New Teacher: Find Other Work!

I am really frustrated. Everyday Math, Lucy Calkins, Words Their Way Spelling Inventory, and the rest are a waste of time and money, and they create frustration at the expense of educating the kids.

Here's what I mean. We teachers have to use these materials whether they are useful to us or not. We have to use them because of NCLB; accountability is now more important than education, joy, love, life, community and family.

Schools must show improvement, and new materials are almost never always the way to improve things. Indeed, we adopted Everyday Math because apparently we had to adopt something; it was time! Seriously! Not because EDM is better. Not because Scott Forseman was worse. It was just because it was adoption time.

I have mentioned my scores many times because they are at the core of my argument against forcing teachers to use certain materials. Most of the curricular materials a school uses have been produced for a huge market; many school districts nation-wide adopt identical materials. This nationalization of materials makes for watered down materials. They can't be rich and specific because some things may not go over well in certain places. So, we get lean materials, especially in history, social studies and science. Math, less so.

With math, because we all know if we do not lead the world in math and science we will not continue to lead the world, we adopt new materials--that are research based--hoping knowing they will improve scores. There is only one problem with this: Everyday Math was rejected by many school districts because of its spiraling sequence and overly complicated teacher guide, the plethora of silly materials that are embedded in the instruction making for less than rigorous lessons, and all the games of "math self-discovery". It is a bad program, and one that I do not need; look at my scores!

So, my high scores may go down if I have to implement Everyday Math. If my scores go down, and my candidate of choice is elected, I will not get my merit pay. However, if I refuse to use EDM, my scores will remain high, and I will get merit pay, unless I get fired for not using the curriculum provided, regardless of its lack of efficacy.

And don't get me started on Lucy Caulkins. We were given the writing assessment materials today. We were supposed to be teaching "How to" (the real words are "expository text") because that is what the first writing assessment will be on. Well, we have not been teaching what the assessment will be assessing because the assessment has a requirement in the rubric that is not a part of "How To" writing, except sometimes. Confused? I think the kids will be too.

This is the kind of negligence administration constantly foists on us, and then we look like the idiots. Teachers have complained about the lack of information this assessment provides for years. Each year our literacy leader (oxymoron) says they will be fixing it. They haven't, yet. It's only been my whole career, so, maybe they will get to it. Things take time, right?

Well, I cannot do it anymore. I sit in those damned meetings, make valid and important points by exposing the silliness, lies, or whatever else is being obfuscated by the principal and administration, then get a letter of reprimand in my personnel file for doing so.

I should be congratulated for my students' scores. I should be asked how I do it! But no, I am being told to shut up, regardless of the substance of my remarks (principal actually said that. My points are valid and substantive, but shut up). Shut up, sit down, be quiet, play dumb, and shut up again.

Well, fuck you. Got it!? Fuck. You.

I'm looking for other work. If you are a new teacher, or thinking of getting into teaching, you might want to think again. The future is not bright for teachers. Just like the taxpayers taking final responsibility for the greedy bastards, teachers are going to continue to take responsibility for the outcomes of kids they have no control over. If it seems unfair, and a little stoopid, well, you might be on to something.

Update: I forgot to mention that I cannot quit mid-year without being in danger of having my credential revoked. Teaching has changed, for the worse...

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