Bob Shepherd has a long and distinguished career as a teacher, curriculum developer, assessment developer, textbook writer, and more. He returned to teaching. He describes here what the state of Florida required him to do:

Years ago, I attended Indiana University, where I took a double major in English and Psychology and completed all the work required to receive what was called, then, a “lifetime certification” to teach high-school English, which I did for three years before taking a job in educational publishing so that I could actually support my family. For twenty-five years, I wrote and edited textbooks for use in K-college English classrooms. The list of my textbook publications (and online educational materials programs) runs to twenty-five pages, single spaced. At one time, it was difficult to find a K-12 English classroom in the United States where one or more of my textbooks was not being used—books on writing, literature, grammar, African-American studies, and much else.

The Hindus say that in the latter part of a life, one must quit the things of this world and devote one’s self to things of the spirit. I decided to do that. At the end of my career, I returned to my first love, teaching, which would give me an opportunity to apply in classrooms what I had learned from several decades of applying myself assiduously to learning how to teach English language arts. Teaching and nursing are the two holiest of professions.

In order to get a teaching job in Florida, I had to

–Pay for and take SEVEN tests prepared and administered by the Ed Deform simpletons at Pearson
–Complete a 20-page online application form
–Submit letters of recommendation, and
–Provide body fluids for drug testing

On the job as a teacher of English, Film, and Debate, I had to

–Prepare, in the first year, an 800-page binder documenting every aspect of my teaching
–Submit to three formal evaluations and countless informal ones every year
–Complete a yearly Individual Professional Development Plan
–Complete 300 hours of utterly useless online ESL training that seemed, from the factual inaccuracies and grammatical errors throughout the materials, to have been prepared for five-year-olds by people with severe cognitive deficits
–Fill out several thousand 504, IEP, ESL, and PMP (progress monitoring plan) updates
–Prepare Data Walls and materials for Data Chats—exercises in pseudoscientific numerology
–Attend a summer AP English institute
–Proctor absurdly designed, punitive, soul-destroying standardized pretests, benchmark tests, and test tests
–Serve as a crossing guard every morning and afternoon
–Attend parent-teacher conferences weekly, sometimes daily
–Deal with parents who wanted to sue me because I insisted that their 11th-graders put end marks at the ends of their sentences
–Attend ”trainings” (“roll over, sit up, good boy”) for people with IQs of 65 on gang violence, bullying, drugs in school, blood-borne illness, test data, test data, test data, test data, test data, and more test data
–Prepare, for each class, a two-page lesson plan form and have these in binders for review whenever an administrator entered my class
–Keep a log of every parent contact—emails, telephone calls, meetings
–Post my grades and attendance both in a paper book and online
–Coach extracurriculars (speech and debate, theatre)
–Chaperone dances and numerous other evening events
–Prepare materials for and be present at parent nights
–Prepare to teach 22 or 23 classes a week (one year, for FIVE separate preps)
–Print and post reports of my ongoing data stream, in particular formats, with charts and graphs
–Grade, grade, grade, and grade some more. If I assigned my 150 or so students a single paragraph to write, I would have a novella to read and respond to. All day and evening, every Saturday, spend doing this, and often on Sunday as well.

–And somehow find time actually to interact, one-on-one, with my unique students, each with their enormous, unique needs, proclivities, interests, and potentials

And that’s only a partial list. I worked FAR, FAR harder as a teacher of high-school English than I did as an Executive Vice President at a billion-dollar-a-year publishing company.

And all for a salary less than what a checkout person at the local grocery makes.

Who wouldn’t want to do this?

Do you think that Florida doesn’t want teachers?