I’m Sorry, School-Aged Kids.

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I know you have been experiencing a lot of changes at school over the past year.  I’m sure your teachers have seemed a little more stressed and high-strung as they have in the past, your free time and recess hasn’t been as frequent and school has just felt…different.  I want to say I’m sorry.  You see, none of this is your fault and yet you are at the receiving end of whole bunch of stress and work overload.  The extra work your teachers are piling on you is not your fault.  It’s not their fault either.  When policy makers in high places decided that school needed to become more rigorous and teachers needed to be evaluated more harshly, you became the scapegoat. I’m sorry that the many people in our country think that they know better than your teachers and that your teachers are not working to the best of their ability.  I mean, I’m sure there are some not-so-great teachers in every district, just like there are not-so-great athletes on every team, not-so-great doctors, not-so-great actors and singers, not-so-great chefs in restaurants,and not-so-great business owners.  Not everyone is the best at what they thought they could do in their career, but that’s not your fault either.  What happened was people who have never been in a classroom decided that they knew how school should be run.  They knew what would work and they were determined to fix it because obviously, the teachers can’t be trusted to do it.  After all, your teachers only have a four-year Bachelors degree along with a Masters degree and many years doing what they love to do–working with all of you.  What you need to know is that we, your teachers really love you.  We really love kids.  You have to believe this because even though you are young and you probably won’t understand this, but teachers do what they do out of love and not for money.  I’m okay with the fact that I won’t ever make as much money as many of my friends who have chosen different career paths and that my student loans will take just as many years as I have left of my career to pay off. I’m not embarrassed about my paycheck because I love what I do.  Most of your teachers do. 

Please believe me when I tell you that all of these tests are not our idea.  We know what you need to know.  We know what is best for you.  And making every kid in every public school starting at the age of 8 take nine hours of tests that are way beyond your comprehension is not it.  Even kids who just moved here and don’t speak English very well have to take these tests! How crazy is that?  Some of you probably do great with tests.  I’m sure there were many of you that did very well.  But I’m also sure you have friends who are not good at taking tests.  Maybe you’re a kid who really struggles with learning and is granted extra time to finish these tests.  That means that you just had to finish eighteen hours of tests over the past two weeks.  I’m sorry for that.  That’s an entire car ride from New York to Florida. And you know what’s going to happen with those test scores?  They’re going to determine if your teacher was a “good” or a “bad” teacher.  It doesn’t matter if your teacher brought in an entire slideshow from her recent trip abroad to bring different cultures into your classroom, or if your teacher stayed at work until 6:00 every night planning for each and every one of her 25 students with different learning styles in her classroom, or if your teacher planned pajama lunch dates every Friday where you had a pajama book club.  It doesn’t matter if your teacher made you laugh, made you think, made you apologize when you needed to, made you start over and try harder before handing something in, made you more aware of the world around you, or made you wonder.  It all comes down to how you did on those darn tests.  And so when you could have been playing or creating, you were taking pre-tests, practice tests, post-tests, and field tests.  You were bubbling and test-writing.  Your were learning, but you were learning how to take a test so your teachers could prove to the policy makers that they deserved to keep their jobs.  It’s not your fault and to be honest with you, it stinks. 

So kids, hang in there.  You’ve been good sports.  You’ve rolled with the changes and are adjusting to all being “college and career ready” in elementary school.  

Thanks for being you. Now go outside and play. 

-Mrs Momblog 

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About Mrs Momblog

Mom of 3, wife of 1, teacher of 103. Sarcastic always.
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8 Responses to I’m Sorry, School-Aged Kids.

  1. KAbb says:

    Yes, there are some not-so-great doctors, athletes, etc etc — however if an athlete is not performing the team ‘let’s them go’ or fires them. They move on to more performing athletes. Not-so-great doctors and attorneys, etc, are sued, debarred, run out of business by better doctors and attorneys. There’s Yelp, Angie’s List, word-of-mouth on which doctor, attorney, hair dresser, etc, you should choose. There is nothing to that extent for teachers and parents cannot select which teacher their student gets — there’s no choice in that like there is with other services and industries. You choose your doctor, your attorney, your hair dresser. You can’t choose your teacher.

