Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Defeated? Yup, but I'll still teach!

Sometimes I feel that teachers are always being attacked for various reasons. Most people think that it's a 9-3 job and we skip out of the building (well, I do when it's a long weekend/vacation). Or because we have 2-3 months off in the summer. Or because of the snow days we get with our jobs. 

But lately, it has been a rough time for teachers in New York. And honestly, it doesn't look like the sun will be shining brighter any time soon.

Ever since we made the shift to the Common Core curriculum, there have been nothing disagreement as to whether or not it is the right thing for students. Essentially, they want to ensure that all students are graduating high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career and life, regardless of where they live. People say its because standards are not the same from state to state (well hello, neither is curriculum at times) and that students progress has fluctuated. 

Being that my content (Spanish/French) does not really get affected by the common core, I have mixed feelings about it. However, some of the things they are having students do can be beneficial (teaching text based evidence citing early on, etc). I do see some of the math teachers struggling to come up with lessons because they have to go from scratch. 

NY state tests begin next week (what a nice welcome back from break!) and I know many kids are going to opt out of taking them. It doesn't count towards their grade...yet the teachers are rated on it to see whether or not they are highly effective, effective, or developing. 

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, had a new plan that was voted on last week. And the teachers of New York state are furious. What does he want to do? Well, first off can I say it's the fourth time in FIVE YEARS the teacher evaluation system has been changed?! They want to have independent evaluators come and observe you as opposed to your supervisor. Districts could "swap" principals for evaluations. So someone who has no idea about my kids, my teaching style, and my curriculum is going to tell me if I am an effective teacher or not? Not cool. Our teaching performance will be tied to student test scores (those state assessments) that are aligned to common core standards. Here's the kicker...they want scores to be tied to you on tests/curriculum you don't teach to kids you may not have. HOW ON EARTH IS THAT FAIR?

And if you are "ineffective" for three years, you can be terminated. The more I read, the more I am seeing that if you are "ineffective" for two years, you can be removed in as little as 90 days. SCARY. Again, all going back to test scores. 

He also wants to change tenure from three years to four years. You have to be rated effective for three of those years This is I am scared about because my position this year is part time and I may be full time next year. It is in effect for those hired after July 1, 2015 (which I was not) but since I would be full time (hopefully!) next year, this could apply to be. All I can say is this.will.blow.big.time.

Teachers cannot also be evaluated based on actual teaching artifacts or student work unless they are assessed by a state approved system.

I cannot say this enough, what the future of education holds is unstable, scary and makes you feel defeated if you're teaching in NY! This article explains a lot how teachers feel. I am a teacher. My brother & SIL are teachers. My cousin & his wife are music teachers. My Aunt Elaine is a kindergarten teacher. I have a handful of friends who are teachers. You used to be able to say your job as a teacher was safe (unless you pulled a Mary Kay Letourneau with a student) and now its not. 

Honestly, I don't know what the future holds. I love what I do. Yes, some days I am about to lose my marbles because I have to repeat myself 23528235369453463 times as to what page we are on in the packet or what the homework is. I may think a lesson is great and it flops. Sometimes I even feel like I have no idea what I am doing. But then you get the kids that go "I actually could understand French when I heard it" and the ones that ask "Are we playing Simon Dice with the new vocabulary?!" And it makes it worth all the while. 

And to end this on maybe a brighter note, here are some of my favorite teacher memes/funny ecards:

1 comment:

  1. I hate that "tests tell all"! I'm not in the classroom yet (in grad school full time) but I hope to be in the next year or so and sometimes I think I know what to expect, but other times I think I have no idea!! You sound like a great teacher. I'm sure your students love you!! PS I was nominated for the Liebster award, and part of it is nominating other people and you were one of mine :) Check it out on my blog! kyliemcgraw.wordpress.com