The Times Union ran an article about a first grade teacher who retired early because she felt micromanaged and forced to teach a curriculum that she felt was inappropriate. The Times Union referred to her as part of an uncounted underground of teachers.
Are you part of this uncounted underground? You just might be if:
You have questions about the appropriateness of the curriculum you are forced to teach. You might feel it is developmentally inappropriate, poorly written or lacks the supplemental materials to be successful.
You bemoan the loss of creativity and innovation and have angst that you have been tuned into little more than a robot regurgitating a script.
You are saddened that you know when kids get home their parents won’t be able to help them with their lessons either because the material is too complicated (common core math) or you don’t have books to send home.
You are frustrated with the constant micromanagement of your time by people who don’ know your kids or what they need.
You are dismayed that you aren’t allowed to take your kids out for recess because you don’t have time as to much to possibly do is jam packed into every day.
You are frustrated by leaders who either weren’t in the classroom or were for just a cup of coffee years ago or by 27 year old academic coaches and assistant principals who think they know more than you because they took the first opportunity they could to get away from kids and out of the classroom.
You are tired of the poor discipline as kids don’t receive consequences for their actions and the lack of support for discipline you get from your administration.
You are scared for your job if you speak up. You are afraid since you are on annual contract you won’t be reappointed or if you are on a professional contract you will be harassed into quitting if you talk about all the things going on.
You feel marginalized by the community, ignored and disrespected by your administration or scared because your students don’t receive consequences for their actions when you got to work. If you are any of these things they you might just be part of the uncounted underground of teachers.
This so called underground isn’t a handful of dissatisfied teachers with an ax to grind. I feel comfortable saying it is the majority of our staff but please don’t take my word for it, instead ask a teacher how they feel. I believe at first you will be shocked and surprised but then saddened an hopefully outraged and want to do something.
The only real chance we have of improving things is if the community gets involved as the district views teachers as easily replaceable cogs.
We will never reach our potential as a district as long as we marginalize teachers and make them afraid for their jobs. Never, and unfortunately this is the district that we currently have.