Teaching is a challenge every day. It was a challenge last year, but this year it seems like the nation is expecting educators to jump through hoops that are set at unreachable heights.
Last week was National Mental Health Awareness week. In schools around the country, we cannot even acknowledge that a child's mental health (or their parent's mental instability) is a factor when it comes to achievement. If a child is bipolar/ID (intellectually delayed or what used to be called mentally retarded)/OD (oppositional defiance), they still must achieve at an "advanced" level on the state test this next spring. No excuses. If a child's mother is absent due to drug addiction, if a child has just been removed from their foster home and is now in a group home, no accommodations will be made. They still are expected to achieve at the top level.
The media and the politicians make me angry. They say, "Your children are as smart (or stupid) as their test scores." They say,"You are not a good teacher. How do we know? We know because your children are not testing at the level we've proclaimed." My students are full of potential, and I work my rear end off...
I come in on Saturdays and Sundays. I don't have energy to do anything "fun" nor do I have the time. I am at school hours after my day officially ends. I have done home visits. I spend my own money on my classroom. However, since I will probably be operating the slurpee machine at Walmart next year, I had better start saving instead of spending...
Politicians...Reporters...Anyone who slams public schools... Walk a mile month in my shoes. Take on a classroom, and hold out your platter, 'cause it's going to be heaped to the point of overflowing. Data collection meetings every week. Grades. Parent conferences (they happen all year). Grading papers. Scoring district assessments. Faculty meetings. Grade level meetings. Lesson plans. And of course, teaching.
This morning I discovered I was not the only angry one. Dr. (Bell) Branstetter, on her pheomental blog was one who had let "them" have it with both barrels.
Check out her post yesterday (October 11). She says it eloquently. She says what needs to be said. And although you'll get some spittle on you---'cause she's (deservedly) on a full-tilt rant---it's worth the read.