We have received such an outpouring of support as a result of our first Teacher TRUTH! Mostly, teachers identified with the teacher who wrote “Overwhelmed After 13 Years.” We have heard from teachers who have been in the classroom for 25+ years lamenting that they, too, feel the same way this year… or have been feeling the same way for the past several. We have heard from teachers who say they wish they could share their TRUTH, too, but just can’t find the time – which is exactly the sad TRUTH behind “Overwhelmed.”
I had a different takeaway from the submission, though. I became frustrated and angry the more that I read it. Instead of saying, “I really felt that way, too,” I said, “AAAAAAHHHHHHH! Why does it have to be this way?”
As if all of the assessments and standards and new curriculum weren’t enough, now the administrators are piling on unnecessary, poorly planned (at least at the secondary level, where teachers already have received two different lesson plan templates), and required paperwork for their teachers. Shouldn’t the administrators want to help their teachers wade through all of the “more” instead of being the ones who are responsible for adding MORE?
But, I know the district in which “Overwhelmed” teaches. I know that when questions about assessments are asked, when questions about scope and sequence and curriculum are asked, administrators get defensive and react, oftentimes, unfairly. It is not uncommon in that district for teachers who ask questions or raise concerns to be observed several times a week. It is not uncommon for teachers in that district who try to teach in such a way that they know is right for kids to be given more duties.
And, it certainly seems that the new elementary lesson plan is nothing more than an act of retaliation against a group of dedicated elementary teachers who got together last school year on their own time to research and share resources to ultimately find a solution to all of the district’s assessments and lack of curriculum and then had to beg to be a part of the decision-making process. I was in attendance at a school board meeting last spring when the board president himself stated that teachers don’t want to take the time to help write curriculum. HA!
I also know that the majority of the supporters of “Overwhelmed” responded to us through email, rather than sharing the Teacher TRUTH on Facebook or commenting on the TRUTH In Teaching website because of these sorts of repercussions that are being dealt out by administrators. We’ve also been hearing from teachers who are reading our material and signing up for our newsletter but are hesitant to get involved with the site or on social media due to the same fears.
These facts alone should be enough to get you involved in sharing your TRUTH with everyone. Don’t forget: Teacher TRUTHS may be submitted completely anonymously, as “Overwhelmed After 13 Years” was. Your voices will help shed light on what’s really happening inside your classrooms and what you really are facing each day as a teacher during these times.
It’s a shame that this we vs. they climate exists in a district that could be so much better. So many teachers are feeling overwhelmed and inundated with MORE, when they should be feeling energized and excited for a new year with new faces before them. This is an administration problem. But, the teachers are faced once again with “making it work.” It’s time for all of the teachers who are feeling overwhelmed to stand together. Show the administration it’s not going to work this time. Show them that you can be professionals who do your jobs without handing in a 17-page manifesto each week. Show them that you are capable of doing your jobs well without the burdens of their paperwork.
At this point, you need to stand up for yourselves. A change won’t happen until people realize just how much a drastic change is needed. Email Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Angela at email@example.com to help by sharing your TRUTH.
Image via Flickr by Ashley Fisher