Saturday, May 31, 2014

Who Are We? Identity Problem in Education

What is the role of education today?  Do you know?  I'm not sure I do any more.  It seems that everyone in America has a different opinion of what should be happening in our schools today.  These are some "identities" that have my head spinning:

  • The good ole fashion Reading, Writing, 'Rithmatic advocates
  • The Common Core crowd
  • Social Service Agency- why aren't schools identifying our troubled kids sooner?  
  • Sports Camps- what do you mean you want to cut sports?
  • Fine Arts School- what will happen to our society if we don't teach our children art and music?
  • Weight Watchers- schools, you need to do a better job making sure our kids eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, don't you dare cut PE or recess and fix those school lunches
  • Entertainment Committee- school should be fun, we HAVE to have PTA assemblies and fundraiser competitions and movie nights and fun fairs and......... you get my point
  • Cheerleading Squad- PBIS (enough said!)
This is not an exhaustive list, and I'm sure you could add several more.  But it has me begging the question, "Who are we?"  What is my role as a teacher?  I have students in my classroom a very short 6 1/2 hours a day, and not even that when you take out lunch, recess, specials, and assorted therapies.  There are not enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone nor am I sure it's my job.  It also begs the question, where does my role as a teacher stop and the parent's role of raising their child begin?   I have had these thought swimming in my head for awhile now, but something happened at our Staff Meeting yesterday that the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  We were informed that our Governor (Illinois) just signed a bill that extended a law already on the books, and, you guessed it, schools are now a MANDATED part of this law.  It's called Erin's Law and it now mandates that schools now start teaching our Pre-K thru 12th grade students about Child Sexual Abuse.  What?  Really?  Now, here's the thing..... as a Christian and a Human Being I am obviously sickened by any person who could do something so horrific to a child.  It makes me physically ill to think of someone doing that to one of my students or to ANYONE!  And I certainly believe children need to be taught about "stranger danger", good touch/bad touch, etc... .  However, with all that being said, is it the role of schools to do that?  I don't know.... 

I'm having an identity crisis.  I don't know what my role as a teacher or the role of schools should be any more.  I know that my evaluation is now based on student achievement.  I know that as a Special Education Teacher I am accountable to my students IEP goals.  I know that I want my students to reach their fullest potential.  And I know that I LOVE being a teacher. And I know I have very little time during a school day to "get it all done".   Beyond that, I don't know much else, except that if we don't decide as a nation what our Education Identity is, we will never be the Test Score Power House this country seems to expect from our Education System.  We need to decide what the purpose of education is going to be.  I don't pretend to have the answer.  I wish I did.  But I fear our wheels will just keep spinning until "someone" gives us a definitive answer..... and I don't think that's coming any time soon!

Until then, I will continue to do the best I can every day to be the very best teacher I can be, and be as many things to my kiddos that I love as I can and just pray that it's enough.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

A New Journey Begins

Well friends, here it first attempt at blogging.  I have to say that I have wanted to begin this journey for over a year now and just never had the courage to try.   But thanks to my friend and colleague Greg and some Twitter friends, here I am.  It took a challenge from Titter and encouragement from Greg to make jump off the cliff into this new professional land of blogging.  There is something scary yet intriguing about the opportunity to open up and share your thoughts, ideas and opinions with your peers.  What if you offend someone?  What if you say something stupid?  Or, heaven forbid, no one really cares about what you have to say?  Well, so be it.  The victory is in putting myself out there to learn and grow with other educators who are as passionate as I am about teaching and becoming the best I can be for the children I am blessed to teach.

So dear colleagues, as I begin this new journey, I look forward to sharing and learning together!