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When are we going to say "Enough!"

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redhead38 redhead38 is offline
 
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When are we going to say "Enough!"
Old 02-03-2019, 05:37 AM
 
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As teachers we have to put up with so much...long hours, lack of parental accountability, students without consequences, being told to manipulate grades so the school looks good, and unreasonable demands in general. We talk about it with our co-workers or come on forums like this to vent, but there is truly force in numbers. My co-workers continually complain about the demands placed on us about changing grades/padding grades and I keep telling them to do this as a group before administration...of course this is easier said than done. It is just amazing to me that we keep accepting our fate. There are better teaching models/curriculum, etc. out there. Why can't we push as a collective and advocate for that??? There are all of these movements out there...why not this one???


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Enough
Old 02-03-2019, 07:38 AM
 
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I preached this my entire teaching career and it left me stumped why people would complain, sometimes have reasonable fixes, but became mute during meetings.

I wondered, given what some teachers would tell me, if they were afraid of retaliation, or losing their job.
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How about two words?
Old 02-03-2019, 07:41 AM
 
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West Virginia
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I don't see these trends changing
Old 02-03-2019, 08:10 AM
 
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Any time soon. The net result of most of the trends you identified is not good for kids in the long-term, and I think people in power know this, but they don't care. I respect anybody who has the guts to overtly voice their concerns; I sure don't. I don't think expressing concerns, whether as an individual or a group, is likely to do any good. It's more likely to make the individuals who complain targets for retaliation.

I have to laugh at high school students I have now who plan to go in to education and think they're just going to do whatever they want (and seem to think they can do a better job than their current teachers). They're in for a big surprise. They have no idea the extent to which CYA, conformity, and compromising one's personal ethics and ideals to get by are involved in this profession.

I've given up on any of the things that bother us changing. Even though I complain about it a lot, I've just accepted that none of these things are likely to change and try to do a good job within the system as it is.

Last edited by Surly; 02-03-2019 at 08:49 AM..
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Strikes are limited...
Old 02-03-2019, 08:28 AM
 
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I think we would have more power if strikes were legal. In my state of NJ, and also in NY where I taught, teachers would be penalized quite a bit financially if they walked out and some would be jailed. I see now in Oklahoma, where the conditions and pay seem to be truly deplorable from what I have read, the legislators are considering new laws to revoke the certification of teachers if they walk out, among other penalties. Not many would or could risk that. And some in right to work states have no real bargaining rights at all and in others, union strength has been weakened.

You need to have administration who is willing to listen. We do have people on my former staff who speak up about requirements like a documentation log, and her answer was, "I have to do it too." She would send emails about negativity and we never were sure who they were directed at. Fear of retaliation at the building or district level is real. Changes to things like the evaluation system have been legislated by the state, and besides contacting legislators and lobbying, which has been done, I feel we are limited in what we can do at the district level since it is the law now.

I think we keep accepting our fate because realistically, the options are limited for protest. I have seen my district micromanage curriculum and teaching methods so that a small group are controlling what we teach and how we teach it, but since you are evaluated on this and tenure has been eliminated in my state, it is sometimes easier to be a good soldier. And most teachers are inherently nurturers and rule followers.

I think when and if there is a true teacher shortage, the powers that be will have to sit up and take notice. But in my district, there are still many people waiting in line to fill the jobs under any conditions, just to teach. And if they don't stay the 42 years I did, it will be cheaper for the district to replace them with even cheaper hirees. Seniority and experience doesn't seem to matter much in many places anymore.


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Old 02-03-2019, 09:12 AM
 
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The hard work of changing the trajectory starts with the teacher unions however many of the leaders of these state and national unions are quite comfortable collecting their stipends or full time salary and peddling any story except the story about the decline of the profession. Rallying teachers to speak up for themselves is too much work for these leaders. Teachers on the front lines,along with every other working class American need to protest in the streets . Many people throughout history have made change by taking tremendous risks. The time for every American to protest is here.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:07 AM
 
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Divide and conquer is a strategy used by administration to prevent teachers from forming a collective voice.

