Friday, November 4, 2011

I Teach

The Kids who will be Successful...   
October 31, 2011
Please read article in the link above, as well as the link I posted in the prior entry, and then see below.
Dear Parents,
As we educators and parents alike are bombarded with technology and pressured to believe our kids will only succeed if they use as much of it as possible in our schools, the reality is quite the opposite. 
Children who are allowed to BE children, to play, and openly explore materials and environments without structure, are the children of the future.  THEY are the next CEOs and inventors because they have learned to question, experiment, adventure, make mistakes, and create.  In this article, some of the wealthiest, most educated parents who work IN the computer industry are choosing to send their children to schools where there are NO computers and where children do the thinking for themselves at the level that is developmentally right for them.
Many of you moved to this community BECAUSE of the good school system.
I encourage you to read up on this and to find out what is happening to your child's school system as a result of pressures and legislation from people who have no idea what is best for children and who haven't set foot in a classroom.  They need to hear from YOU, from parents and the community.  They have already painted teachers as lazy, over-paid, undeserving people.  Public schools are under attack, and I don't believe in privatizing schools to make money off of children.  They are not a product.  Every child doesn't necessarily show their intelligence or aptitude on a standardized test.  Teachers can't possibly logically be paid and evaluated based on their students' test scores.  Children aren't part of an industry.  They don't come off an assembly line and they can't be counted as products sold.  Look at how unique YOUR child is!
Teachers alone are not responsible for a child's success or failure.  Developmentally, a child's personality is pretty much set by age 5, before we even get them into our classrooms. If they haven't had their basic needs met at home, they quite literally cannot learn.  Their brains physically will not be able to take in and make sense of information.  Children need both parents and teachers to educate them.   Parents need to partner with schools and find out what is happening out there, and do something about it before it is too late.
There is a perception of unions protecting "bad" teachers, and a perception that teachers only work from 8:30-3:30.  There is a perception that we have summers "off".  There is misinformation that is wreaking havoc, RIGHT NOW, in your child's school system, and it's not something the superintendent can control; it's coming from the TOP.  The legislators that you and I vote for.  In every school, perhaps there is 1 teacher who isn't the best.  Maybe. Is that enough to paint the entire profession with tar?
We come in on weekends, early mornings, evenings, holidays, and summer days to work to make your child's education the best we can.  We pay for our own classes that are required by the state each summer.  We have master's degrees in education, child development, reading, writing... we care more than we sometimes should for each child in our room.  We take home their troubles with us at night.  We worry over the summer.  We spend quite literally over a thousand dollars a year of our own money on our classroom and students. And we will continue to do this until it is made impossible to do.  Even with all the cuts and all the criticisms, we don't have it in us to work less or care less.  We had our rooms ready for that first ice cream social night.  You didn't come in to find furniture still put away or piles of books that needed sorting, or any of the other million little things we did to get ready.  We were only contractually expected to be there THAT DAY.  Most of us were here for the entire month prior.  I can speak for myself; I was here from August 1st until the day your child walked in the door.  I spent a solid week in July taking a class to further my education.  I spent part of the rest of my summer learning a new curriculum.  I missed 5 days with my own family, most of whom I see once every 6 years because they live out of state.  Their reunion was the week before school started.  School came first.  Your child came first.
Recently my own parents were listening to me rant about some of the requirements coming down the pipe from the lawmakers.  They heard my frustration with the expectations for our students that are simply not right.  They watched me spend most of my Saturday on my lesson plans and half of my Sunday beginning report cards.  And my dad said to me, "I don't think parents KNOW what's going on.  You need to tell them."  and so I am.  Many of you who volunteer know at least how hard we work.  Some of you ARE educators or are related to them, so you know.  But on the off chance that anyone wasn't aware?  We have some stories to tell you.  We need you to fight for your children, for their education and their future.
We LOVE what we do, and we LOVE your children, but lawmakers are making it hard to do what we know is right for kids. I urge you to get involved, find out what is going on, and make a difference.

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