Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cause and Effect
By a Washington State Teacher

I’m deeply saddened by the demands that are placed upon teachers.

I had always been hopeful in my seven years that there was a grade level that would be a little easier (work load) so that I could catch a pace, or feel like I’m ahead of the ball, hopeful that it would get easier, manageable, livable…

Always one to get out of my “comfort zone” I have moved around from 6th to 3rd to kindergarten. I moved to K hopeful that I might become inspired again, hopeful I would reignite the spark that brought me into teaching, hoping it would be “fun.” Don’t get me wrong, there are some fun parts to teaching, and especially in kindergarten. I love the random hugs, funny stories, crafts, and I LOVE that MY kindergarteners are READING and WRITING! But the other part of me feels guilty for putting these kids in boxes (sit, read, write, sit, raise your hand, stand in line, don’t speak out, sit, read, write) when really the buzzword a few years ago was “critical thinking.” In my opinion, critical thinkers don’t fit in boxes, they learn from experiences, working with others, and being our fullest expression of ourselves.

I’m not the same person I was 7 years ago when I started teaching. The district isn’t the same and my school isn’t the same. CHANGE is inevitable and I know that my values no longer align with what the district is slinging. On my quest to find a “livable” grade level, I realized that for me there is no “livable” grade, I’m simply existing in the classroom, not actually living-not teaching the whole child, it’s impossible with 24 kids to really take the time and meet them all where they are. To honor each students, needs, strengths and encourage them to believe in themselves. I don’t want to exist, I want to live.

This profession has gotten harder every year. New curriculum, new kids, new needy parents, new administers, new federal mandates, new grade levels, new PD requirements, new “PIT”, new curriculum, new state mandates, new assessments, new evaluation, new pacing guide, new curriculum, new frameworks, etc. It truly has become overwhelming. You want us to teach math, science, health, reading (with small groups), writing (with small groups), interactive reading, ST math (with small groups), social studies EVERY DAY? On top of the daily planning we are expected to plan for up to 4 small groups, times two subjects? Really? When is this supposed to occur? This doesn’t count the amount of time I spend prepping materials, emailing parents or colleagues, dealing with classroom issues that will always occur when you have kids sharing a space.

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.” ~Donald D. Quinn

This has been me rambling and I hope it make sense and that you don’t disregard my comments because I’m leaving.

One last thought…be respectful of teachers’ time. When you put more on our plates take something off. When you mandate more meetings, or more anything, you’re taking time away from something else students, family time etc. Every cause has an effect.

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