Monday, September 26, 2011

gee?! ya think?

I just read something on MSNBC that headlined..."The most experience is one to two years". They were talking about teachers. Hmmm....let me think about or two years. I wonder why?

This year I have felt more pressure to get kids' testing scores up than any other year. With the threat that that teacher based or merit based pay is on the horizon - that pressure increases about ten-fold. So why would we have more teachers with one or two years? Perhaps because the rest of the veteran teachers are....oh let me see if I can get this right?.....SICK AND TIRED OF TESTING?!?!?!?!

As a veteran teacher, I am tired of being told that how a student does on a test will determine whether or not I am doing a good job in my room. COME SEE MY ROOM!!!!!!!! This is my challenge again to those doubters that we have it easy, that all the children are behaving and that we can get stuff done every single day the way it needs to go. Seriously, I am inviting you in. I want people to come in and watch what I do everyday. I want you to see how much time I get during the day to plan, to collaborate with my colleages, to see how many speed bumps there are along the way, to deal with students that aren't always behaving....EVERYTHING. I want people to come in and watch and then to consider how unimportant that test is to me at times.

When I tell people that I'm a middle school teacher, inevitably, their response is...."better you than me....I could not do that job." Well, you know what? Perhaps they're right....perhaps they can't, but I like what I do. Not everyday....but overall in the grand scheme, I do.

What I don't like is being told by people who HAVE NEVER been in the profession, how to do my job and what makes a good teacher. I don't like people making educational policy that don't know a lick about urban or public education. I don't like it when people try to tell me how easy my job is when they've never done it before.

People aren't blocks that can be pounded in a space just to fit and especially children. Each person learns differently. Paper and pencil tests just don't cut it anymore....they can't check for everything....they just can't.

So, when I see that most of the teaching population only has one or two years under them...I'm not surprised. Oh, and by the way....most of those teachers are coming out with things that they can teach us don't think their lack of experience is always a negative thing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

each class...

Each class is so different from the other...just as each student is. I'm finding this year that this class is somewhat less mature than my kids last year - but oddly, I like it. They still have a childlike innocence and manner that I'm ok with. It can be annoying at times...especially when you wish they would follow directions the first or second time and not the 15th...but the childlike manner is still attractive.

Right now I have a group in my boy asked if he could dust...he is...everything that he can find to dust. I have kids working together to construct a "building" with Jenga blocks and yet another watching a student create a poster for drama class. It's a different mix of personalities, maturity, and genders.

What I've learned about myself recently is that I'm somewhat unhappy in what I do. I still love teaching but I'm also looking for something else....something that will help make me feel a little more complete. I've found that it's music...and that I am going to have to do something with it or "perhaps perish!"

But even now as I watch the kids running, shouting, pushing and shoving in the hall to get to lunch....I'm still content here as well. They have ups and downs just like adults and I can safely say that there will be times that I wonder why I'm doing this - but I'm still ever in awe of these kids at times....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

new year...

It's been a while I know...while everyone thought I was doing fun stuff - which I was, I was also working.

So far this year, I've been pleasantly surprised. I came into the year not really wanting to be here. It wasn't the kids or staff or was just a feeling of extreme tiredness. Once things got going though...I was good.

This summer Ron Clark came out with a new book, "The End of Molasses Classes". I was very excited to read it and it hit home. He has a way of saying things that you want to say and in a nicer way than sometimes teachers want to say it. I enjoyed the book a lot! GO AND GET A COPY!!!

I have some pretty interesting students this year. Skill wise - it's like they clustered my classes, but I can work with that and am also so very lucky to have a collaborative teacher in my room for an entire block! Last was kind of crazy. Our special education teachers could only be there for a certain amount of was harder to truly collaborate. The woman I work with this year is hard working and knows how to teach differently than I do...which I really need. I've worked with other collaborative teachers in the past and each one has taught me something. I appreciate ANYONE who works in special education...all the paperwork and extra little things they keep throwing at these guys is crazy!

I'm also starting to feel better about my new team. Last year, I returned to 7th grade after about 8 years in the 8th grade. I wasn't sure about where my place was on this new team...this year, I feel better. Our literacy department is working a little more fluidly as is our grade level team. I'm excited about what we could do this year. We're starting to create units and lessons that go along with our new IB program. I like the way it's heading and I hope that it goes well.

I'm starting to see myself as hopeful this year as we start. I'm trying to be positive....I'm trying to be hopeful and I'm trying to see the bigger picture right now.

I will say that I'm still feeling a little beat up from last year...and I can't say that it isn't still coming looking at today's paper and seeing what our state would like to move to...but I'm hoping that we can whether the storm. I guess we'll see how positive I can remain as well.... :-)