In the last 2 weeks I have seen the teachers in the Washington Township school district actively picketing at three different back to school nights. I have also seen parents who refuse to take their information or make a nasty comments under their breath. I don’t think that the teacher’s realize that they are doing more harm than good for their cause. In the tough economic times we are faced with, many people feel that you are lucky to have a job, so too bad if you don’t have a contract. While I believe that the teachers should be awarded a contract, as a parent I do not agree with some of the tactics they employ to draw awareness to their plight. In Washington Township, teachers have refused to attend most of the home and school activities over the last few years in an effort to gain parent support, but I feel that it is creating dissention between the parents and teachers. The latest tool in their arsenal was to deny graduating seniors letters of recommendation to the colleges that they are applying to. I find this to be reprehensible. The kids have worked so hard to further their education and contract or no contract didn’t we choose this career because of the kids? It is not their fault (or their parents for that matter) that contracts cannot be agreed upon. When did teaching kids become more about a contract and less about the KIDS? I think as future educators we need to reevaluate the importance of contracts and focus on the kids. Having worked in business most of my life I have a very unique perspective as a future teacher. Most employees don’t have contracts or tenure. In my opinion, if you suck at your job , you shouldn’t have a job. I realize that a teachers salary is inferior to that of someone in the business sector with the same education and qualifications, but asking them to pay 5% biweekly towards their health insurance is not unreasonable. I currently pay 20% weekly towards mine. I think it’s time for teachers to understand that the times they are a changing so either roll with it, or realize that there are an awful lot of up and coming education students who will happily accept less stringent terms in order to secure a position.
As am elementary education major, I know what is expected of me. I must be the best that I can possibly be in every way shape and form. I know now that I will need to have eyes in the back of my head! Kids will take the best of you if you are not prepared. A prepared and organized teacher is one to be. Be ready for anything that can happen. Don’t always expect the worse, but don’t always expect the best either. Things do go wrong and you need to be able to think on your feet. These kids are waiting for you to mess up so that they can rag on you. Make a mistake, but fix it in a milli-second. Don’t even give them the opportunity to notice that you messed up. As little kids, they are watching your every move.
I love every chance that I get to interact with children. I babysit, throw birthday parties at work, I teach a colorguard. If I had the chance, I would do it 24/7! (Maybe I won’t be saying that in a few years…) But for now, that is where I see myself. I take any opportunity to learn from someone. I ask questions when I’m confused, I also offer help if I feel I could beneficial. I want to be an all-around good person. So i’m here to help if anyone needs it!
So I would like to share my personal experience as both a mom and a future educator. My oldest daughter started middle school last week and what a change a year makes. The expectations placed on these kids for the first week of school is unbelievable. Out of roughly 200 6th grade students she was chosen to be a part of an accelerated program that includes only 19 students. I spoke to the teacher liaison who runs the humanities program and expressed my concerns that the workload may be overwhelming as she adjusts to a schedule of 9 classes and higher expectations overall. In addition to her school committments she also will have service requirements for CCD to make her confirmation this year and she plays travel soccer. He assured me that she was more than capable and it would be a great experience for her. In her first week of school she has has an average of three hours of homework each night and was required to complete four essays and two art projects. The turn around time for the essays/projects was at most four days with some expected the following day. The best part is that all of this work is coming from her regular curriculum classes, three from science alone. She has not had one bit of work come home from her accelerated class, yet this is the class she enjoys the most and seems to get the most out of. The flipside of that is that it is a Social Studies class which she felt was her weakest area and the content she liked least. I could see at back to school night that the teacher for this class was fun, energetic and creative. You might think he’s probably fresh out of school and eager and excited but the reality is that he has been teaching for twenty-four years. His goal is to motivate these kids to think outside the box and be creative in their learning. So my question is this, As a future educator how do we become the kind of teacher who creates a learning environment where students are engaged, eager and thriving, and when do we stop allowing ineffective teachers to teach without inspiring their students?