    The only recourse the public and policy makers have with unions running around protecting even the worst teachers out there is to ensure that teachers are performing and students are learning. The best way we have for that is standardized tests. The public pays for public education and if the public cannot hold teachers to task by demanding and succeeding in receiving good education, even if that means that the poor ones are fired and their credentials are revoked, then something needs to be done.

    I personally loathe standardized tests, I personally empathize with your plight, and I personally think that no underperforming individual should be put in front of a class to teach, that there should be no tenure, that if there is a better teacher out there for a class, that person should receive that job. After all, if teachers really care about the students then they would step-aside for a better performing teacher; otherwise, they are only looking out for their self-interest (and that doesn’t happen, so that is why there are standardized tests).

    • I have to set people straight who inaccurately portray unions as working to protect and keep bad teachers. Unions do make sure a teacher’s rights haven’t been violated and that a teacher’s employer just can’t fire them because the principal wants to hire his newly graduated daughter.

      Tenure does not, I repeat, DOES NOT mean a teacher is safe from termination. It is incumbent upon an administrator and the Board of Eduacation to pursue the termination. The job of the union is to make sure the teacher has her say and to determine if there are grounds for termination.

      The ever-growing cancer of privatization has finally hit public education. Now that unions have been made out to be the problem, and sadly, too many people are believing the propaganda, education is easy pickings for the “let’s privatize America” club.

      Teachers are being blamed for or at least being asked to be held accountable for society’s problems; poverty, teen pregnancy, inadequate access to health care, etc.
      It’s much easier to look for a scapegoat than to solve this country’s problems. Privatization is not the way to go.

      It’s quite a feat that teachers make the gains they do each and everyday in their classrooms. I invite anyone to come in and see what we do each day.

      • I always tell my family (who are not teachers) that in theory the ideas of teachers getting kids to pass a test sounds like it would work. Kids should show improvement by the end of the year, and to people not in education that seems feasible. However, there are way too many variables and a test is not a sufficient sample of what a teacher has accomplished with 20 to 150 students (at the ms or hs level) over 10 months.

      • A Mom says:

        I’ve never seen teachers blamed for societal problems such as teen pregnancy, health care access, etc.

        Additionally, when the author says teachers work for the love of it and where me money, I call BS! Heck, that is all teachers do is gripe about their pay. At the grade school where my kids attend. The teachers ask the PTA to fund their attendance for post end requirements! Now this really frosts me! Those going into teaching know this is an aspect of their profession and they certainly chose their jobs.
        It is not anybody else’s responsibility to pay for this. I’ve never heard of lawyers, accountants, hair stylists doctors, etc ask for help in paying for this.

        As a mortgage underwriter, most loans to teachers show them makimg decent money PLUS while teachers take their pay over 12 months, their contracts are generally only for 9 maybe 10 months. If you annualize this –as if they worked all 12 months, they make a bit more. I am not highly paid and I don’t have 2-3months off every year! And.., when I have a cycle when my work is busy, I have to work extra (and not gripe about it! ) That’s called being a salaried employee!

        To be straight, I LOVE most of my kids’ teachers over the years and I frequently give them little notes of praise and thanks along with gift cards ( I can’t stand giving the stupid apple/teacher themed chatskis). I agree teaching isn’t an easy job and I also agree that there many parents who don’t work with the teachers in educating their kids….but remember this: you chose your profession!

  2. Melissa Souther says:

    I am a parent, as well as a teacher, and I have no problem with being accountable for my students’ learning. But how do you hold parents accountable for doing their part? This is key to academic success. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a public or private school. Parents need to support academics at home.

