Monday, July 17, 2006

Can't get away from it

So, as I start my 10th year at Unnamed Junior High School, I'm thinking seriously about where I want to be in the next 10 years.

I mean, I love my life right now, but 10 years from now, will it still be the life I want? I'm not sure.

Teaching is the most important contribution I've made so far in my life. Yes, I'm a good friend, and a wonderful daughter, but I've made a difference as a teacher. If I had gone down the path of marriage and parenthood, I might think differently, but I've not reached either of those roads so far, and may never (although hope still springs eternal in this middle-aged heart).

However.

The political climate regarding teaching is starting to wear on me.

Last year I threw out almost every thing I'd ever created to teach from the red textbook from Holt. I kept to the schedule, even when it made no sense. I spent at least one class period a week on spelling, because that's the area administration decided upon which we would focus. More than halfway through the year, the English chair decided we would adopt the Sheri Henderson way of teaching writing, and we had no say in that decision. So, yet again, I threw out something (this time, something not even well-tried) for the newest "solution."

I'm beat.

I think most people, at least most thinking people, agree that giving everyone the exact same education is not giving everyone a fair education, yet that's what's happening. This crap about being on the same page on the same day in every eighth grade classroom in the district is actually being given consideration.

I have a friend who homeschools. I don't agree with her on many things, and obviously, I support public education, but she and I see eye to eye on one thing: teachers, for the most part, are in it for the betterment of others.

Simple really.

Although I hate when people say it's a "calling" or "noble," you and I both know I didn't go into it for money or fame. No. I teach because it's what I do best. I teach because I'm getting paid to care about other people, and their futures, I teach because it's interesting, and I teach because it makes me happy.


The political stuff? Not so much.

8 comments:

Andrew Pass Educational Services, LLC said...

I just wanted to let you know that I referenced your blog on my own blog. I actually asked people to consider it in light of another blog entry, written by Assorted Stuff on creativity.

Andrew Pass
http://www.Pass-Ed.com/blogger.html

ms-teacher said...

I read your entry with great interest. I've been using Holt in my classroom for the past two years, however, last year our district implemented the use of pacing guides.

You write: This crap about being on the same page on the same day in every eighth grade classroom in the district is actually being given consideration. This was the intent of our school district and they made teachers accountable by testing students every quarter based on what was supposed to have been taught on the pacing guide.

Guess what? This meant that teachers had very little time to go back over concepts that students may not have learned on the day it was supposed to be taught.

I'm hoping that at sometime in the near future someone will say (like Susan Powter used to) "STOP THE INSANITY!"

Dave Shearon said...

As a foremer school board member and supporter of test-based accountability systems, I could not agree with you more. I've linked to your post at
http://daveshearon.typepad.com.

And now I'm going to visit Assorted Stuff -- this last year really took me out of the loop!

Elise said...

After seven years, I left the classroom I loved because the politics of standardization left me angry and frustrated. I was asked, then told, to change the way I teach (successfully mind you to a class with 40% ELL or SPED students)literacy and math. Under significant pressure I did as I was told and was then informed that, unfortunately, test scores did not look good. DUH! It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not reply with a loud I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN! Teaching is not a science, it is an art. We can follow a proscribed procedure using the same materials but it will not produce uniform results in the form of high test scores. Teaching involves creativity, love, and strength. The politics of standardization that rain down from above dampen all three over time. Will things be different in my new school? I certainly hope so. If not, those casual glances at other career options will certainly become more serious.

Ben McFerren said...

hi,

We started a free site called teachade for teachers and I was wondering if you'd take a look to see what you think. Basically we're looking to build a community of teachers to support each other through professional development and resource exchange. We're looking for your input and suggestions on how to improve the site. Hope to see you join us and participate.

www.teachade.com

-Ben

bmcferren@teachade.com

Jen said...

Amen!

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