The above article is awesome and worth the read. Before reading it, just with seeing the title, I felt the need to write my thoughts, so here we go…
We already to more with less.
We have to scrounge garage sales for furniture, used books, games, art supplies, spending our own money to get what we need for our classrooms.
Or we buy piece meal the tables we want, while offices in Washington are decked out with ergonomic office furniture, up-to-date computers and presentation equipment and no personal money spent. If we’re lucky, we get the cast-offs from local colleges when they upgrade their computers or lounge spaces.
We also are required to get Professional Development Points, which require hours of our own time to stay up-to-date in current research and education. Who in Washington is expected to attend graduate level classes for their entire career?
I don’t mind, because this is all important. I do it because I’m passionate about it, not because I’m told I have to.
But don’t treat me like I don’t matter and that my emotional well-being shouldn’t be protected. We need more resources today because more children are coming to our schools needing emotional and behavioral support, not just educational. We work every day to make 6 hours in the lives of our students be the best they can be, but if you give us too many students they won’t get the education they deserve because it’s too much to manage.
Do you have any idea how many hours we spend evaluating student work? This is a conservative example, thinking about a writing assessment where the student had to produce a piece of writing: 20 students x 10 minutes per student= 200 minutes= about 3 /12 hours. In elementary school, we are lucky if we have a 40 minute prep period every day. You do the math. Do we have enough time in the school day to do what’s required?
For elementary teachers, think about each subject we teach: reading, writing, math, spelling, social studies, science. In our district, we have a curriculum coordinator who makes sure that we are all doing these kinds of assessments. We are developing a Standards Based report card, which will add to our work load.
Then think about caregiver communication. We spend a lot of time communicating with caregivers and having caregivers reach out to us. This is crucial to our work to develop a team for each student, so many of us do it on our own time because we barely have time to breathe during the day.
We also communicate with many consultants, some of whom tell us we need to do more assessments. When? Teachers are already being asked to do more and more and more and more.
We spend hours of our personal time thinking about our students and how we can improve our teaching to make their learning better. We talk to each other, brainstorming ways to help a particular child “do school” or access the math or improve a lesson.
I’m sick and tired of the image of teachers out there being people who don’t care or the pedophile types. Appreciate the positive intentions of every single teacher out there, except the exceptions who make the news.
Teachers like me are the majority. We are dedicated, caring, intelligent, collaborative, remarkable people. Treat us that way. We deserve it.