We are isolated and overworked. There is not enough time in the day to meet all the expectations, yet we are always getting handed ‘extras’ (such as WIG goal writing and tracking mentioned earlier on this board).

We have a 30 minute duty free lunch - barely enough time to use the restroom, heat something in the microwave, and wolf it down. Hardly enough time to organize protest. And, oh yeah, only 1 or 2 grade levels have common lunch time anyway.

Same goes with plan time. We are deliberately prevented from having common down time in which we could assemble. Very few have common plan time, and ‘work days’ have become meeting filled.

By the end of the day we are tired, stressed, and still have second jobs, church, family, and other obligations to attend to. We are not wealthy enough to hire nannies or housekeepers to take on domestic duties, thereby freeing up time and energy to become active labor organizers.

By keeping us separated, loaded down with busy work, underpaid, and mentally and physically exhausted, we are defeated by the age old war strategy of divide and conquer. The oppression is real.
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We tried...
Old 02-03-2019, 10:56 AM
 
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About 10 years ago in AZ, we tried to advocate for ourselves and our students at a school, district, and state level. They took away our tenure, slashed the education budget, and even took away a stipend that voters had given us by stealing that money and putting it away in a different state budget category. They increased class sizes and changed our evaluation instrument so that student test scores directly determine our salaries. Something like 75% of our personnel budget now goes to admin, as well...

There was a strike last spring, and we did see a small increase in salary (mine amounts to an extra $1.50 or so every month, yippee!), but we also lost a lot of public goodwill and teachers in some districts were punished in various ways for participating, from having to pay back contract money to having to work weeks into the summer to losing their jobs.

So anyway, that's why we don't advocate much anymore.
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As I am close to retirement and
Old 02-03-2019, 03:41 PM
 
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I have had the same thoughts as you many a time. There have been so many times that I wished we could do more, but when I was younger, I needed a check and retaliation is very real in most places.
I have seen teachers not rehired due to speaking up. (non tenured) Then blackballed from the system. This is common where I live now.
Also, I have seen tenured teachers whose lives were made so miserable from speaking up or fired ( usually the union gets them reinstated in a different school...)
I am in a state w/ a pretty strong union even.
Even filling out a survey when asked, can cause major repercussions. As I get older, I care less. I'd walk out tomorrow if the union said: Go. I would feel really bad though for teachers w/out tenure or enough $$ to do it.
I think pretty much like the guest above.
Schools have a model that makes it really hard and keeps teachers apart or at odds even. The school I have been in a long time has that "divide and conquer" type approach.
It would help a lot if teachers would get along and stand together, but part of the problem at our school is groups of teachers who do not trust other groups for good reason often. That is when they got you over a barrel. I wonder how many schools out there are like ours.
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Yep
Old 02-09-2019, 11:51 AM
 
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And they wonder why there's a teacher shortage!

The first thing that needs to happen to "fix" education is to get every politician to take his/her paws out of it! Education should be run by educators. Period. All elected members of local school boards should have to have a background in education. Any Secretaries of Education at state and federal level should be educators. Policy decisions must be made by people who have an education background, or else our schools will be controlled by those with the most money and a political agenda.

In addition there needs to be some type of agreement on student discipline. You cannot teach if you are continually breaking up fights or dealing with temper tantrums. Teachers and principals need to be educated in best practices for how to deal with certain behaviors. Sometimes, yes, the child needs to be suspended, however there are very good ways to manage behaviors before they start and escalate to that point (but that is another discussion for another post).

A third issue are the edicts that are handed down by the policymakers. We teach students according to state adopted standards, whether they be CCSS or TEKS or whatever. That is what we are supposed to teach. Adopted curriculum is important, but only as a tool to use to deliver instruction. Teachers should never be required to follow a scripted curriculum, or be penalized for using supplemental materials!

Lastly, and IMHO most importantly, there needs to be quality professional development available for teachers, principals, paraeducators, etc. surrounding the curriculum, behavior strategies, ideas for enhancing lessons, etc. Not a week-long inservice at the beginning of the year, but regular, continuous inservice time throughout the year. There should be time built into the day, either weekly or monthly, for this purpose without the need for substitutes to cover a class. This would require some re-thinking about schedules, but I know it can be done.


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