Coming to terms with this is a key problem of teaching: There is never enough of anything.

There is never enough time in the world. There is never a sufficient number of resources. You can never have enough of yourself.

You may imagine what your ideal classroom would look like if you were a teacher. You're aware of the effort you should be doing to plan lessons, provide rich assignments, cover a wide range of content, offer deep and broad evaluations, and use them to provide useful feedback. Plus, of course, being able to drop everything at any time when a teachable moment presents itself.

You can see everything, but you can also calculate it. 150 papers describing colonial economic changes, each taking fifteen minutes to read and respond to, equals 37 hours. Six classes each day, five days a week, at a superhumanly fast five minutes per lesson equals two and a half hours (at the very least). Quizzes to determine where students stand so that a refresher lesson may be designed to bring them up to speed (five minutes each to grade). You already know that the easiest to administer and mark exams (multiple choice, true/false) yield the least relevant data; the greatest assessments are nearly always essays, but they take hours to grade. You're aware of the power of one-on-one communication.

In teacher school, they never tell you that. It's rarely mentioned, and it's never, ever depicted in teaching-related films or television series. Teachers avoid bringing it up in front of non-teachers for fear of appearing weak, whiny, or inept.

Coming to terms with this is a key problem of teaching:

There is never enough of anything.

There is never enough time in the world. There is never a sufficient number of resources. You can never have enough of yourself.

You may imagine what your ideal classroom would look like if you were a teacher. You're aware of all the effort you should be doing to plan lessons, provide rich assignments, cover a wide range of content, offer deep and broad evaluations, and use them to provide useful feedback.

It dawns on you after the first year or two that you will not be able to create the classroom of your dreams. You'll have to make some concessions. You'll have to make the decision not to do things you know you should.

You get faster as your career progresses. You learn tactics, you figure out which corners you can safely cut, you improve your evaluating skills, and you amass a tiny mountain of supplies that you can deploy quickly. You gradually increase the amount of material in your instructor bucket.

Teachers spend their careers straining against the constraints of time, space, resources, and their own personal boundaries. The finest instructors can give you a list of things they know right now.

Some instructors never seem to be able to accept the required sacrifices, and as a result, they burn out. But if you're willing to make the sacrifices, professional pleasure might come from knowing that you're moving closer to that perfect classroom every year.

Teaching (and, to be honest, a few other service professions) is a ten-gallon bucket in which instructors are supposed to carry fifteen gallons of material, and as a result, they make decisions (if they refuse to choose, things just spill anyway). And society is always attempting to add to the bucket. Do you require a new public health program? Let the schools handle it. People in this country don't seem to grasp a problem? Make it a law that schools must explain it.

The situation has worsened as a result of the epidemic.

Teachers, you must now be capable of teaching both in-person and online classes. Make packages for pupils who are unable to complete both. Consult with parents and coworkers about mask and/or anti-mask rules. Take care of the social and psychological pressures that pupils are under. Maintain social distance with 30 children in your classroom, even if your district advises you that many pandemic safety precautions will not be implemented in your district. Also, there are a few individuals outside who want to shout at you about the main topic of the week. And here's a fresh list of things you can't teach or are required to teach.

More and more should be poured into the bucket.

School systems are well aware that teachers are overworked and underpaid, and that many are not doing well. Teachers, like parents and school administrators, benefit from morale boosters such as gratitude t-shirts, chirpy e-mails, and exhortations to exercise self-care, which is a nicer way of saying, you'd better take care of yourself since nobody else will.

Teaching is always constrained by the constraints of the job, but these constraints are stronger than ever before. The container is already overflowing. And instructors are getting dissatisfied with the number of concessions they must make, as well as the quantity of things they must know.

What can local governments do to assist?

School administrators have consistently increased the number of teaching requirements and responsibilities without reducing them. Now is the time to pack up your belongings. The epidemic was meant to spark a look at how conventional teaching could be modified, but there's still time for districts to ask themselves, what do we waste time and stress on that we should just let go of?

Teachers should be relieved of non-teaching activities and obligations. Serve as a buffer between instructors and the numerous heated debates that are occurring these days. They should be treated with respect. Treat them as a solution rather than a problem. Allow teachers to instruct.