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Public School Widow

Sometimes it really sucks being married to a public school teacher. Sometimes? Well, pretty much all the time. But sometimes it sucks more than others.

We knew this would be a tough year for Xy going into it. Not only is she at a new school, it’s in a temporary location, with a move expected mid-year. That’s double tough any way you slice it. Triple tough, even.

After one month that’s been borne out. She is crammed in a small room overstuffed with supplies (better than no supplies I suppose) and a malfunctioning air conditioner. The AC won’t be fixed because the school is only there temporarily. But it’s hard to concentrate when it’s over 90ºF in your classroom.

Further adding to the general suckiness, they have an extended day. Xy leaves our house at 7 AM and doesn’t get back until 5 PM. The commute is not lengthy, it’s just a long school day. It would be cool if they arranged the class schedule such that some teachers could start and leave early, and some could start and leave late, but that’s not in the cards.

After a ten hour day in a sweltering room working with kids who in some cases may perform up to four grades below level, she comes home with a load of homework every night, and every weekend. She’s constantly exhausted and has very little time for anything fun.

Xy chose this career and has chosen to stick with it for a dozen years. I’ve pleaded with her to find some other line of work that isn’t so stressful and thankless. But still she keeps on. Don’t ask me why. Sometimes it seems like she’s locked in an abusive relationship. She knows she should get out, but she can’t visualize any other life for herself.

I’m not asking for sympathy for Xy, though she surely deserves it. I’m looking for some sympathy for myself. It sucks being a public school widow. And how about our daughter?

On the plus side, Xy did shoot a fun video of her students performing a Michael Jackson tribute, tied in to the life skills curriculum which she always uses to start the year. I don’t think I can post that, but I can post this video from three years ago which is very similar.

I like to end on a positive note whenever possible.

Published inLife with XyNew OrleansThe Ed Biz


  1. Widower! Yes, dammit that’s what I meant. I may have to edit that title.

    Hey, Garvey, you left a comment that didn’t take a potshot at some political divergence. I’m impressed.

  2. wanna borrow a window unit. I have an small one that has not been in use for a year or so that should work fine. In metairie and willing to loan it to a teacher in need. email me if you want to use it.

  3. Jessica Jessica

    What about homeschooling? She would be home with her own “work” schedule and she would be able to employ her boundless energy and love of teaching to benefit your daughter.

  4. Garvey Garvey

    I don’t know if “potshot” is the right concept. I find your place here to be full of interesting dialogue, even if it’s diametrically opposed to what I believe.

  5. amy amy

    Bart, you and Xy should know that the exended school day policy comes without any stakeholder input curtesy of the KIPP-ization of our school system, and the school leaders know darn well that the charter schools not doing extended school day are doing better. The extended school day is causing problems for families across the city. Veteran teachers are particularly affected as they are more likely to have families and the long hours affect more than just how late they can stay at Les Bon Temps for ReBirth.

    This and obession with testing are hurting, not helping, our people in the long run.

  6. My wife is a teacher, and it sure does suck. Leaves at 7 AM and returns at 6 PM and then sits in front of the computer until 11PM. Goes straight to bed. I’m very proud of the work she does though. She got a very positive note about how she increased test scores. Hurray!

  7. That previous comment seems harsh. I am a huge fan of all teachers and wish more people would choose that profession. So instead of saying that being married to a teacher sucks, I should say it’s an honor but challenging. I wish this country valued education more.

  8. Stacey Stacey

    Once I sat in a sad district-wide convocation when they hired a country singer to sing a song called “Thank a Teacher”. It was so gross and fake. Sometimes I get little thanks from kids. I got a note that confirmed that I indeed “Rock” the other day.
    What program did you use to put that video together? I want to do something like that with my class, we’re making commercials for social studies and I don’t want to to be just one streaming shot…
    You’ll get your wife back. Give it a few more weeks though. That’s what I tell my husband too. I switched from SpEd to 4th this year.

  9. Stacey, the video was edited with Final Cut, but I think you could do the same with free programs like iMovie (Mac) or MovieMaker (Windows). The secret of this production was I shot the performance twice, once to get the action, the second time to get the audio, with close placement of the camera mic to the subjects. Then I cut the two together. Remember, if your audio is bad your video will be useless.

  10. […] too many things to screw up, and more work than I have time to accomplish, what with being a public school widower and a […]

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