Sunday, August 15, 2010

under my teacher "umbrella": mama, coach, encourager, disciplinarian, nurse, therapist...and now, magician

I love my job as a teacher. It's really the only career I've ever pictured for myself, and I truly enjoy it most days. I counted the other day and I've had 98 students (including my current ones) in my 3+ years of teaching. That's 98 little people that I've had the chance to impact; what an awesome opportunity (and responsibility)!

I try really hard to focus on the positive in things and to spend minimal time dwelling on the negative. If it's something I can't change, I try to accept it and move on. As I've spent my afternoon preparing for the first full week of school starting tomorrow, it occurred to me that I'm going to have to be a magician as well as a teacher this year. I'm going to have to make the state and district-mandated timeframes magically fit into my day. I've got about 6 hours of mandates to fit into a 5 hour instructional period. Hmmmm. I'm no genius, but that doesn't quite work, does it?

There is such a push for MORE in education right now. MORE reading. MORE math. MORE techology. MORE small group instruction. After all, No Child Left Behind states that 100% of American students should be proficient in reading and math by 2014. (I'm going to say nothing else about that statement. It could get ugly.) It truly would take a magician to make it all work. When working within a set timeframe (say, a school day) it's impossible to add MORE without doing something else LESS, right? It works out to LESS social studies, LESS downtime, LESS time for activities/experiments/projects.

It makes me wonder sometimes what this educational system is going to do to this generation of kids, long-term. Are we instilling a love for learning in these kids? Or are we pressuring them to constantly perform better, without ever showing them why learning is important?

Thankfully, the teachers/administrators at my school are trying hard to achieve a balance between pushpushpush and instilling a love for learning. As challenging as it is, I try to do that every day and I see my coworkers doing the same. I feel that we owe it to these kids to not burn them out before they even make it to middle school.

Bleh! Rant over. I feel great about this week coming up. The kids in my new class are sweeties and I foresee a lot of fun memories being made between now and May. I'll be ready for tomorrow as soon as I make my lunch...and remember where I put my magic wand.

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