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Thread: are we not accountable or??

  1. #1
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    are we not accountable or??

    is life just so much faster, louder, intense, unkind, etc that we are just trying to keep up?

    I read an article on teacher shortages and related teacher issues. It rings true for me and what I see. The corporate style that has been pushing into education for many years is encouraging high stress, short term teaching careers. One of our big pushes in Colorado several years ago was specifically against career teachers, they wanted people with more energy and ability to work longer and intense hours because those were the ones who would make a difference. They would also accept the lower pay (career teachers of course cost more). I rarely see long term teachers in my district. Energy and positive attitude was deemed more important than years of building skills in teaching,

    My job got a big raise a few years ago, and we got a bump up in responsibility. Meanwhile the work load and number of tasks just keeps increasing beyond that. I hear this all over. Many people my age range (mid 40's to early 50's) are just tired. We expected at least to have some expertise in our field so that we could use that to have a life balance, not happening. Several people I know are going through career changes and actually earning less when we still have 15-20 years to work.

    I am facing a re-boot at work, a chance to show I am better than what I have done so far and pull off a decent rating. I also am demoralized, I can see so many ways I could do better and yet I have not done it. I feel that I expect from myself and others expect from me that my quality of work will be every increasing regardless of the circumstances (like sitting on the floor to use a printer because my office sucks). This as well is something I hear all over,

  2. #2
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    Does your school system not have tenure?

  3. #3
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    Not sure about tenure, if so there are ways around it. We have many innovation and charter style schools, they are not under the teacher union rules. With gentrifying neighborhoods enrollment is going down in some areas as well. Then there are the teachers who feel pushed out by high stakes testing and other changes. I know that our math fellows program (earns under $30K as it is) is based on the scores your students have. One person had a kid with mental health challenges who did no work, his scores did not increase, she documented the issues, she lost her job at the end of the year. There is no recourse, she just had to find a new job/career. Basically the idea that teaching is a very solid, long tern career is not as true as you would think.

    However I am seeing it many other places, reported by people in other industries. The intensity and workloads and consequences have really increased. Then there are a lot of articles on how to increase productivity, be mindful, stay positive, etc. When maybe the problem isn't all of us, all of the time.

  4. #4
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    Zoe girl, the place where I teach is not a “school”. Our students are required to be declared as homeschooled and their parents are responsible for their educations. Legally we are a “non-profit educational enrichment program”. This frees us from mountains of paperwork and restrictive rules.

    For example, we can hire anyone. Many of our teachers have no certificate. One of our very best teachers started with a high school diploma and now, 16 years later, has a masters degree she acquired in order to better serve the students. She still does not have a teaching certificate, and nobody told he4 she had to get a masters degree. The administration DID support her desire to continue her education by scheduling her “planning time” during her online courses and giving her paid study hall supervision periods that allowed her to work on her coursework.

    we are paid hourly, for only the hours we are scheduled to be in the building. We are paid well for those hours, but as you know, every class hour has a non-class hour behind it. We also have what I consider “merit pay” because if nobody signs up for your class, or too many kids drop it, it gets cancelled and you don’t get paid to teach then anymore. Contracts expire every year, and people aren’t always allowed to offer classes the following year. (Administrators wander through your classes at odd times, the educational services specialist does observations, parents give feedback, and students are asked to meet with neutral parties and give feedback or drop notes in the suggestion box or director’s folder, the director is accessible by e-mail any time, and a student news team may show up unannounced with photographers to document your class - often without warning.)

    so all that is very different.

    but here is what I think is the same - I am seeing far higher numbers of young kids who need to be taught social and behavioral skills and older students whose parents have no control over them than I saw ten years ago. I am seeing higher percentages of significant psychological diagnoses, and the number of students with severe anxiety has skyrocketed (we have always been a resource for that type of student, but I can’t believe the increased severity and numbers are caused by better advertising)

    but honestly, I think energy and a positive attitude are more important than years of experience teaching. Because no matter how many years you have, this is your first year with THIS group. And every group brings different needs and challenges and requires different approaches. If you think you are just going to stand up and present a re-run of last year, you are either in for a shock or not paying attention. Yes, more years of experience puts more tools in your toolbox, but if you are a good teacher, and you have energy and a positive attitude, you will go out and find the tools you need. If you are tired and have lost the ability to bring a positive attitude into your classroom every day, I don’t care how much you know about your subject or how experienced you are, I don’t want you teaching my kid.

    i also don’t think energy and positive attitude are connected to age. My oldest burned out in the middle of student teaching. We have amazing, enthusiastic teachers in their 50s and 60s.

