“Ask a teacher how they feel — any teacher, every teacher. At first, the responses might shock or surprise you, may even sadden you, and will hopefully lead to outrage.”
This is a must read: “Uncounted Underground of Teachers” , from Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post. Teachers are outraged, but the vast majority are afraid to speak up.
This is why I write, and also why I write anonymously. I am afraid too. The climate in education today is not one that encourages dissent.
I know almost all of the teachers at my school share my frustration and heartbreak with each new mandate. We also share a deep love of children and profound joy in those rare moments when we ditch the script and real teaching and learning happens.
Teaching is a political act- we are shaping minds, hearts and the future. The values we communicate matter, and when we’re forced to test and punish, to follow a script, and value data and compliance above all else our work has far reaching political and social implications.
But not only are people afraid to speak up, they don’t have time or energy. Teaching is all consuming, you eat, sleep, dream your kids and their crises. There are days when I don’t sit down once from 7 am to 6 pm. But with ESSA and a ruthless reform movement, if teachers don’t speak up soon we won’t be teachers for much longer.