Tuesday, January 13, 2015
When you finally feel as though people may listen...
Oh teaching...education....what it's like to be a teacher...
This morning I woke up to my old administrator posting on Facebook an open letter written by my county's Superintendent, Robert Avossa. I can't explain how much I felt like screaming "FINALLY" to myself! This is my fourth year of teaching and I have seen SO many changes in my job description over these years. My first year was tough solely because I was on my own in a classroom for the first time, but the added stress wasn't quite there like it has been the past three years. My second year of teaching was when common core came into Georgia schools and we weren't quite sure if we were teaching everything correctly and how the testing was going to look at the end of the year. This same year was when the change of how we were evaluated as teachers came in. Last year was a continuation of figuring out common core and our evaluation system but this year has been a nightmare if you ask me. Georgia decided they were going to create our own new assessment for the end of the year.
"Teaching" is a relative term these days. We are so bogged down with assessments that are mandated that the "fun" has been taken out of our days. We can't just enjoy our students and helping them reach their potential because we are on such a tight lease with no time to explore with our students. Testing now takes a significant role in every classroom from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade. I am in fifth grade and the type of testing my students are expected to be mastery at is similar to tests I took in my latter years of high school and in college. No longer do you "Show what you know" but you have to be an analytic thinker at the age of ten. The demographics at my school aren't ready for this type of assessment. My students are still trying to figure out the language never mind be able to analyze between two long pieces of text.
I am proud to say that I work with amazing people and I really think Fulton County has their heads (and hearts) in the right place when it comes to how they want us to be educators and how they feel about their students. You can read the open letter here. I can't explain the relief I felt that he actually has been listening to all of his employees and how they truly feel about their jobs today. It really is a shame that our government doesn't come to educators to ask us how we feel about what education is today. People in education (not just my school) are burning out at a rapid rate and if things keep progressing the way they are, then no one will want to come into the teaching profession. If a sophomore in college were to come to me and ask me if knowing everything I do now would I still have wanted to get my degree in teaching? I would most likely say "no." There are a lot of other jobs out there that you can help others, feel rewarded by your work, get paid more, and feel like you have a say in what your day to day life is like. This year I feel as though I have NO control over how I do my job and there is no way to change that.
I sincerely hope (but highly doubt) that our legislature will take to heart what was so elegantly said in Dr. Avossa's letter or we are going to have a really long road ahead in our education system.