Hi, My Loves∼
Hope your summer is off to a great start!!!
As you all know I left the classroom last November, as a teacher, but returned as a literacy coach working primarily with teachers in the classroom side by side focusing on everything literacy. Not that I am an expert as I am still learning.
Most of my work involved having conversations with teachers and administrators to find areas in which teachers wanted to continue growing. With the hope that students would benefit academically.
Research shows that if we can get children on or above reading level in the early years before 3rd grade, their chances of success across the board increases. We also know that reading – as cliche as it sounds – is FUNDAMENTAL.
“We know that children who are not kindergarten ready are half as likely to read well by third grade, and research has shown that quality pre-K has lasting positive impacts on children’s health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes,” said CLI CEO Joel Zarrow. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support teachers in implementing effective early literacy practices and fostering student growth so that more children enter kindergarten fully prepared. While CLI has been supporting pre-K instruction for over 15 years, RFA’s evaluation will help us to continue refining and improving our Blueprint curriculum and professional development so that we continue to see even better outcomes for students and teachers.” Children’s Literacy Initiative
Anyway with all that said I went into the classrooms armed with research and some best practice models to support teachers. Hopefully.
Now I have to say I was a little worried and maybe slightly intimidated, after all who was I to tell anyone that it could be done better. My experience as a teacher reminded me that as teachers we are very possessive of our classrooms and our students.
We already have plenty of folks telling us what we are doing wrong, so I wanted to make sure that I celebrated my teachers for all their accomplishments first and recognized the amazing work they were already doing. I entered the classroom with a different approach – educators are always learning and growing.
Now I have to say that being on the outside looking in, I don’t really know how I lasted as long as I did.
Teaching has to be the most unappreciated profession out there. Like literally at the bottom of the career totem pole.
It’s a wonder we even have people who still want to teach.
Talk about the pressures!!! My teachers never knew from one day to the next what to expect. They were bombarded daily with data, data, data. They were bombarded with daily mandates to try this and or that, never giving one thing a chance to see if it worked. They were bombarded with daily walkthroughs by individuals – groups of individuals – who are so far removed from the realities that occur in the classrooms telling them “students are failing because you’re failing”.
Imagine going to work everyday knowing that others already thought you failed?!?!
I found myself clearly being able to empathize as I was fresh out of the classroom.
I would walk into classrooms to find my teachers rushing to meet deadlines, testing deadlines, bulletin board deadlines, pressure to increase reading scores with no regard to all it entails to be prepared to enter classrooms and teach all with a smile and hunched shoulders. Sad.
Let me explain to you all that is required to go into a classroom to teach your children.
Lesson plans so detailed that it takes hours and hours to prepare without a curriculum to fall back on or use as a resource. Analyzing of data to see where they failed and what needs to be done to do better. Testing on a weekly sometimes daily basis. Differentiation of independent work time to 20 students sometimes more because a teacher is out for weeks sometimes months without a substitute. Missed preps (planning time) that are crucial planning for teachers so they have less to take home. Going into grade level meetings where you are not asked for your input but rather told what to do by people who do not know your kids. Leveling libraries, posting student work monthly with constructive feedback students can’t understand. Literally squeezing every minute, every second of everyday with so much “stuff” it’s too much to list.
My head spins just thinking about it.
All of this without one word of appreciation from ANYONE, sometimes parents included because they’ve been sucked into this culture of you need to pressure your kids to do more more more- some of which is not even developmentally appropriate.
And FYI, this is at the primary level, Kindergarten to 2nd grade, let’s not even talk about the upper grades.
Listen at the end of the day we all want our children to strive in schools. To feel loved and cared for. But isn’t it time to just stop and let teachers teach? I thought if the goal is to get our students to love reading, why not let them read? Why not let them manipulate books? Why not let children develop a love of reading so they can desire reading? Why not allow teachers to model what reading is? Holding a book in a quiet corner of the classroom while everyone interacts with books.
Why is a 1st grader expected to think critically about books instead of enjoying them?
Anyway, I am getting off on a tangent, but you get the drift, right? I hope.
I don’t know if this is the end all, be all for me, however, I did learn that teachers really need a cheerleader in their corner and I hope I was that for the teachers I met and worked with.
They were one of the most caring, dedicated, and professional bunch I’ve ever worked with and I give them KUDOS for the work they do- day in, day out.
Teaching is not an easy task, it requires a person to really love it, to do it well.
So the next time you think about your child and teachers and schools remember this:
Teachers are not only educators, they are nurses, social workers, psychologists, and even parents to your children who you have entrusted to them for nearly 8 hours a day if you count before school and after care.
Teachers don’t need accolades. I didn’t. I just wanted someone to believe in me and that I was doing my best work, out of love.
So thank a teacher next time you go for a parent teacher conference, or an event a school or even merely seeing your child’s teacher out at Target or something.
I learned a lot this year and know I have so much more to grow and learn to do my best work.
One of my favorite quotes is from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.”
I know I try every time I walk into my school building and I know the teachers I worked with definitely do!
Thanks my loves for stopping by and reading. Happy Summer!