  5. #5
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    Chicken, that sounds like a great school and someplace I wish I could afford to work. I also see more diagnoses, supports needed, etc. than before. I used to be in a homeschool group. There was quite a variety, I am glad your school exists because sometimes parents weren't the best for every subject!

    I think what I see with older and experienced teachers is that some of them are ready to leave and need to. That was apparent a few years ago when our school transitioned to expeditionary learning. However I am also seeing many who have a strong voice for the needs of the students. I ask the ones who leave every year why, and overall hear that the work load associated with testing and data, it is not the kids or even those challenging families.

    On the knowing your subject or having training, I think there are a lot of people saying they don't care as much about our training as teachers. Just sucks because I paid a LOT of money for that training, to do it over I would just have done a teach for america or alternative license program. I have spent 10+ years trying to pay on these loans,

  6. #6
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    The freedom from testing and forms is THE key piece for many of us where I work (we do have an SAT/ACT prep class and a counselor who will help you find a place to take them or the AP tests)

    The cost of training is frustrating. Licensing is frustrating. There is a masters program I would love to do, but:
    1) they won’t let me in without a state teaching license!
    2) I would have to take at least a semester off my job because I would have to do classroom work in a “real” school
    3) it’s $21,000 (can be spread over 6 years, but i don’t want to take 6 years to complete it)
    4) I see no path where I change jobs, so the degree is of no benefit to me in terms of employment (no “recovering cost”)
    5) i’m almost 50, have two married children, and have made it very clear that I will rearrange my life to be their childcare if needed. (Still my first choice) so the whole thing could implode.

  7. #7
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    Zoe Girl and Chicken lady,
    As an aside, just curious as to reasons why you think you are both seeing an increase in the kids with social and behavioral issues? Is it an environmental/chemical thing, or just lax parenting or ??

    One story I read recently was about pre-school teachers who had more parents who expected them to toilet-train their tots, all on their own, with little/no work from the parents. I was surprised, but maybe this is the trend. If yes, I can definitely see the continuing pressure on teachers to be all things to all of their students and how frustrating that must be.

  8. #8
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    I think some of it is environmental/chemical and some of it is social - parents are working longer hours with less time to spend with their kids. (Some of our parents use us not because they can’t or don’t want to cover subjects, but because they are juggling work schedules) families are less stable. Drugs play into both. My area has abstainance only sex ed, strong abortion restrictions, and is one of the hubs of the opioid epidemic. We have a lot of single parent/blended/divided/reblended families and a lot of kids that are in foster care/adopted/being raised by grandparents.

    i am also suspicious of the effects of screen time, but that is anecdotal, not data based.

    my older daughter told me her friends are often surprised to hear that her birth parents are still married.

    oh, and even in families where there are plenty of resources, you see older parents/fertility treatments/high risk pregnancies more often than you used to, and so a higher number of genetic/birth trauma issues.

  9. #9
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    I don't have all the answers, but I will not support the lax parenting answer. Society has fundamentally changed in so many ways, a lot for the better but some for the worse. The sheer number of hours so many of us need to work to just survive has a toll on the children the hardest in many ways. If we are not paying 100% of what we need to for our kids we are irresponsible, if we need help because we do not have enough hours with our children we are irresponsible. Add to that stresses we cannot shield them from, families or friends being deported, regular active shooter drills, cuts to school lunches, arts education, after school programming.

    We had a lock down at our school one day after school for 20 minutes. It was during a parent conference week so lots of parents were in the building or on the playground. We had all the 80 afterschool kids in 5 locations locked down in a minute, I heard parents had a hard time following the directions in other parts of the building. I had many parents who were very stressed out, one with PTSD who had a reaction, I ended up emailing all families about what happened. This is normal school for our kids.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Girl View Post
    I don't have all the answers, but I will not support the lax parenting answer.. . .. The sheer number of hours so many of us need to work to just survive has a toll on the children the hardest in many ways.
    I agree with this. This happened to me when I got divorced and was a single mom caring for 3 boys. Very tough to get hours at a retail job and still be there to help with homework, make dinner, etc- I still feel nervous thinking about those years, which are so important from the standpoint of supervision, keeping them safe and active and involved in school, etc.--so much is economic.

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