  3. Shannon Adkins says:

    As a parent I chose not to be a teacher for a reason. Why does my first grader have nightly homework on the computer? Why can’t he be a kid? Our parents never had to deal with this, nor teach us new math I am sorry parents don’t want to sit for hours and do homework after working all day we have lives too school should be completed at school especially in elementary . The teachers are stressing our kids out and these poor kids can’t handle it. The have zero down time zero family it is all school and homework no time for sports or electives. Put your self in our shoes we chose not to be teachers but you are forcing us too .

    • I don’t understand how you as a parent could say that you “choose not to be a teacher.” Isn’t that a huge part of parenting? Helping your child grow and learn and become the best version of themselves? Shame on you. Shame on you to think that this kind of growth should only be found in a classroom. My parents sat down with me after dinner and helped me with my homework. They did it because they cared about me and my education more than catching up on their tv shows. You are also seriously generalizing when you say that kids have “zero down time, zero family time, no time for sports or electives.” That is ridiculous. I don’t even give homework. I teach 11th grade English and my students only have homework when they don’t use their time wisely enough to finish in class. Now, to be fair, I’m sure there are teachers who pile it on, but you are being a tad dramatic. Finally, I would really like for you to reassess your statement that teachers are stressing your kids out. It is not the teacher that is the root of this problem. Do you think teachers like being stressed? Do you think we like it when our kids are stressed? Do you think we like having to be responsible for collecting massive amounts of data? Do you think we enjoy having to put aside lessons and activities that would foster a love of learning, so that we can give our students tests that are not always an accurate reflection of what they know? The data from these tests are supposed to be a reflection of the teacher. When I first started teaching I was at a high school in a wealthy part of town. My students always scored extremely well on their standardized tests. It had almost nothing to do with my skill as a teacher. I now work in a school where over 80% of the students get free or reduced lunch, go home to terrible living conditions and generally score lower on their standardized tests than most of the schools in our county. I know that I am the best teacher I can possibly be. I have to be. So before you go making judgements and generalizations about what we do and don’t do, I challenge you to try to spend one week trying to do my job. I bet you run out to the parking lot crying after two hours. Shame on you.

      Oh..and it should be “to”. Too = also
      bet your kid knows that.

  4. Regina Betts says:

    I worked in the education field for over twenty years. My daughter is a high school math teacher. I have seen the changes over the years and cringe. I admire the job that my daughter provides for her students. Seeing both sides, I can tell you that teaching is a three way process. Teacher, Parent and Student. Without all three, the students success fails. I worked in high school for many years and I could tell you when a new student came in if he/she was a success or fail. Parents for the most part expect the teacher to do the teaching and only become involved when their student is failing, which at that point is too late. Do you not communicate with your student or teacher? Do you not check that the homework is complete and even correct? How can parents confront a teacher about their child failing when not once did you as a parent make contact to see how you could help your child while they were failing. My daughter is at school an hour before it starts and an hour after school ends to offer help to any of her students. Do they take advantage of this help? No…instead many of them sleep during class and refuse to do the work during class much less the homework. Parents at this point ask if the student can make up the work…..Don’t you get it? Learning is a process on which you build. Redoing the homework does not help in the learning process. The student needs to learn what is being taught at the time so that they can build on it. On the administrative end, you do have people who are “Highly Skilled Educators”, Counselors, Assistant Principals and Principals who make decisions for the Educational Process that have lost their ability and skills to TEACH our children. I feel another issue with our education these days are discipline. Many of the teachers and administrators spend much of their time correcting discipline. This should start at home and should stay there. Parents have become too lenient with their children and they do not know how to behave in our environment long enough to learn. I don’t feel teachers are paid enough for the job they do while those in higher positions, make way too much. PARENTS need to be more involved with their childrens education and their lives. IT IS YOUR JOB to make sure they are learning to their ability and that they are successful. Stop playing the blame game and do your part. I AM SO VERY VERY PROUD OF MY DAUGHTER FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE. She will be one of those teachers that students look back on and let her know she is one of the reasons for their achievements.

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