Sunday, February 14, 2016

Is Teaching Still For Me? An open letter to those struggling with the same question...

Dear Teachers,

I haven't done a quality blog post since the start of the new school year. I feel guilty about this. I'm sorry to all my followers. My excuse is simple...

I've asked myself everyday....  IS TEACHING STILL FOR ME?

When I was 7 years old, I declared that I was going to be a teacher.There wasn't any other career I ever considered. Throughout all my schooling, I focused on this path. Being a teacher meant that I would be changing lives and showing kids just how awesome learning could be. Plus, I would get to write on the board all the time,, hahaha!

"We would love for you to be part of our school."  Those words were what I had worked so hard for throughout my school career. I was finally a teacher. FINALLY! That was six years ago. In those six years, I've seen drastic changes in the way we teach this county's most valuable asset, our children, our future. And I DO NOT agree with it. 

How do you tell an eight year old to sit in a desk all day? How do you tell those 20-30 little ones that we aren't allowed to go out to recess? It isn't natural to have kids sit all day long without active play. They need time to run and socialize. Play is NOT a waste of time. It is a necessity. Yet, many schools (including mine) don't see this. They see playtime as time wasted. Time that could be spent on getting ready for the "big" test. Baffled by this, I would sneak my kids around the back of our building to play. However, that was short lived due to the pressure building to test test test test. 

Speaking of the "big" test.... that is all we practice for all year. The whole year is wasted on building testing skills and making sure we cover all standards to mastery so that they pass the test. If they don't pass, then I get in trouble and my pay suffers. Yes, my pay is based on my test scores produced by the students. One test determines this. One test that only 50% of students the past two years have passed. This test is not developmentally appropriate. I've seen students so stressed over this test, that they get physically sick! In what planet do we live on where an 8 year old is so stressed out that they vomit?! The most stress an 8 year old should have is deciding what sport to play or that they are grounded for not eating vegetables. NOT ABOUT TAKING A TEST THAT DETERMINES THEY ARE SMART ENOUGH TO GO ONTO THE NEXT GRADE LEVEL. 

Sadly, I am not a teacher. I am a script reader. I am told what to teach, when to teach it, and to not DARE get off course. This is not why I went into teaching. My goal as a teacher is to create a love for learning. My students currently hate to learn. They hate everything we do in school. Why? There is little creativity, no fun, and tons of test prep. Their minds are being forcefully shaped to be all the same.  Yet, I am told to differentiate my teaching and to get to know the kids to spark their interests in learning. So when I do this, I get off course with the "script" and get in trouble. Ummmm... How does this make sense? You tell me to do one thing, I do it, and then get in trouble because it isn't what everyone else is doing. So I give up. I've been doing exactly what is "expected" and I have successfully created a classroom full of students that hate to learn. Bravo!

I can go on and on and on about all the reasons that have made me question if I am still meant to be a teacher, but I will leave it here. *sigh*

I hope to get the answer to my question soon. 


Confused and Frustrated Teacher