop a fight) and a difficult school bureaucracy. Her posts are personal, funny, and often sad. This excerpt from a September 2007 really grabbed me:

I can show up everyday to work and do my job and teach kids what they need to know from the core curriculum content standards, and try my best to keep their behavior under control. I know that this is something that I CAN DO. The thing is, ANYONE can just show up to work and do their job, I want to be able to go to work everyday and do something extraordinary. I want to do my job exceptionally well, and I want to be able to enjoy it.

Liquidwafflegirl hasn't posted since January. Has she received the support she needed? Did she leave the profession? How many thousands of young teachers may be out there like her, feeling the same way? As a writer, I'm used to knowing the end of the story. I wish I could say I knew how this one is going to turn out.

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