Thursday, September 23, 2010

Public Schools from a Teacher's Perspective

Last night, a FaceBook friend (old high school friend), posted on her page that one of her girls came home wanting pink her. Not over her mom's dead body! Well, the comments went on and there was a comment that struck me from a former classmate. In a nutshell, here are his feelings:

Public schools suck.

He commented that teachers are not qualified to be teaching what they are teaching. There is too much fundraising going on. Where do taxes and school fees go anyway? Schools try to take away a child's identity.

Well, I was very "moved" by his comment (that is putting it nicely).

Some one made the comment that when he has kids, he should homeschool (yeah, he thinks schools suck, but he doesn't have any kids. HMMMM). His reply...NO!

But wait a minute. I thought he didn't like public schools????? Now I'm confused.

As a parent, teacher, and former student, I want to put out there my opinion about public schools: They are not perfect.

Now, I don't know about other states, but I do know what it takes to be a teacher here in Kentucky.

1. Go to college and take the basic college classes and the required education courses for your desired grade level.

2. Throughout the education classes, do field work (go into real live classrooms and get involved and observe).

3. Final semester, complete student teaching (under the supervision of another teacher in your area and the supervision of a university supervisor).

4. If you pass student teaching, you can graduate with a Bachelor's in Education. If not, sorry about your luck; the last four years of your life was a total waste and now you have to figure out what to go back to school to do.

5. First year of teaching (if you are lucky enough to get a job): INTERNSHIP. That means lots of observations, criticism, paperwork, stress. If you pass your internship, maybe you get to keep your job.

6. If you don't get a job the first year, you apply as a substitute teacher and show your stuff so maybe you'll get a job when there is an opening (in the meantime, apply in every school district in a 100 mile radius).

7. Now, if you get to keep your job after you pass your internship, you HAVE to go back to college and start work on your Master's degree. If you don't get your Master's in the given time period, YOU ARE FIRED and LOSE YOUR CERTIFICATION.

8. As a teacher, you get walk throughs from principals, superintendents, and who knows who else several times throughout the year. You get observations from your principal on top of that. You also get added paperwork at lunch time that must be completed by 2:45 even though you have a full schedule and no planning that day.

9. Keep in mind, you have a bunch of kids (75 in my case) that have different learning abilities/styles. They come from poor families, rich families, drug families, incest families, abusive families, and families where they never know who they are staying with or where they are going. Some kids are hungry, some kids have rotting teeth, some kids smell like cat pee, some kids keep head lice, some kids don't have moms or dad and live with another member of the family, some kids have had a bath in days, some kids steal, some kids cuss, some kids sleep because they haven't slept in days in a bed (if they've ever had a bed. Some kids move every 3 months to different cities, states, or even go to Mexico for a while and then come back.

10. Don't forget that you get pop up assembies, fire drills, tornado drills, lockdown and lockout drills, earthquake drills, and bus drills.

11. Oh, there are also tests. Lots and lots of tests. We have to make sure every student is "proficient" on the grade level they are in. Doesn't matter if they are special ed or low level learners. All kids must perform on the same level on the mandated tests or your school is in crisis. Lawmakers don't care about the "stuff" in #9.

12. Oh, then there are the parents (guardians). Some of them actually care about education. Others will quickly point out that it is not their responsibility to read with or do homework with their kids. Some guardians you will never see. Some you will only see if you try to correct their child's inappropriate behavior. Notice I am saying guardians because a lot of the kids are living with other relatives or other people.

Now I am not complaining about my job as a teacher, I just want you to know that I have more shoes to fill. I have to be teacher, counselor, nurse, referee, parent, friend, custodian, babysitter, and law enforcement. Some days, I teach no educationa/academic content. On those days, my students are learning how to be civil, obedient, respectful, trustworthy, and hygenic. Somedays, survival is key.

I love my students. I want what is best for them. I am doing my best for them.

In my opinion, if a parent (or other person) is not happy with the public school system, that person should GET INVOLVED. That is the only way to make a difference. Volunteer. Go to school board meetings. Go to PTO meetings. Go to SBDM meetings. Attend conferences. Vote.

Our public schools can be a great place if everyone, and I mean everyone put children first. Not test scores, not technology, not beautiful campuses, but CHILDREN FIRST. Don't expect all children to be on the same level. They are not the same. They shouldn't be treated the same.

Parents, support your child's teacher. Don't bad mouth a teacher in front of a student. That student will never have any respect for that adult again (and maybe for any authority figure).

Public schools aren't perfect, but if everyone came together to support the children, they could be a great place to be.


  1. Love this post! I'm so grateful that our kids are in a good school, with small classrooms, and NO fundraising! No form of education is perfect, but what makes any of them successful is the involvement of the parents! Unfortunately for so many, it's nothing more than free daycare :(

  2. Well said.
    I know its tough to be a teacher. I don't think I could do it.
    This year my daughter is in kinder. Her class has 27 students & 3 more that have autism that they mainstream here and there. Its a lot for the teacher to do.. The kids are separated into 4 groups. Some days one group has to work w/no adult supervision.
    I am a SAHM & I have all the time to volunteer. I volunteer in her class twice a week. But I do see at least 4 kids in her class that don't know how to write their names or even know their colors. There is so much they have to know entering kinder that if they don't know these basics they are really struggling. We are already going into our third month of school & they are still struggling with this. I hope they pick it up soon, November the teacher is gonna set up reading groups for those that are ready and January for those not quite there yet.


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