‘Why is this the worst school year?’
If anyone cares or has any backbone at the Fayette County Board of Education, please check on your teachers out here in the fields.
Over the last 3-4 weeks, most all of our classroom teachers at our school have received three or four planning periods, total.
On top of that, many have meetings right after school or serve on other committees, therefore leaving no time to call a parent, pull curriculum and materials for experiments for the next day, grade papers, look at formative assessments, type lesson plans, or post any grades.
Someone needs to intervene with our school principals. Since the new reforms, teachers have steadily been drowning under the workload stress.
What happened to the SACS plan and reforms that said teachers would receive common planning to create meaningful lessons which implement the new Georgia Performance Standards, time to photocopy, scan materials, perform the endless clerical and administrative duties, turn in all the money we are asked to collect for the school, conference with parents, look at assessments, work on remediation and acceleration plans, etc.?
Given the current success with testing scores in our county, imagine what is possible if these burdens were reduced and teachers actually had some time to work on plans for children who need extra help.
Ultimately, after putting in 55-60 hours at school, our own families are neglected because we must work an additional 5-10 hours or more on the weekend for lack of any planning during the weekday. Why is this year the worst ever?
The word among schools is that principals are very nervous about what the new superintendent will expect. Therefore, this is a top-down, shove it on the teachers to make them test, assess, test, assess, test, assess and make AYP.
Parents should be very concerned that morale among teachers is falling, rapidly. Your child’s teacher is getting slammed with redundant requests for paperwork, testing, posting data into reports, more testing, meeting about the testing reports, meeting about meeting for testing, making AYP, coming up with another plan, meeting more about AYP.
And, do not forget, we must make AYP or the principal’s contract may not be renewed.
Add to that list the new training required for our beautiful new 21st Century classrooms, conferences with parents, required faculty meetings, CCP meetings, and other committee meetings.
Yes, teachers are having more and more dumped on them each year. Now we hear that we are being required to type a Georgia Performance Standards (a series of numbers correlated to a standard) beside every question of every test we give a student.
Who sits in their quiet offices all day and makes up these additional burdens for teachers? When will we ever have time to type up standards?
Perhaps these folks that are able to sit in front of their computers each day could help justify their jobs by doing this for us.
We are not making up pretend test questions. We know we are to teach the standards, that is what we are doing, and again, we know how to teach the standards and test accordingly. We are performing, folks; look at our test scores.
Add to these issues, a classroom of 25-29 students, many with special needs and then the additional meetings required for all these children: They are endless.
So, when are we expected to plan and take care of our students? On our own time, that’s when.
Here we are getting furloughs and pay cuts, having our planning taken, after school planning taken, and are expected to give and give until we give out.
We have no choice in order to get it all done but to give the county and state MORE of our own time for free during evenings and weekends.
We are continuously asked to give more of our time, come in early and work late to make sure students at risk make AYP. There are only so many hours in a day. Stress is on overload, to say the least.
To be a good teacher, teachers need time. Time to prepare for the instruction that we have to deliver day after day. We also need time to talk to other teachers to find out if there are better ways to get the material across to some of our special needs students.
We hardly have time to think and apply all of the new mandates placed upon us, let alone do planning or collaborating.
No teacher has a class that is so unified that they do not have to make adaptations to their lessons. Many people think teaching is going to school at 8 a.m. and leaving at 3 p.m. each day, with a nice long paid summer vacation (it is not paid).
We have many demands put on us in and out of the classroom, 12 months per year. Many have telephone conferences on the weekend with parents.
As you can see, we are a group of dedicated teachers who really care and are not disgruntled and complaining. There is a straw that will break a camel’s back. Many of our best have decided to just walk away from it all. We cannot imagine why.
In closing, Friday, Oct. 15 is a student holiday and teacher staff development day. Do you think anyone with FCBOE had the fortitude, or decency to allow teachers a day to actually work on all that is being shoved on them? The answer is no.
We are trying our best to implement new techniques in 21st Century classrooms. We are trying to grade the required writing assessments with about 22 components to grade by a rubric on every student and then enter them into your Infinite Campus database. We are trying to implement a Standards Based Classrooms with no time to do so.
But instead, the principals had to submit a plan to “their bosses” outlining “more training” for teachers on this Friday!
You should be ashamed of yourselves with the quality of teachers we have in Fayette County. This should be something that GAE or PAGE lobbies the legislators for.
Is anyone paying attention? Board of Education members, please help us. Many of us have quite a bit to say to our new superintendent.
Everyone knows you keep your mouth shut in Fayette County, so ...
Names withheld in order to keep our jobs