My pay as a teacher should be based on my performance, so come into my classroom anytime you want and see what I do. What I cannot control is my students' lack of motivation to complete the assignments I work hard to prepare. I cannot control their apathy towards the standardized tests the state rolls out. It is unfair to evaluate me and base my pay or my "performance" on the performance of my students, especially based on ONE TEST that is four hours long - a test of endurance even for the highest achieving students. In the private sector is your raise or evaluation based on the performance of the guy in the cubicle next to you? The one who listens to his iPod all day, texts his friends, talks back to the boss, starts fights with his co-workers, is late to work every day, who never hands in a project by the deadline? I don't think so. Would you stay at a job where you haven't had even a basic cost of living raise in five years? In fact, where you received a paycut? I didn't think so. Stop teacher bashing and listen to what we have to say.
I cannot force a child to take a stake in his education; I can provide engaging opportunities to learn and succeed. At some point the onus is on the student. I have upwards of 30 students in my classes for 90 minutes at a time, 3 classes a day, so I am responsible for at least 90 students each and every day for 180 days out of the year. I spend hours of unpaid time calling parents, preparing lessons, staying after school to help my students be the best they can be. I attend countless days of professional development to improve my strategies, to bridge the gap, to improve reading levels and various other "bandaids" that are thrown at us. I think the perception that the majority of teachers are incompetent is completely off base. Everyone I know works hard for YOUR children, as do I.
As a parent of two school-aged children, it is up to me to make sure they are well prepared and attend school every day. I wish I could say the same of the parents of all of my students. Don't make the teachers' job harder by teaching your children that the teachers are the enemy. Too many children are being taught that education holds no value.
Longer days? I leave at 7 and get home around 5. I don't get paid for my 10 hour day. I grade and plan for at least 6 hours each Sunday and for at least 2 hours every night. Unpaid. Phone calls home? That's in my "free time" too, on my own dime. But ok, bring it on. A longer school year? Ok, but make sure your child has pencils and his completed homework everyday.
It takes a village to educate a child. This teacher is tired of being the village scapegoat, sacrificed to the parents, the media, the state and the Dept of Ed each and every day.
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