Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Bit Beaten Down

Sorry for the lag in posting. Getting back in the routine of school is always a killer.....PLUS.....this is "crunch time" for me as an English/Writing teacher. Our state-mandated test for writing is coming up in February. I can't say too much about it here, since my blog is no longer anonymous......BUT....

You know I gotta say somethin'! ha!

It's really discouraging at times like these to be a teacher. I don't care what you hear on talk radio or read in the paper....MOST public school educators truly care about kids. They/We really do. We love them. We have dedicated our lives and taken a "hit" to our livelihood because we truly love what we do.

Again, I can't say much, but, high-stakes testing SUCKS. It is NOT the way to take care of kids and to ensure that "All students can learn". This has become the sort of mantra of the public schools over the past decade or so. All Students Can Learn. As if we, the educators, the really good ones, didn't already know that. What that statement really meant, when it came out was....."don't ignore the special needs or ethnic groups who haven't had the same background and experiences that all the middle-class, well-fed white kids have had as you are teaching." Because, honestly, in the past, it seems that something like that must have been happening. White kids outscored the ethnics (well, maybe unless you were somewhere with a big Asian population)....but....anyway....that's where it seems to have come from. (this is ALL MY OPINION.....based on 18 years in the trenches)

And so now, we are living and trying to SURVIVE as teachers, in the backlash and huge compensation for that dilemma. We meet, we make lists, we meet about the lists, we teach a day or two, then meet again and recheck the lists and graphs. We have substitutes come in so we can go over the data. And then, we get to teach again for a day or two. And then we meet in the mornings or after school about the data and the lists and we revise the lists.

It's CRAZINESS. Absolute craziness.

My students are going to do well on the test. I'm committed to that. In between all the meeting, listing, data....blah blah blah.....I'm going to keep doing what is best for my kids in my classroom each and every day.

And that's why I haven't been blogging much lately. My mind is befuddled right now and my body is just now getting readjusted to the rigors of getting up and going every day. Christmas break was SO good! :)

Hope all is well.

love and grace,
pam
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9 comments:

Steve said...

It's great to hear from ya, Pam... clearly you're putting first things first.

Growing up with teachers (Mom, step-dad) it was easy to see where tremendous respect was due. I've sought out teaching opportunities in technical work I've done, and loved it, but always been amazed that y'all are committed to being on stage for so many hours in a work day, with hours yet to go to write the next day's script.

You're a hero. Take care of yourself, friend.

grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grace said...

Steve,
It's funny...but...the "on stage" part of it is a big reason I thrive in that arena...that and the relationships with the kids. It truly is a different strokes for different folks sort of endeavor.

On a lighter note...and safely "buried" here in the comments....I had to grade 130 essays today for our latest common assessment. One of the highlights of the day was a phonetic spelling. I stress to my students to use the words they KNOW...their vocabulary....even if they are not comfortable spelling the words correctly. Today, I found a sort of an "epiphany" of a word spelled phonetically. "heckdick"
As in: I can't decide what to do first, my schedule is to "heckdick". or...
My, my, what a "heckdick" group of children I see waiting in line to enter the museum.

Is that not just priceless??? This made my day. At some point, in grading these essays...you must either laugh or cry. I choose to laugh.

Thanks for your encouragement, Steve....you "heckdick" man, you!

love,
pam

Robert said...

Hay Payum!
Serry bout thu heckdick dai. Mai old boifrend yoos to werk in ay elumentery skool 2. Hee wuz in the frunt ofis. Hee allso had funnie storys 2 tel. Hee thot werking in the publik skool must bee lik werking in the Kongow ass uh mishunaree becus everthin round him wus so old and per and the parunts wer lik crazie bacwerd savujez.

grace said...

Robert,
LOL LOL LOL

only a true educator could truly appreciate the sad reality of your comment!

LOL

I hesistate but can't resist mentioning the note recieved explaining the child's absense...a fine note about his sickness...

however...on the back of the note was the "walmart list" which read:

toilet paper
condoms
tylenol

it was a toss up as to whether or not i should return the note for fear of the parent forgetting that most important item, hence the repurcussions of having to teach yet another generation of said children needing notes as to why they were sick.....

you're the best!
love,
pam

grace said...

Hey...Maybe that should be the byline on all the newsletters sent home from public school nation-wide...
somewhere down at the bottom...in semi-small print...

"Don't forget the condoms!"

it works for sex-ed AND the future of our nation.....hey...let's consider it!

Robert said...

Pam,

That is an excellent, nonconfrontational solution to the problem!

Another, stiff-tempered teacher might firmly ejaculate to these thick and hard parents that condoms are important to emasculate the problem of breeding flaccidly-minded kids.

Bill said...

Pam,

Since you are a public school teacher, there is something I've been meaning to ask you about. How do you feel about state-mandated testing?

Just kidding! I believe one of the most fertile mission fields in the world is in the public schools. You are, in my estimation, doing the Lord's work by helping our young people become productive members of society.

BTW, I once was one of those incorrigible, recalcitrant, seemingly unredeemable young people whose life was positively impacted by a dear Christian woman who was my high school English/Speech teacher. Who knows what those young people you are lovingly pouring your life into will turn out to be?

So, I encourage you, dear sister, be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Blessings,
-bill

Timothy Kincaid said...

Huh... my high school English teacher was a chain smoking hard-core libertarian. And my favorite teacher.

I don't smoke, but much of my political thought can be directly attributed to being introduced to Ayn Rand as a high school sophomore.