A Teacher’s Lamentation (and a rant)

This was posted to Facebook and I thought it worth sharing. The nonsense teachers go through is only going to increase. Those who care about teaching are retiring in droves, leaving those who don’t mind playing the game in the system which will only make it more and more difficult to get “authentic” teaching.

<rant>Unless we stop the computer adaptive tests and the INSANITY of this accountability and test culture (NOT being pushed by parents), we will destroy the next generation. Please, state board and legislators, end school accountability, school grading, computer adaptive tests, competency-based education, database tracking, and all the other soul-destroying nonsense you’ve enacted. Reverse it before it’s too late.

True accountability is between three people. Parent, student, and teacher. That’s it. If you think because it’s tax money paying for our schools that it gives you the right or creates an obligation to prove to the rest of the state and the federal government just how much standardized learning is being done in the classroom, you’re wrong.  You’re damaging teachers, students, and families. Free the schools. Free the teachers. LOCAL CONTROL IS LOCAL. Let communities run their own programs and do what’s best for families. Drop the state rules and let local schools and families do what they feel is best. Success and failure will be at the hands of the free. Not the hands of those with governmental power to dictate what should be taught and when. Where there is no agency there is no development of the mind.

Oh, and you administrators who accept this nonsense without speaking out, where’s your soul? </rant>

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A Teacher’s Story From Facebook:

Tampa Bay, Florida teacher describes growing frustrations of a system in place that snuffs out creativity and life. Is this teacher a complainer? No! They are speaking out for the sake of children and the daily damage done. “After 22 years, I don’t know if I have it in me anymore. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching. Everything I am required to do is about preparing my students for “the test.” I spend all day, every day, ramming test prep down my students’ throats. Then I do what seems like 8,000 reams of paperwork each week to prove that I’m ramming test prep down my students’ throats. There is no joy in this for them. I see their blank faces with eyes glazed over. There is no fun or excitement in learning, for they are not really learning.
This past weekend I spent literally every waking hour working, taking breaks only to do laundry and prepare food for my son. I wrote my lesson plans with all of the required “non-negotiables” included and explained. I examined my data to make decisions about what skills might need some reteaching and what skills could be practiced and reinforced in centers. I dutifully created my differentiated centers and made them rigorous (a term that has no business in education). I printed off copies of things on my own printer, using my own ink and paper, because we only get 1000 copies per month. I laminated, cut, and put things in folders to make sure I was all ready for today. Then, in the middle of my ELA block this morning, my principal walked in to do a walk-through. Apparently, this go round was focused on centers because she asked to see mine as she did for all of my teammates, I later learned. Well, I figured this one would be easy after everything I did over the weekend. She looked at them, asked me a couple of questions, and left. My observation notification came through after school and I looked. Imagine my surprise when I received a Basic for Danielson Domain 1e: Designing Coherent instruction. My principal’s only comment… “While it’s good to see differentiated centers there needs to be paired texts and writing in your centers.” Make no mistake, I am open to criticism, especially when criticism is constructive and valid. This, however, is neither constructive nor valid. This is about playing a game. This is about making up a fault that isn’t included in the rubric when you can’t find one that is. This is about making sure that teachers don’t get too many points so we can keep those merit-based raises to a minimum.
This is what education has become. It’s a game, it’s inauthentic, it’s draining. They’re putting out the fire that has blazed inside of me. They’re destroying my soul and my passion. I don’t know what to do now. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching.”

One thought on “A Teacher’s Lamentation (and a rant)”

  1. Unlike when we were kids, today’s standardized tests demand Algebra II and at least a B for proficiency.

    That means all students are expected to be above grade level or above average, which defies statistical probability.

    This is beyond unfair and unduly stressful. No wonder both teachers and students drop out.

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