A teacher reflects on how teachers are perceived, how little support they get, and how teaching has changed:
Being in the teaching profession, most of the public generally hates you because they ‘see’ you with the summer off and a pension, which most of us hope will be intact by the time we get there. If summers off were only true. During the summer is when most of your planning and professional growth goes on…’behind the scenes.’
I went into this profession because of kids and making an impact in their lives. Believe me it wasn’t for the money and it wasn’t for the summers off. If money was my primary motivator, I certainly wouldn’t have went into education. I would have went into the private sector with a car and expense account.
I have been in education now for thirteen years. When I look back over my career, I am saddened by how much it has changed. It has gone from keeping kids after school for projects, helping kids during lunch, talking with kids through problems and challenges they are facing. Basically, genuinely caring about the child as ‘whole’ person. It has gone from parents standing behind the teacher and enforcing what the teacher taught at home. To teachers having to answer and explain their every move – grading, discipline, etc.
How things have changed. Society has changed, and I am afraid to say, not for the better. I had the pleasure of working with a man for a few years before the end of his career. I looked up to him and had great respect for him for who he was, who he is, how he taught, and what he stood for. My last year working with him I remember discussing a tough school issue. Our discussion ended in him telling me that I will be saying ‘these were the good old days.’ I never thought that that statement would ring true, but it does.
Our greatest resource is our children. It doesn’t take being in education to know that. New York State is no longer holding children as our primary focus. New York State is holding greed as the number one goal. It is insulting and degrading what they are attempting to do to the public school systems. It is tragic. This state can not blame everything on education, but that is exactly what the media is doing. If we had to play the blame game, I would blame state testing. Kids hate the tests, and so do the teachers. It has taken the ‘real’ learning out of school and made learning into a ‘teach to the test nightmare.’
I am good at what I do. I love what I teach. I have motivated and inspired many students and parents. I have battled my share too, for the child. My job’s dynamics have changed drastically over the years. To say I work hard would be a gross understatement. I work hard every single day. I take work home nightly and work extensively on weekends to catch up and work ahead. My ‘growth score’ from the 2012 NYS ELA is ‘developing.’ It is insulting to say the least for many different reasons. One thing is for sure, I will not apologize for how my students perform on a three day exam. My students work hard and do their best.
In China, the people respect doctors, lawyers and teachers. The parents stand behind the school and enforce education at home. Take a close look at how their society runs. In America, the people respect rock stars and professional athletes. The parents fight the teachers tooth and nail. The system fights the teacher tooth and nail.
Take a close look at how our society is currently functioning?
Public education is not to blame for the budget issues this country faces. It never was and never will be. However, public education is the scapegoat.
I suggest all of the ‘professionals’ designing this APPR for our country come on into the classrooms and teach for a year to see what it is like.
Also, I would like some facts from NYS: how much did testing cost NYS last year – isn’t it to the tune of $385 million dollars? If we follow the money of Pearson, policy makers, and charter schools, what would we find at the end of the road? I would like to see the policy makers salary too. I know it is greater than mine at $57,000. I know it is greater than my brother in law’s who has been education for close to 26 years making $90,000. People in the private sector after 26 years are making well above $90,000 a year. Believe me.
Public education and school taxes are an easy target to get people fired up about because school taxes are one of the only things they have the control to vote on. So what a great way to get people enraged.
I wonder what validity is this APPR? What is the purpose? I wonder, if I ran my classroom the way the state is running the schools what that would look like?
“Thank you for coming to your child’s conference Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Your child’s average is a 73% in ELA. Why? Well, I can’t really tell you that. I do not grade papers for parents to see. I have my own formula that is a secret. You will just have to trust me. Your child is below average. What can you do to help? Oh, I can’t really tell you that because it is a moving target.”
As Troy Aikman said at last week’s tragic football game due to poor referee calling, “This is a joke.” I agree, this APPR scam is a complete joke. Even though APPR is out to destroy the unions and the public school system, the true tragedy at the end of the day is the children and our society loses at the end.
The state’s agenda is to conquer and divide the unions and public education for nothing more than their own greed. Bring it. Get the attorneys in place. When it is uncovered and exposed to the true agenda, and it will be, these policy makers may need to leave this country.
Widen your lense to see the big picture. We will not let our children and this country suffer. Game on.