What can I get you with that shame sandwich?

At school:

Carolyn, you are just different. other teachers just aren’t willing to put in the time.

We can’t expect everyone to change!

Well we need to hold students responsible for their learning.

It’s too overwhelming to mention ‘all that’ to teachers, we need to go really slow with this.

Can we buy a new test bank? I don’t have time to make up tests all the time.

The Scantron is broken, we are going to order a new one for $5,00 cause the school can’t function without one.

Don’t share too much, it makes others feel bad.

Don’t go for what you want, wait your turn.

On Twitter:

Teachers who use packets are lazy and unimaginative.

You’re still using grades?

You alone can change the system!

Go for it!

Celebrate you work and share.

Teachers don’t question how education is done.

That’s just pseudo-teaching.

Lazy teacher’s are the real problem.

On parent night:

What is my sons mark?

Is there any bonus work they can do to bring they mark up?

On no, my daughter has to get an A to get into to nursing!

I really like when my son comes home with notes so I can help him study.

At home in the yard:

Are you on holidays again? You teachers got it so good!

How come you are home early?

In my mind:

You aren’t doing enough.

If everyone really knew what went in your classroom they’d think less of you.

Why can’t I change?

Why am I afraid?

Next time I’ll get it right.

Why so I slip back in to old habits?

Why can’t I keep up?

In reality:

Is there one?


Eat the shame sandwich and like it. You decided to become a teacher didn’t you?

Now what can I get you?

13 thoughts on “What can I get you with that shame sandwich?

  1. Stellar post Carolyn.

    Very creative writing and insight.

    Just in case you didn’t know, I will be at the brand new Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry next year.

    For inspiration, check it out:

    You are on the right path. Do not doubt it. Do not shrink. You are a mountain not a mole hill. When the others finally realize that it is high time they changed, you will be so far ahead that they will have to create a separate job title for you and pay you far in excess of your current salary.

    How does that one quote go again…First they think you are mad until you are right, then you are a genius.

    Keep rocking it!

    • Hey Jake, I have been watching been watching the Pacific School with lots of interest. Wow, a big congrats to you!! I will be very curious and deeply interested to see how it goes. It will definitely generate some momentum for the rest of us around the province.
      AS always I appreciate your support and point of view. I am not doubting my way but rather reflecting on how we teachers are at the crossroads for so many widely variable expectations from all the interest groups; it is a tightrope walk and a squeeze play. I wish some of the expectations were directed at other points in the system and distributed a bit more, as so many teachers are sensitive souls.

      I know things are changing, I see it happening, regardless of we in schools do or don’t do.
      Look forward to hearing about this next chapter for you Jake!
      best to you my friend,

  2. Carolyn, this is so great. I struggle with a lot of the same feelings, and it is really hard to be different when the state of the institution is so traditional.

    • Hey Christina! Many conflicting messages lately, it is hard to keep them all straight! Feels like I am trapped on the corner of status quo and very big change! We’ll get there yet.
      Appreciate the feedback,

  3. Love this post. It’s scarily true. It actually connects to something I’ve been thinking of a lot recently, and that is the way teaching is depicted as vocational martyrdom: “most teachers are bad, the good ones basically have to sacrifice everything, etc.”

    I think this is an unhealthy discourse about teaching not so much for our fragile egos, but more because it keeps good people away from the profession, or encourages good people to leave it.

    Thanks again for adding some poignancy and humour to my day.

    • Hey Royan! I ‘owe you’ for your Blogging inspiration post! I was having a little break from Blogging, it had started to get a wee stale, I think I was trying to hard. Reading your post it clicked; gotta let it flow from me, such a brave act. This post was written after a BIG Mother’s day dinner from the top of head. No second guessing, committing to the thoughts as they come. What a relief, writing again. phew. Thanks!

      Lately so many conflicting messages flying by, a lot of either or thinking. As you mention, the saint teacher who sacrifices OR the lazy do nothing teacher with no in between. If a person has thin skin it is easy to feel the guilt, shame for not living up to the mythically perfect teacher. Some days it is easy to shrug off others not so much…but writing about it always helps!

  4. A really good post. The “On parent night” resonated strongly with me. Also, some of the “In my mind” – it’s like you’re reading MY mind. But importantly, this post makes me realize that I’m getting used to the taste of the “shame sandwich” – it’s not so bad after a while. And the ‘reward soup’ easily gets the taste of shame out of your mouth. So right about now I’m thinking of hammering, and that sweet sound when the hammer hits the nail (perfectly) on the head. Which is what you did with that post. So timely. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey James! Great to hear this resonated with you 🙂 It is that time of year I guess, when we get a bit worn down. I am used to the taste too and it is not as strong as it used to be. Some days reward soup just cooks itself, sometimes it take weeks of bubbling and brewing to get the right batch. The flavours of teaching are diverse and varied and I never tire of the flavours! International cuisine 🙂

  5. Carolyn, this is such a fantastic post. It really encapsulates the push and pull we feel in education. We are on the verge of massive changes in structure and curriculum, yet society has been educated ‘old school’ so does not understand the current movement. It is people like you, who put yourself out there that continue to lead the change. Change is hard, it takes people out of their comfort zone and when that happens there is often push back. Keep up the great work.

    • Hey Darcy, It is such a time of contrasts between old and new. Sometimes it is tricky to figure out which way again? as we get so many, often times conflicting messages on any given day. But mixed into the confusion is also great excitement of all that lies ahead and of the incredible potential of this time.
      As always I appreciate the encouragement!

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