The other day I posted a status on FB, “They are sucking the joy out of teaching!” You know who “they” are. I have taught for 27 years, and never have I felt this way. It’s not the new principal. It’s all the next “new” things that have been lobbed at me from one day to the next. After I duck one, or get hit, depending on what innovative thing they have come up with, something new is thrown at me.
I sat at our last meeting, completely overwhelmed, when our principal told us that she wanted us to use data to develop carousel workshops, every week, for reading and math. My first thought was, in order to gather this data to use every week, I would have to test the heck out of my kids. My second thought, when am I supposed to teach? Teach! Remember when we used to be able to do that? My third thought was, this is utterly ridiculous, and I cannot do this anymore! My mind is flailing as I try to stay afloat in a sea of acronyms! EQ, CSR, KUD, LM, NCLB, DCAS, some one throw me a life raft!
I have come to the belief that we have been pimped out for RTT (Race to the Top) money. The powers that be jumped at the chance to accept that money, and agreed to do anything that was asked to keep it. But in the end, who actually completes all the requirements?Teachers do! Who benefits from this money, the kids? I think not. The teachers? A resounding no! We have “coaches” running our schools. My principal has at least three different coaches telling her what to do and how to do it. And then, she tells us. An example, the coaches walk around with her, enter our classrooms for five minutes, and then leave us a feedback form with 5 questions we have to answer. (What happens if she doesn’t have 5 questions?) It’s called 5 X 5, isn’t that the cutest thing? How much are these coaches being paid and do any of them have a background in education?
I know some of the ideas have merit. As a matter of fact, I have used some of them. But when you are told how often you should use them, when you should use them, and penalized if you don’t, my gosh, doesn’t that defeat my purpose? Why bother to pay me if I can’t make any decisions, if my judgement cannot be trusted?
I begin every morning watching my administrator walk through the halls, making checks on her clipboard. She is checking to see which teachers are in the hallway, greeting the children. I receive a newsletter(emailed), every Monday, 4 pages long, (I am not exaggerating), with the percentage of teachers who were observed meeting the requirements along with the new requirements of the week. I am losing my drive, I don’t want to, but I am.
I want to teach! After 27 years, I still love teaching! So, I am going to try to not let “them’ steal my joy! I will go in my room, and Skype, integrate technology, have meaningful discussions about anything and everything, watch the smile when one of my kids finally “gets” it, laugh, tell jokes, blog, create global learners, teach my students to problem solve, and most off all,I promise, I… will… teach!