In virtually every pageant interview I’ve been in, I get asked the same question; why teaching? And my answer is always the same. My mom is a teacher. Growing up, I always went to her classroom over the summer to help her set it up for the school year. I always dreamed of having a classroom of my own, to help others succeed.
In the last few years, however, I haven’t been as enthusiastic about going up. Mostly because of how few jobs there are and how downhill education has been going. Now I just get depressed. 1. because I know I’m not getting my own classroom anytime soon and 2. I would probably be fired right away anyway.
I became certified in February 2013. I graduated undergrad in childhood education in 3 and half years, and finished my Masters in curriculum and instruction in a year and a half, giving me five total years of college. I immediately started subbing, and in November 2013, I luckily landed a short term leave that resulted in me being a permanent sub in 6th grade math at Cohoes Middle School, where I remained a whole year until I became a teaching assistant for 4th grade at Ichabod Crane Elementary School this past December.
Education has been going downhill ever since I was in college, but not as much as it has been recently. For some reason, the current Governor hates public education, and is doing whatever he can to eliminate teachers.
I have never felt more discouraged or wanting to change my career more than I have in these last few months. I never once thought I would regret going into teaching, but our governor has changed that. The things he is proposing is a set up that will automatically fail everyone, both teachers and students. Raising the bar is one thing, but making it so high that it’s nearly impossible is downright cruel.
Students are being asked to take tests that include content way above their grade level. Reading passages for 4th graders are at a 7th grade reading level, 7th grade at an 11th grade reading level. Math questions that don’t really ask a question but rather try and trick you instead. Opting children out of tests is a growing reform given what is happening. While I will not comment one way or another, here are some reasons why a parent might;
Teacher evaluation plans base 50 percent of a teachers score on these tests, making it nearly impossible to get into the “effective” range. I have already accepted that if I ever finally get my own classroom, I will never have tenure, because there is no way I will get “effective” four consecutive years with these standardized tests.
This isn’t about teachers wanting to “save ourselves.” The media does a really good job of making it seem one sided. Our job is only part of the issue. We want what’s best for our children. All my life all I’ve wanted to do is help, teach, and inspire children, which I cannot do if I’m 1.forced to teach to a test and 2. fired in two years when children fail these tests. Yes, if you’re deemed ineffective two years in a row, you can be fired within 30 days. Went to school for five years only to be fired in two. Funny.
There is nothing I enjoy more than working with struggling students and finally seeing the lightbulb go off when they finally understand something that once challenged them, or students getting excited about a subject. The shift I’ve seen from student teaching to the present is students that get to do fun projects and learn with various methods of instruction, to now students that hate school and cry because the material is too difficult.
This is why I advocate pro teachers, pro students. This is why we need change. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or just a citizen of New York State. I urge you to keep yourself educated and informed about the truth of what is happening in this state.