Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Art of Teaching

This school year has been especially challenging.  Education is definitely changing as the government gets involved more and more.  It is sad really.  I feel like the nine months I spend with the kids is no longer memorable for them.  We are just jamming things down their throat, assessing more than teaching, and pulling them in so many separate directions. 

What happened to themes, units, and integrating.  I no longer create.  Instead, I am basically handed a script that i must follow.   I have to teach things in a specific order with a specific time frame and use common activities and common assessments. 

By Friday of this week, I just felt so squashed, my enthusiasm gone.  The focus along the way has been taken from the students.  Now it is all about collecting data, assessing constantly, paper trails, and covering everything quickly instead of covering a few things well.  Don't misunderstand me- collecting data and assessing are essential to be an effective teacher.  I get that, but when it gets in the way of actually teaching and creating lessons, it is a problem.

I know cutting with scissors, developing imaginations, and learning to play appropriately cannot and will never be tested on some high stakes test, but that is important stuff.  I have never seen a group of third graders who cut worse than the ones I have now.  And although that may not seem like a big deal, it is.  That shows me that we no longer have time to create art, to have fun.

I have been teaching for a little less than 10 years, and I am shocked at how much has changed since then.  No Child Left Behind has not helped.  Some kids just aren't going to be at grade level reading and that is okay!  They may be really good at other things.  What is wrong with that?  Now we are being audited by the state, and we are required to write the common core standard next to each of our lessons in our plan book.  How is that helping me be a better teacher?  How is that doing any good for the students.  Do you know how long it took me to do that?  I had to look them all up and my lessons hit multiple strands.  Instead, I could have been giving effective, timely feedback on my students' writing.

Just let me do my job!  Let me teach my students!  Let them have a memorable year where they created something cool, learned a ton, and had fun. 

I am not sure why people go into teaching these days.  It has changed so much.  What other job do you make less than when you started.  What other job do yo earn a master's degree by taking classes that you have to pay for and then hardly make any money.  I didn't go into teaching for the money.  I went into it because I love kids.  I love creating things and organizing things.  I love getting kids excited about reading and learning new things.  I love making them laugh and showing them that it is okay to make mistakes.  I love helping them discover their strengths and their weaknesses.  I love my job- teaching kids. . . I just hate all the other crap that comes with it- the crap that doesn't help me be a better teacher or help the kids learn better.  The crap that is coming from the state.

9 comments:

Srivatsan Manivannan said...

Quick, to the point, and very true.
An interesting group of paragraphs.

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chrlat said...

So true. I didn't realise that it was getting this bad. It doesn't matter that them children won't be assessed on it, what matters is that they grow into a well adjusted adult. Childhood is supposed to be the time where you look back and don't have a care in the world... these children are going to have strokes before they even sit their GCSE's.

chrlat said...

Ah, I just looked at your profile and saw that you're from the US... this account was actually so accurate about what is going on in the UK I assumed you must be from here. Guess this is happening everywhere.

Opus T. Penguin said...

Government education. Enough said.

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