Teaching has never been an easy career. We are tasked with educating the future. Students come to us from various backgrounds, cultures, learning levels… you name it we have seen it, heard it, and taught it. So why is 2021-2022 school so hard?
Titanic has finally hit the iceberg, that’s why.
Listen educators have been saying for YEARS, DECADES!!!!! that there is a problem. Remember in the movie when they saw iceberg but it was too late….well this is literally Titanic hitting that iceberg and the ship sinking.
No one wanted to listen us when we told y’all this was problem. No wanted to listen when we said things have got to change.
We asked y’all for more guidance counselors, smaller class sizes, increase in pay, administration support, less state mandated testing, more resources, but what we got was a hearty pat on the back a retention bonus that was taxed and random early release days.
The paradigm has shifted. Children are coming to us with so much trauma and lack of parental support. Schools, teachers are asked and almost demanded to raise our students on top of educating them. This issue goes deeper than education. This is an American problem where EVERYONE has to work and in order to work someone has to take care of the kids. When women were burning bras wanting to work outside the home….hello consequences. As cost living goes up but pay does not….hello consequences. 40 hour work week…..hello consequences. No one is home to help lay the foundation that children are supposed to come to school with. Curriculums are created with the idea that students are coming to school starting with the same foundation and have the same support at home. Ha joke is on them.
Students are coming to school with no foundational skills or various amounts of foundation skills. Picture it.
Kindergarten classroom with 28 kids no teacher assistant or para educator. These 28 kids are in a classroom built designed and created for 15 kids. 15 of those students are not native English speakers 3 of the non native English speaker do not speak any English. 5 students will have documentation started for IEPs or 504s. 20 students will not have family support at home. 3 students are above grade level. 8 are on grade level. 17 are below grade level. 25 students have never been to preschool.
Teacher is handed a curriculum that says review the 26 letters of the alphabet because students should already be able to identify the letters so we won’t spend a lot of time actually teaching letter ID, we have to focus on letter sounds. Remember those 17 students that are below grade level, they cannot identify the letters of the alphabet. Only 11 students can. 3 students are ready to read because they know their letter sounds. Somehow the teacher is supposed to differentiate the instruction to reach all 28 students, this is usually done in small groups. Teachers can only conduct small group instruction if students can independently work. Guess what students are unable to do….work independently. Those students who are being monitored have behavior problems that disrupt learning and other students. Those students who are below grade are frustrated because they do not understand and sometimes cause disruptions out of frustration. Two students have extreme behavior challenges which creates an unsafe learning environment. The teacher is constantly dealing with the behavior challenges. Students are ushered off to lunch and recess. The teacher spends that time making copies and documenting the challenges so far. Math instruction does not get any better. Now the behavior challenge is throwing supplies and turning over chairs and tables screaming and yelling. Administration is called. Student is removed. The teacher and the other students have to regroup themselves to move forward in their day. 10 students are now hungry but no snack time and the end of the day is two hours away. The student that was removed is returned to class. Someone stays and sits with the student for 30 minutes. Now it is time to pack up and go to specials. The students are ushered to their specials class. The teacher documents what happened with the student. Uses the bathroom and maybe grab a candy for lunch. This was a calm day compared to other days. There was no time to plan. Barely time to eat. Little administration support because this is not the only class with behavior challenges.
Once upon a time, there was maybe ONE student in the entire building that created havoc and terror that destroyed property, hitting, kicking, screaming. Now we have at least one student per class. There is only ONE guidance counselor and if you are lucky she is full time at your school and not part-time where you share her with another school or those guidance counselors that are split between three or four schools. The school psychologist is shared between a cluster of schools.
Once upon a time, you could actually plan during your planning period. Now you are in meetings or documenting, returning phone calls, answering emails, hunting down admin for support, making copies, sitting in the room with the lights off trying to hold yourself together.
Parents are only showing up to complain about things that are out of our control. We cannot masks mandates. We cannot control what curriculum is being used. We cannot control another student flipping tables and chairs. We cannot control CRT. We cannot control being quarantined. We cannot control decisions made by the board of education. We just show up and do the job we are told to do.
No one trusts us to our job which is why education has finally hit the iceberg. Ladies and gentlemen get ready for the robots to start teaching your students. When I say robots, I am talking about warm bodies. You will not have people in classrooms who actually care and are willing to spend money out of their pockets to make the classroom warm and inviting and supplement the curriculum. They are going to teach word for word from the teacher editions. They are going follow a script that was handed to them and not know how to adjust, adapt, or differentiate for various needs. They are going to leave faster than the current teachers because they are not invested. Think about the long term effects of this.
Parents we need your help and support. Teachers are not the ones in charge. Our children are suffering. We want to do what is right and best for our children but we cannot without parent support. Please start raising hell about things that matter long-term.