I just came from the school board meeting. I'm feeling depressed, deflated, and unappreciated. It has caused me to do a lot of thinking. The future of California education is very uncertain. There was a rally before the board meeting tonight, and if there were 100 teachers, then that was generous. My district is huge with closer to 2000 teachers. I understand people are tired. I'm tired. Tonight was my one free night, but I went to the rally, to show my support for the students and teachers in my district. You see, my district is proposing cuts unlike ANY of the surrounding districts. There are still parents at my school who are clueless about how these cuts will affect their children. It has caused me to reflect. I don't think people realize just how hard teachers work, for their students. Are there bad teachers out there? Oh yes, there are. There are teachers who have no business being with kids. My child has had one of those, but for the most part, teachers want their students to learn, grow and thrive in school.
Let me give you a little run down of my sweet little class, for perspective. I have 7 EL students-kids who are second language learners. All 7 have different levels of EL classification. I have two students who have been retained. One of them came to me at the end of the school year last year, from India. She spoke very little english, yet was expected to meet the standards. It was her mother's idea to retain her. I did it, and I kept her. She's THRIVING. She would not speak to me last school year. I didn't push. This year, she talks my ear off, and she's smart too! The other one I retained was an excellent candidate for retention. I kept her as well. She made incredible progress. Her mother and I were thrilled. She was right on target, then she started missing school. So far she has missed almost 30 days of school. She's not making such great progress anymore. I also have a student with special needs, who has his own aide. There are many struggles. I have a student who really struggles with spelling. That same student was brought to tears today by bullies in another class-I have to handle THAT one tomorrow. I have a student who I should challenge more, but don't have the time, and luckily her parents are super supportive, and they challenge her at home. I have a group of extremely chatty kids, nice kids, but ALWAYS talking no matter where I move them. I have a girl who could possibly end up a "mean girl," if I don't nip that in the bud. I have two kids who barely speak, that I have been nurturing all school year-I am making progress-one follows me around at recess and the other hugged me for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Then I have students who are right on target, and are always doing what they are supposed to be doing, without much prompting from me, and they have great parental support. I have sensitive kids. I have kids who love to learn, and who hug me all day long, and are sad to go home at the end of the day. I don't really have any discipline problems. The rewards I get from their accomplishments are incredible, just incredible. The rewards are the reason I teach. I do make a difference in the lives of my students. I work my ass off for my students. Most of my families are appreciative, some are clueless, but I have to play nice (oh how I wish I could say what I want to say). I want the best for my students. I want the best OUT of my students. I know my students. I LOVE my students. We have the most interesting conversations, and they are becoming good people. They are works in progress.
I just feel that the district I work for does not value everything teachers do for their students. I also don't think they have a CLUE what we do all day long. This school year they took away all of our prep time. We have no time in which to prepare lessons, get things ready, correct, etc, during the school day. We do it all on our own time. We are teaching ALL subject areas, and a new math program, not to mention giving a zillion tests. We get to go to the library every other week. Still the district is proposing more cuts-elimination of ALL elementary prep (the upper grades get a little prep right now), and increasing class sizes in grades 1-3. We could have 30 kids in our class in the fall! Tell me, when will we have time to learn anything about our students? You would think that with all this taking away, there would be less work to do, but our workload just keeps increasing. The district keeps throwing things at us, which adds to our workload. They don't seem to care that we have serious time issues, and students to actually TEACH. Anyway, the board meeting was completely depressing, and I don't know what they will do. We shall see. At least I know that there are lots of other teachers out there, that also feel the same way. I am lucky. I didn't get a pink slip. It's hell to be a new teacher in our district-I could go on and on about that one too. I guess what I want to say to you is: love and appreciate your good teachers. They love and appreciate your children.
On a positive note, my Target has opened up their grocery section!! Yay! It was pretty dang cool too!