Tag Archives: Education

Let Teachers DO!

SchoolNotice that there are no “Administration” or “Board of Education (BOE)” gears in this education machine. If only that were so.

YES, administrative and BOE jobs are important and necessary for the efficient running of a school system, but their job descriptions should NOT include breathing down teachers’ necks and keeping us so busy that we can’t effectively perform the job we are well-trained to do.  Their job is to take care of outside-the-classroom business, making it POSSIBLE for us to teach!

WE KNOW!
Teachers go to college to learn content, child development, pedagogy, and best practices. We continue to seek and initiate our own training after college because we want to stay on top of research and are always interested in learning new ideas in best practices – no need to mandate planning-period training sessions that may or may not be relevant. We often already know most of the material covered in these meetings anyway. We also know what we don’t know, and we know how to find out on our own. If we need your help in this, we’ll ask for it.

We know how to plan and create engaging activities and why it is so vital to engage students in their own education. What we need is time to do this, not meetings to remind us of this truth.

We know how beneficial it is to collaborate with other teachers, and we naturally do so … as needed. No need to force us into extraneous collaboration by mandating meetings during our valuable planning periods.

We completely understand and appreciate the unequivocal advantage of parent involvement and keeping those lines of communication open. Documenting this communication is important for our own liability, but requirements to submit each and every documentation by a certain time, written in an explanation-riddled format is a needless time-consuming task that tends to thwart our motivation to contact parents at all.

Most importantly, we know our own students better than anyone – we know to differentiate activities and teaching methods, the planning and implementation of which require time.

LET US DO!
Yes, we KNOW these things, but administration, BOE, and budget cuts have tied our hands and tied up our time, making it nearly impossible to DO these things. Stop micro-managing us, and let us do our jobs! That alone would do away with certain salaried administrative positions and save the system some money – maybe even enough to pay for substitute teachers, freeing us from having to cover for absent teachers during our planning periods.

I’m not finished ranting, but sadly, I am finished teaching.  First of all, teachers clearly do not become teachers for the money. If I had divided my salary as a teacher over the number of hours I was working each month (on and off the clock), the result would have been less than minimum wage. No, it wasn’t about the money for me. I became a teacher because I had a passion for literature and composition, and I dreamed of guiding high school students to discovering this passion within themselves. I loved the kids (so very much!), the content, and my coworkers, but the system has effectively killed my dream and squelched my passion. Teaching is not about the kids anymore, and I can’t … won’t teach that way.

I highly respect those teachers who are sticking to it in spite of it all, and I implore parents to be aware of the mess of a system your children’s teachers are working in. Understand them. Cut them some slack.  Support them. HELP them. And most importantly, get involved in your child’s education, speak up, and change the system!

That is all. Have a blessed day!

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Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I was a high school English teacher.

Now I’m not.

I started to write my story here, but realized that I had already done so at a different time, for a different audience, with a different purpose in mind. The differences, however, are perfect for meeting my objectives here. This slightly altered goodbye letter to my fellow English teachers will give you a good sense of exactly where I was four months ago (names changed to protect the innocent … and guilty): Continue reading