Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hmmm....

This seems to be one of those few occasions when I am at a loss for a topic. I like to update the blog around once a week, but my life isn't too exciting these days. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Retirement is far preferable to working, at least the job I had. I always thought I was born to be a teacher (and I do believe you have to be born to it), I loved being a teacher, and I think I was a pretty effective one--when I actually had some say in the way I taught and how my daily routine was organized. Unfortunately, the job of teaching, at least at the school where I worked, is not what it once was. Nowadays, the day is rigidly constructed for you, and all of the lessons must be closely coordinated with the other teachers in your grade. You must all teach the same lessons at the same time each day. Many of the lessons are strictly scripted. There is no room for individual differences in teaching styles or in learning styles and abilities of the students. If they don't get it, too bad. You must be ready to go on to the next lesson when the other classes do. And now, to further complicate things, they are going to try to coordinate throughout the entire district, and students will be tested quarterly on the computer to make sure they are learning the material. There does not seem to be room for the teachable moment or the fun things like art projects or learning centers like we used to employ. It's all business and all about the test scores these days.

Don't get me wrong. I always teamed up with my friend, and we planned our lessons together to teach the same things. However, we didn't necessarily teach the lessons at the same time, and if one of us fell behind a little, the other made changes to fill the extra time. Lesson plans were often revised and carried over if we didn't cover them due to teachable moments, slow learners, or classroom interruptions. We had similar teaching styles, but we weren't clones, and that was fine. Now I feel like a robot could do the job. Of course, I am no longer involved, so maybe it works better than it sounds, and this does seem to be the wave of the future of education. New teachers seem to accept it okay. However, my friends who have been in teaching for awhile don't much like all the new strictures. I guess that's one reason I am glad to be retired. I long for schools to be like the ones I loved as a child, and they are LONG gone. I had thought I would miss my job and the kids when I retired, but oddly enough, I don't. I don't go back to the school to visit, and when school starts next month, I will be glad to be sleeping in!

I'm not saying that I would never be interested in being involved in the schools in some way. I think school is in my blood. I love going into a school and experiencing the familiar sights, sound, and smell that is part and parcel of it. I just want to be there on my own terms--like reading stories to kids or tutoring them in some way--when I feel like it.

Well, it seems I had something to write about, after all. I just had to get rolling! Life is good...

4 comments:

Susie said...

I think many teachers now "teach to a test" Test scores affect funding.
My daughter and I were just having a discussion along these lines recently. It has to be frustrating to a dedicated teacher to feel such constraints..
xo

Alissa said...

Nicky needs a preschool teacher :-)

Motherkitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Motherkitty said...

Husband and I think they should bring back the old one-room schoolhouses, especially where we live in a one-horse town. Yes, it's all about the test scores and funding. There was an article in our local paper recently about the awfully high drop-out rate in our local school system. Why are so many dropping out instead of sticking with it? Because the system says learn or be left behind. Too bad for all these kids who need extra help.

I'm sure you were a wonderful teacher and I'm also sure that if you were offered a teaching position today, you would think twice about accepting it. I've often thought about mentoring or reading to the kids or assisting in some way. But, sadly, I find I am busier now that I'm retired than when I was working. That's life, isn't it?

Thanks for visiting my site today. It was good to hear from you.