Saturday, December 13, 2014
Saturday Sayings: Close the Door
I might regret ever pondering this matter, but I'm beginning to wonder how the public views their teachers. I've crossed paths with a few parental comments (not from my personal experience) that have heightened my concern.
"The teachers do not have a choice. Their salaries depend on their students' standardized test scores."
"I feel that more of the teacher's time is spent 'teaching to the test' and you all seem to be evaluated on what kids do on these tests instead of what they actually learn in your class. I want my child to have teachers that she can look back one day and know that they loved teaching her."
Comments like these sadden me. I would hope the public believes we make decisions about the children they've place in our care based on what's best for them. Instead the message I'm hearing is that they view us as handcuffed by testing, legislature, and curriculum. They believe we are at the mercies of the unseen puppet masters who make all our decisions for us, leaving us without any to very little autonomy when it comes to doing what's best for our students.
One of my favorite principals once granted me permission to close my door. "Do you what you do best," she said. I took her up on that offer. I don't believe in a literally closed classroom door, but hypothetically I shut much of the world out of my every day teaching practices. Some would say I'm spoiled that way--the exception and not the norm. I know there's some truth to that, which makes me want to apologize to those whose experience is contrary. I'm unsure of how to fix it, but I believe educators should not only be allowed, but encouraged to do what they do best--to use professional judgment to make daily decisions based on what's best for their kids.
I'd like the public to believe that our energies are focused on their children and not on fighting a system that's enforcing its will upon us and thus upon the children as well. When possible, just close the door.