Working in a district that is under “accreditation watch” while also working in one of the district’s “turnaround” schools brings intense stress and high stakes mandates everywhere you turn.
I wonder if folks understand what it’s like to feel guilty about asking your school to purchase you a trashcan? Or – being told there are certain resources you need – but knowing there is no money to buy them.
I wonder if folks understand what it’s like to teach reading (as a reading interventionist) to vulnerable children who have attended under-resourced schools FOR YEARS and having to pick and choose which of those vulnerable children gets support? Can you imagine the guilt?
I wonder if folks understand what it’s like to know EXACTLY WHAT STUDENTS NEED and to be told again and again that your root cause is not following the standards – or some other lame excuse that ignores poverty, high class size, and under-resourced buildings. Having taught in wealthy schools and under-resourced and high poverty schools and knowing what this looks like/sounds like, I wonder if folks truly understand what it means to teach reading to children with books galore in their homes versus children who have no books, no computers, and also speak a second language – I wonder if folks really understand what teaching reading looks like in those two situations – I wonder if they understand what is ultimately required of teachers in urban diverse schools in terms of pedagogy, scaffolding for second language learners and more?
I wonder if they understand that these teachers in urban diverse schools are not only amazing – but also passionate and hard working because they MUST BE to survive conditions under which they are publicly told they are failing again and again.
I wonder if folks understand what it’s like to be told to listen to non-educators who know NOTHING about teaching in an attempt to get out of turnaround (think slap in the face)?
I wonder if folks understand what it’s like to read the local paper which slams your district again and again, while watching privileged folks protect their wealthier districts by not making waves and continuing to tout those privileged, classist and racist test scores…..as they walk on by?
I wonder if folks really understand how such a situation creates great anger and frustration – when folks simply just won’t stand together and support the common good – but rather, they quietly protect their own. I wonder what they think?
And I wonder if they understand the ramifications not only for my school – but for their school and their children? Without public schools our democracy is doomed.
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