Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NCLB plus No AYP = an Un-Welcome Welcome

I haven't visited 'blogland' for about a week...
I have just. not. been. feeling very positive.
I've actually been quite stressed...
You know...to the 'crabby' point?
You see, in 33 years of teaching,
this is the most negative 'back to school' workshop that I have ever attended.

Why?    You ask??
First...
The Economy...The Budget...
It has affected our salaries, our insurance, our available teaching materials.
Usually, our 'Back to School' workshop features a motivational/inspirational speaker.

Not this year.
No...Not this year...
It was about cutting our resources,
about harassment,
about monitoring our sick leave,
and about our teacher dress code.
And if that wasn't depressing enough...
After the break, we learned that our school did not make AYP.
That is, the No Child Left Behind jargon for
Adequate Yearly Progress.
If you are an educator, you know what I am talking about.
Think about it...
Each year the students need to take the mandated standardized test,
 and score better than the group from the year before.

According to our calculations, by 2014,
100% of the students will need to score 100% on the test.
Is this even possible?
Ummm...

No.
Never the less...
We have many, many, many, new policies and procedures for
lesson plans,
course objectives,
state standards,
curriculum mapping,
classroom management,
integrated reading,
end of course exams...
etc...etc...etc...
At first, we were all feeling pretty sorry for ourselves...
 Lots of teachers were stressed about this...
Teachers crying in school...

I have spent about 10 days giving this much thought and personal reflection.
I realized about a week ago, that I need to choose my attitude.


This can be good for our profession.
It will be good for our school.
It will be good for our students.
It is good for us.

Now, when my alarm sounds at 5:05 a.m...
There is no early morning blog reading,
No early morning Etsy listings...

It is up and out,
preparing for the school day...

...Helping our students be the best that they can be.

Take care,
~Natalie

16 comments:

Sherry said...

Several of my dearest friends and two of my sons are teachers. I do appreciate all that teachers do and understand a little about the pressure you all deal with. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the many other teachers who just want to do the best they can for their students.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Our daughter-in-law is a teacher and I have several friends who are currently teachers or have retired in the last few years. So I've heard a lot about new policies, testing, etc. I'm so glad you are viewing these things as good for the students and school. It will only make working through all these new requirements easier.

american girl primitives said...

Natalie,

As a former teacher, I hear you on everything. That's a great attitude. I hope you have a great school year despite everything.

Carey

Busy Bee Suz said...

I am so sorry that there is so much change for you and the students.
I DO love your attitude...but then again, what else would we expect from you.
Take care Nat-
Suz

Nancy said...

Hi Natalie,
Changes can be hard, but you have chosen an admirable attitude to have. I hope the school year goes well for you!
Nancy

marie said...

I hope you have a wonderful school year ~ I'm pretty sure, given your outlook, that you will!

Cozy said...

I was an aide who ran the computer lab in a Title 1 elementary school for 16 years from 1990 to 2006. I watched the beginning effects of this law (NCLB)and the stresses it put on teachers who gave it their all every day.

It is a terrible way to run a school, the testing standards are unreasonable in so many ways.

I would like to believe that if you hang in there, this too shall pass.

chellebelle said...

you have a wonderful attitude, but I still think the lawas are wrong.. I'm a parent that is paying close attention, and personally believe that we show teach children to learn and THINK not teach them to test.. my teaching friends (most are special ed teachers) struggle through these restrictions.. I really respect you all the more for it.

Kindra-At Home With K said...

We love our teachers!! Thanks for your hard work!!

Joan's Good Life said...

I am so glad to hear of your renewed attitude. I can only imagine just how difficult it is for all the teachers. But, having been a student and one that has changed schools upwards of 20 times (military life), I have to say that the attitude of the teachers GREATLY affects the attitude of the students. I only wish I had had more teachers like you! Keep up your great attitude and enthusiasm and let me say... Thank you! These kids are better because of people like you!

Valley Primitives Gift Shoppe said...

{{{Natalie}}} I am so sorry! Just remember that you are making a difference in kids lives! Just look at the young lady that came back to visit you after all those years.
Kim

jodi said...

I applaud your attitude change and your determination to make it a better year. Be careful this year in regards to your health mental and physical. Take care of yourself.

Patchwork Penguin said...

I know what you mean. We are without a contract... a contract we have been trying to negotiate in good faith for over a year. They want to get rid of tuition reimbursement.... how are we supposed to continue our education if they take that away and don't give us a raise? That is just one point of contention.

On a positive note... our middle school did make AYP this year... we've been on the watch list for quite a while.

Good luck this year... I know it's tough, but look into the eyes of your students and remember why we chose this profession.

Hugs!

Vicky said...

It is teachers like you that make parents like me HAPPY to send our kids to public schools. Thank you!

Carol/Firecrackerkid said...

Oh my goodness Natalie. My kids have been out of school for some time now, but we still like to support our schools for the children. It is tough to keep a positive attitude, I know. Hang tuff gal:)

Tolentreasures said...

Isn't it too bad that they don't make parents adhere to these strict guidelines? It would make the teachers' jobs so much easier! I feel for you. Keep up the good attitude!

Cathy