I have been teaching for nine years in the public school setting. In that nine years, I have seen many changes in educational procedures and curriculum. This year I have felt more overwhelmed than ever before in my career. I have always loved teaching young people. Although I teach English, I have always felt that it is more important to let people know that I teach children, not a subject area; however, my whole perspective of my career is changing. I have always loved going to work, gaining rapport with my students, and teaching a subject that is dear to my heart.
Unfortunately, education is changing dramatically, and I thought it would be a great thing when I first heard of these changes. I was excited about the new Common Core curriculum because I thought it would allow the students to really initiate great discussion and allow the students to play an initiative role in their education; however, the main thing that I have noticed so far is more paperwork, more stress on the teacher, and more aggravation from the students.
The Common Core curriculum sounds really good on paper: It is supposed to allow for student lead discussions and projects. The new curriculum is supposed to initiate more complex ideas, more analytical thinking, and more student driven discussion. Theoretically speaking, this sounds like a great concept, and I was so excited to jump on board to deeper thinking in the classroom.
For the most part, I have noticed a tremendous amount of paperwork on the teachers part getting AIP’s together (a plan that is supposed to assist students who score less than proficient in any one area); more paperwork for modifications, and more paperwork for the new teacher assessment. Teachers are now not only responsible for teaching and modifying for each student, but we are also required to teach lessons and then provide proof that we modified, proof that we taught each area of the lesson, and proof that we are superb teachers, even though we are told that we cannot be a distinguished teacher at all times. I think it is setting a lot of people up to be failures if you cannot be in the distinguished category at all times. Our students are already tested to death, so why must we also have an additional assessment for teachers to put on a “dog and pony” show in the classroom for an evaluator? Isn’t growth in a tested area supposed to indicate that our teaching is effective? Why should we provide “special teaching paperwork and documents” to an evaluator?
I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t like my job, because I love teaching. I just hate the fact that my job doesn’t consist of much teaching anymore. I spend more time working on paperwork and documentation that I do teaching the actual lessons. Something has gone astray here! I just want to get back to enjoying literature with my students, introducing them to the classics, and seeing that spark arise in them when they realize they can actually read William Shakespeare and enjoy it!