January 4, 2014

I Would Love to Teach But

Today, a former coworker sent me a link to this Washington Post article titled, "I would Love to Teach But..." It's a little lengthy, but as an educator, I appreciate that she put so much thought into her message.

I will be the first to admit that I was naive to many of the issues that face our children daily. I thought I knew about it, but the truth was, until I worked with disadvantaged youth that I was really able to understood how their circumstances impacted education.

This article makes me want to shout from the rooftops and also curl up and cry. It breaks my heart to see so many passionate teachers leaving the profession because of they are tired of dealing with the unrealistic expectations, lack of support, and endless paperwork.

If you don't have the time right now to read her whole article, I'll share some of my favorite parts;

"Teachers are held to impossible standards, and students are accountable for hardly any part of their own education and are incapable of failing. I learned quickly that if I graded students accurately on their poor performance, then I have failed, not them. The attention is turned on me, the teacher, who is criticized, evaluated, and penalized for the fleeting wills of adolescents."

"Teacher planning time has been so swallowed by the constant demand to prove our worth to the domination of oppressive teacher evaluation methods that there is little time for us to carefully analyze student work, conduct our own research, genuinely better ourselves through independent study instead of the generic mandated developments, or talk informally with our co-workers about intellectual pursuits."

"It is counter-productive to watch my students slouch under the weight of a system that expects them to perform well on tests that do not measure their true abilities, only memorization and application, and therefore do not measure their readiness for the next grade level—much less life, career, or college."

"Education cannot be objectively measured. It never could, and our problems began when we came to that realization and instead of embracing it, decided to force it into a quantifiable box that is much too small and too much the wrong shape."

"It is not the place of outsiders to make one-size-fits-all mandates to a world of different shapes and proportions. In doing so, they create an atmosphere where pebbles are polished and diamonds dimmed."

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