I want to relate a conversation that I recently had with someone I know very well. This person is a well-respected high school teacher; the kind of teacher that all the kids like and this teacher genuinely cares for the well-being of her students. The conversation went something like this:
Teacher: “I hate my job.”
Me: “Really, what’s wrong?”
Teacher: “I hate my job; every teacher that I know hates their job.”
Me: “What happened that you hate your job? You used to love your job.”
Teacher: “I don’t get to teach the students anymore.”
Me: “What do you do all day with the kids?”
Teacher: “We spend every day preparing kids for state testing and to make sure we meet all state requirements. It doesn’t matter at all if the kids actually learn the subject matter; all that matters is how well they do with their test scores. Teachers are graded on how well their classes do on testing, nothing else matters.”
Me: “Do you get to meet with students to help them throughout the day or after school?”
Teacher: (laugh) “You must be joking. We spend every free moment filling out reports for the administration. We have to fill out a *CCP Report, a DNL Report, a SLST Report along with several other reports. It’s nothing but paperwork and a complete waste of time. After school we have constant meetings with administration; there is absolutely no time to spend with children and all these reports and meetings are a complete waste of time.”
Me: “Can’t the teachers speak up and demand that the system be changed?”
Teacher: (laugh) “Speak up to whom? The administrators want to keep their jobs and their jobs will be in jeopardy if they buck the system. Teachers want to keep their jobs because they all know there are thousands of unemployed teachers waiting in the wings to take their job. All that matters is supporting the system, the same system that is destroying the teaching profession.”
Am I the only persona alarmed by this conversation? I can assure you that this isn’t an isolated teacher complaining or an isolated school district that has lost its way. These cries have been echoing from dismayed teachers across our country for years but no one seems to be listening. Experienced teachers have been retiring en mass over the past few years and all have given the exact same reason for their early retirement; “I don’t get to teach anymore. It’s all about meeting artificial standards that have no practical application. Our children are suffering but nobody cares.”
Over the past decade our education system has been hijacked by liberal theorists (thank you President Obama) who spend all their time talking with other liberal theorists but in actuality couldn’t teach a chicken how to lay an egg. Anyone who has been teaching for a few years and has even the tiniest amount of commons sense sees that the changes that have been forced upon our national education system are….STUPID! It doesn’t take a genius to know that teaching our children that it takes 32 separate steps to multiply two numbers is…STUPID! When two parents with college educations cannot help their third grade child with math homework because they have absolutely no idea what the teacher is looking for, that’s a sure sign that there is something…STUPID going on. When teachers who have taught for ten and twenty years are saying that the system is preventing them from teaching their students, then that must mean that something….well you get the point.
The longer we continue down this rabbit hole of STUPID education policies then the harder it will be to reverse the course and restore sanity to our schools. Our teachers need help because they are afraid to speak out and when they do no one is listening and our children are ultimately paying the price.
*I couldn’t remember the real abbreviations for the reports so I made these up for context.