The end of the school year is rapidly approaching.
This is the first time in memory that I am counting down the days and looking forward to walking away. I love the children and their families but the state of education has deteriorated to the point of disbelief and I need to step aside for a moment.
I wonder, "How did we fall so far?"
It becomes difficult to remain optimistic and passionate about teaching when every day the chisel chips away at creativity and respect. The Department of Education has placed value only on the most superficial and mechanical aspects of what it means to educate and to learn.
Teachers are given scripts to follow and judged on how well they comply with the robotic recitation. Teaching artists who thoughtfully weave content and excitement with knowledge of the students and the material are looked down upon (or talked about behind their backs) for displaying a "rebel" nature.
Educators are now assessed on bulletin boards and charts instead of genuine student learning. Of course, that is hard to quantify isn't it?
It is happening all over the city, the state and the country.
And what is even more distressing is the rigid and misguided devaluing of the children we aim to teach. Their natural curiosity and desire to figure things out becomes squelched in sacrifice to myriad high stakes tests.
A friend sent me this video of a TEDxTalk with Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Her words reflect my frustration.
“All these amazing capacities that children bring to us in
education are cut out when we drill and grill them.
And when we take the natural and powerful capabilities that
children have out of the education equation, we take the love out of
learning. We take the joy out of
learning. And we take it out for children but we take it out for teachers too
because the great craft of teaching involves knowing how to harness those
amazing capabilities children have for the purpose of helping them learn in
I suppose I can find some solace in the fact that I have a principal who believes in the work I do and has confidence in my abilities. That trust is certainly valuable but at the moment most teachers are the proverbial dog who gets kicked when daddy (or mommy) is stressed.
Teachers would appreciate a bone every once in a while or at least a pat on the head.