“Stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale. Why do you think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions?” I’m participating in a sponsored campaign with #readmissionpossible and the SITS Girls, to answer this question and host a giveaway.
It wasn’t troublemaking or bullying… it was boredom.
They had already mastered all of the 5th grade math objectives.
And so I decided to teach those two 6th grade math instead, to make their boredom go away.
Until I was informed that since 6th grade math was not on the state standardized test at the end of the year, I was not allowed to teach it.
I tried reasoning that the students had to know the 5th grade math in order to do the 6th grade math, so I wasn’t concerned about their performance. But, that was it: everyone could only be taught the standard 5th grade curriculum.
Unable to accomplish my job at a high level? Check.
But as to why this country treats teachers so differently, there are many factors. I’ll just touch on two for now.
Teachers’ performance is a matter of public record. You can see the standardized test score averages for any given school or grade or sometimes even class(though of course, student names are not released). There’s not many jobs out there where your job performance is available for anyone to see. But test scores don’t tell the full story. One year, one of my students received a Level II on her Reading state test(Level III being what is proficient), but what that number didn’t tell you is that she had grown the equivalent of 4 grade levels in reading since the beginning of the year. Having a test score be the determining factor in teacher success is frustrating.
And since almost all of us went through the school system, there’s a tendency for people to think they know how things should be done and even how teachers should be teaching. But let me tell you: there is a WORLD of difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach someone else how to do it. For that reason, I think kindergarten teachers have one of the hardest jobs there is.
Mission Possible was written by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia. This book provides practical, class-room tested ideas for improving teaching and learning, along with how to use the Success Academy Charter Schools’ THINK Literacy program. A companion DVD provides related clips and interviews.
To enter: Leave a comment below telling me one thing you like about your child’s school(we focus a lot on the negative in American schools- but it’s not all bad!). US 18+ only, please. Giveaway winner will be selected and notified Thursday 8/9, after 9pm ET.