I’m Grumpy

I'm Grumpy

Maybe because my youngest daughter gets up really early causing lack of sleep.

Maybe its grad school keeping my mind busy at all hours causing lack of sleep.

Maybe its a combo of the two above…

Maybe I am worn out.

Worn out from the obsession that people have about the terrible state of public education.

Worn out from having to work so hard to pay attention to politics.  If I wanted to pay this much attention, I would have run for office.  I didn’t do that.  I chose to be a teacher.  To make a difference in the lives of others.  To help my high school students find a love of math.  To help give my college students every possible advantage as they prepare to become our next generation of teachers.

I love teaching, truly LOVE IT!

I am grumpy with what is being done to my profession.  Teachers are not a bunch of uneducated, greedy, self-indulgent, non-caring, mouth breathers looking for a quick buck.  Teachers are givers.  They give themselves, they sacrifice family time, they spend their own money for school supplies, they go to every event imaginable, they pour their lives into what they do.

I believe teaching is a calling.  I want my students who are future teachers to feel this calling.  Truly feel it.  I want them to have enthusiasm and passion for teaching their students.  I want them to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

It is getting harder to do that in Oklahoma.  This whole issue with AP United States History has been so frustrating for me.  I don’t teach history, I cannot give you a detailed explanation of the framework that College Board has constructed for this class.  I can only say, that this framework was created by college history professors and high school history teachers who are experts in history.  Is this not good enough?  Are college professors and experienced, brilliant high school history teachers somehow ignorant about US history?  First a bill to take all funding away from this course, when that fizzled, a house resolution of the same thing was brought up.  Why?  What purpose does this solve?

The entire Common Core issue – whether you are for or against is another debate.  Our policy creators were all for it.  It was state law to move to this.  School districts spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to move this direction.  It took years to prepare.  It took thousands of dollars to purchase necessary items.  Then with the push of a button, three short months before school started, Common Core was gone, determined by our policy creators that it was government intrusion.  Schools were now in full scramble mode to move back to PASS.  Beyond frustrating for every educator involved.

Third grade RSA…I have a daughter who will be in third grade next year.  A quick fact about Maer – she could give a rip about testing.  She just clicks through her mandated testing items.  Her teacher is constantly telling her to slow down and read the questions.  Is a one shot test the best determining factor of Maer’s ability to be successful in fourth grade?  I don’t think so…My first grade daughter is also a fast clicker.  Madigan’s teacher made her take the STAR math test three times in one week.  THREE TIMES!  Why?  Because Madigan’s score was not indicative of what her teacher knew.  Madigan was better at math that her test showed.  Speaking of government intrusion – let the teacher of my kids best determine if they are ready for the next grade

School ESA’s are another hot button issue – should the state give public tax dollars to everyone to spend on education?  My question would be this: If private schools and charter schools are so amazing, why are public schools so shackled?  Why is it that private schools are exempt from all of the testing hysteria?  Why can we not give the public education system some of those freedoms?  Why is that a bad thing?  There are some absolutely brilliant private and charter schools in my community.

Why single out just teachers for their NEA/OEA or AFT dues (full disclosure, I am an OEA/NEA member)?  WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS?  Why?  What will this accomplish?  Why not do this to every participant of collective bargaining?  Why are you singling us out?  Why is all of this energy spend demoralizing teachers?  What would happen if we attacked poverty with the same zeal that public education is attacked?  What if our policy makers were hell-bent on eliminating poverty?

If our legislative leaders wanted Oklahoma to have the best public education system – they should investigate places that have great systems.  Look all over the globe, find things that work and bring them back to Oklahoma.  There is no argument that Finland has an outstanding education system.  We have roughly the same population – what can we steal from them?  Did you know that teachers in Finland are required to have a masters degree?  Its a highly competitive job market.  Compare that to Oklahoma where we are looking at shortage of teachers: 1,000 this school year and more than that next year.  Our job market is nonexistent, show up and we will take you!  How do we fix this?  How about some respect?  Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has been so positive for our teachers, she is out there, letting us know she is listening.  We need more people in positions of leadership to follow her example – get out to the schools, get to know us teachers, make a difference before you make a law!

When I chose to become a teacher, I knew I would not be a millionaire.  I just wanted to make a difference.  Have I?  Not for me say.  I just know that in our current climate, it is very hard to maintain my passion for teaching.

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