A frustrated teacher writes:

I am in my 21st year of teaching and have been close to quitting every year for the last six years. The pressures to conform and follow a script even when I know it’s bad for kids have been really, really stressful. I am a creative teacher, and I feel like I’m fighting for the right to work 3 times harder than I have to. We now have teachers who are “script followers” telling those of us who aren’t standardized that we are sub-par because we actually plan our lessons rather than doling out prefabricated workbook pages. I haven’t quit yet because I’m not sure what else I would do– teaching is truly a calling for me. I also have a great, supportive principal who gives me the autonomy I need to get the job done– which I do with most kids. As for the shortage– our small department has been going through first-year teachers like crazy– one per year lately. Here’s what I’d like: a little respect, a huge hunk of autonomy, and the ability to openly discuss what the real issues are. As you said in your book Diane, how can we expect teachers to teach kids to think for themselves if teachers are not allowed to think for themselves. I’m staying as long as I have my current principal. After that… who knows?