Originally posted at educatedtodeath.com
I’m a good teacher now. I covered my walls with posters, and motivational phrases as I was told. I put colorful paper on my door so evaluators could tell I care about my students. I even put up the competitive sticker chart so my students can compete for the highest grade. I’ve even started implementing divisive tactics to turn them against one another. I planted the rumor that one student intended to get the top test score for herself. I’ve created this routine that involves students moving in a unified pattern at a unified pace into their desks. I consider this collaboration. And, it’s really quite amazing. They appear to be working together. I’ve trained them to appear that way, but beneath that is a brewing resentment. Each student is working hard to out do the other. I’ve shifted my focus from learning to achieving. Grades are now the most important thing. I’ve finally stopped deviating from my lesson plan to explore a related to the topic or our needs as human beings. I’ve scripted and timed my lesson plans. It’s brilliant. If I’m not present anyone who can read can come in and do my job. I’m still talking in meetings I’ve just started agreeing with the 3rd party evaluators. I used to question what they were telling us—for my sake, the sake of other teachers, and for students. But I was wrong. They’re right. They hold the evaluations. They are in the know. If students aren’t performing on tests then they’re not learning. It’s so clear to me. It’s important for testing and publishing companies to make money. After all, the corporation has a soul. It’s a person too. I’m a teacher and I care. So I will do as I’m told. Please join me. We can only be unified if we’re divided beneath.
And remember, it’s best to scrutinized constantly. It will help you cleanse your own soul.
It’s difficult to generalize a response or offer advice other than to encourage everyone to help kids, parents, tax-payers, and policy-makers understand what’s happening to children, learning, and the teaching profession in schools. The more posts like these showing up as op-ed and fliers and community meetings the better. Anything to jumpstart local conversation about what we value in schools as a precondition for change.
In solidarity over protecting kids and learning,
It’s also difficult to say what would do if I were in this position … Yes, I feel the frustration abiding with the regularly arriving mandates, justified most likely only by keeping one’s job and maybe a small increase in salary. But I’m really not 100% sure what I would do – as much as I know what I should do!!! As noted in the comment above, the absolute minimal response must be discussion – with colleagues, with neighbors, and elected / policy officials. Paraphrasing Will Rogers, finding ourselves in a whole, we MUST first stop digging. To do that, we must get the dialogue going – at a minimum.
This made me feel incredibly sad.
It is sad, but we can do something about it beginning with a genuine and open conversation.
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