After finishing my thirteenth year of teaching, I’m pretty tired. Like many teachers who get the summers off, I need to waive that benefit and work over the summer to supplement my salary. This makes me even more tired.
Usually when I get this tired, I need to rest. On July 30th, however, I will do the opposite. I will march. I’m marching BECAUSE I’m tired. The ‘tired’ I get from hard work is not what is getting me to Washington D.C.. It’s the ‘tired’ I get from some the things that are affecting me and my fellow teachers across the country from outside our schools.
I’m tired of hearing that I’m not ‘adding’ enough ‘value’ for my students. What I add to my school is sometimes hard to measure, but if anyone would like to come see me teach, they would know that I am enriching my students lives and helping them be more successful in the future. Standardized tests don’t measure all the value I add.
I’m tired of hearing of the educational ‘business model.’ What successful business massively expands a model that has not proved to show profit, even on a small scale?
I’m tired of so-called reformers impatiently waiting for Superman and then demanding that I become him. Teachers ARE superheros, but not extra-terrestrial superheros like Superman who are not bound by the laws of physics. We’re more like Indiana Jones. We can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. To get over those buildings is slow and takes a lot of climbing.
I’m tired of hearing Duncan talk about how many 95-95-90-90 (95% poverty, 95% graduation rate, 90% college acceptance rate, 90% passing standardized tests) schools there are and then when he has to produce one, only manages an 84-66-100-17.
I tired of hearing that as I gain experience and wisdom as an educator I am really just becoming lazy and expensive. I’m about to start my 14th year of teaching and I’ve gotten better each year.
I’m tired of hearing how easy my job is and how if I would just choose to work harder, everything would be better.
I’m tired of hearing that if I don’t belong to StudentsFirst, I must belong to AdultsFirst. Things that are good for adults will positively impact children taught by happy, respected teachers. Demoralized teachers can’t do their best.
I’m tired of reformers who say ‘Poverty is not an excuse’ and then promote policies that don’t address the factors of poverty but, instead, demand that teachers do it all.
I’m tired of the media constantly talking about how great TFA teachers are when Wendy Kopp herself admits that they’re not doing so well.
I’m tired of charters that get test scores up through attrition and nobody seems to know about this or care about this. All they ‘prove’ is that if you decrease the denominator of a fraction while keeping the numerator constant, the value of the fraction increases.
All this thinking of how tired I am is giving me a bit of second wind. In addition to being tired, I’m also excited.
I’m excited to be, in this fight, on the side with the scholars, not the premature leaders.
I’m excited to meet all the people who I’ve been following on Twitter. It will be great to hear them say more than one sentence.
I’m excited to display the sign I’m working on (details later).
I’m excited since I know that ultimately I’m going to be on the winning side. The sooner we win the better so that the damage incurred by the ‘reformers’ is minimized.