As the politicians and bureaucrats debate how to recalibrate their ideas about reforming the nation’s schools, it’s a good time to read what a teacher wrote about what Washington is doing to them. Maybe some thoughtful person could enter this into the record of the NCLB hearings. Is there no one in Congress who hears the voices of educators? Why don’t they invite real teachers, real principals, and real superintendents to testify instead of DC think tanks and state commissioners?
Heather wrote the following:
I am a teacher because of the love I had for school. I loved my teachers. I loved having fun while learning. I loved the interaction with my peers. I felt safe and successful at school…even when I made mistakes.
Politics and non-educators have changed our schools. They have turned them into businesses focused only on numbers and status. They have taken away the human component. Instead of teachers focusing on the well-being of the children, we have teachers forced to shove massive amounts of information down the throats of children who actually need love and nurturing. They have taken away the time to incorporate fun that kids need in order to develop a love for learning. Instead of doing all we can for our kids, we are told not to touch them…They are children. They need hugs and pats on the back. They need to know that it is okay to show affection and that there is an appropriate way to show it.
The kids aren’t the only ones affected by the decisions of these people who have never stepped into a classroom. The teachers are being stifled. They are feeling that their only purpose is to cram as much information into these children as possible. The teachers are beginning to crack under the pressure. They are criticized and made to feel that their opinions and professional knowledge are worth nothing.
These non-educators should step into a classroom. They would see the child who dominates the class time with their rude insolent behavior. They would see the child who crawls on the floor and cowers in the coat cubbies. They would see the kids who come in without breakfast or clean clothes. They would see the kids who crave attention and stand as close to the teacher as possible. They would see the tears and anxiety as the teacher plows through lessons.
Then let’s have these “experts” visit with parents who do not have a moment to spend with their kids but feel that it is all the teacher’s fault when their child misbehaves or earns poor grades. They should see the disrespectful manner in which some parents speak to the teachers…and that the teachers are instructed to “just take it”.
The paperwork and class interruptions should be the next on their list of observations. They should see that while there is a planning time it is often taken away due to parent meetings,team meetings,assemblies,and paperwork.
They should stay with the teachers until the teachers have completely stopped working for the day. This would involve them heading home with the teacher and managing a household while continuing their work for school.
Maybe after a visit with the kids and teachers, they would see that they have it all wrong. Schools are not all about numbers…schools are for the heart of the kids. Schools are meant to instill a love of learning that will last for life.
Until this happens, I fear that our schools will continue their journey of dehumanization.