2.26.2011

Things that make you go hhhhmmmmmmm.....

I have read several posts lately and they have made me wonder. Made me wonder if I am getting screwed in the deal of teaching. But then, really, I know no different. I don't know what I am missing or what the kids are missing.

Several teachers have posted about the possibility of losing their planning time in elementary school. I am in shock that people have planning time. Where I am in CA, and in many other districts around me, there is no such thing as planning time. We don't have "specials" or anything like that. We have Peaceful Playgrounds once a week and that is the time we use to "collaborate" with the grade level. Otherwise, everything is put on us.

We do not have music, art, computers or PE, unless we plan it ourselves. There are no instruments, no art supplies, there are computers, but in another building, and PE is all on our own with whatever supplies there are. So, for my kids, we don't do music, I do as much art as I can, we haven't used a computer in the 3 years since I have been there and PE,well, they have recess, even though that isn't right by standards. But, we do what we can.

I can't wait for the backlash from people who will say that the children aren't being given a proper education. I don't disagree with you on that, but it sure as hell ain't my fault. We have had our budget cut in half this year for supplies. There goes any extra art stuff. We have been given a minimum day each week, yet we are required to teach added minutes for language arts and math. There goes anything else we could have fit in. We don't have the materials or the supplies needed to teach art, music or even work on computers. Again, we do what we can with the stuff we've got.

As I get ready to send my daughter to kindergarten next year, I know she won't get the "specials" at school. I know she will have limited access to art, music, PE and stuff. But then that is where my job as a parent comes in to play. I give her the experiences that she won't get anywhere else.

I have been working for 13 years teaching first grade. In those 13 years, I have spent countless hours at school working on stuff. I have spent countless hours working at home doing stuff. I do schoolwork watching TV, while making dinner, while watching soccer practice, etc. Do I like it? No, but it's part of the job. It's what we have to do in order to do our job successfully. We don't have the luxury of having prep time. We never have. High school and middle school teachers do, but not us. I have just accepted it as part of the job. My hubby knows I have work to do on the weekends, at night, after school. He doesn't love it, but he knows it's what I need to do for my kids.

I would give my left arm for a prep period, but I know it will never happen. Unless I move to another state. And even then, who knows what it would be like. As for me, I know what I have to do for my kids and to make my teaching the best. If that means giving up my time before and after school and at home, I will. I know my kids don't get the things that it seems like the rest of the kids across the country are getting, but we are doing the best we can with them with what we got. It may not be a lot, but it's more than nothing!

5 comments:

  1. I just can't fathom any kids NOT having art/music/pe! How sad :(

    For me, it isn't so much about the prep time (which before was 35 minutes 3 times a week, you really can't do much in just 30 minutes), it's about what's best for kids. It pisses me off that education means so little to our government that they are hurting children and then in the next breath bitching about how schools are failing. Hmmm, I wonder why THAT might be?!

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  2. Wow! I can't believe your students don't get specials. That is so sad. I had no idea that was legal. I thought the students had to have that extra time in specials. I was under the impression that all teachers had to be alloted an hour break each day. I will not take my break for granted anymore or complain when it gets cut a few minutes.

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  3. We have our break for lunch (the law is 30 minutes, we have 44) and a few minutes for recess twice a day, but that's it.

    The news loves to paint the education system in CA as broken, but it's not the system - it's the government running the system. We have stepped up over the years and are doing way more with way less. While our students may not get the "specials", they are still learning to be students, learning how to read, write and think just like other kids in the country. And we do this with over 60% EL learners, 85% free lunch and a myriad of other challeneges that they kids meet and deal with daily.

    As teachers, we don't know what we're missing, since we haven't had it. We go, do our jobs to the best of our abilities, come home, do more work and go back the next day and do it all again, with our kids, all day long.

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  4. I just want to say that I admire your perseverance in doing what you have to do for the sake of your kiddos...despite the challenges that you face day in and day out.

    Have a great weekend! :)

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  5. Wow! I teach in Ontario (Canada) and we have a very strict curriculum to teach from, and to report on. We have to fill in X # of minutes on each subject, but can integrate the "specials" into language and math - those are the foci at this stage. The curriculum is made widely available in paper and online to teachers and parents, and if we're not adhering to it, and are found out or reported, we could lose our licenses! As an artist, and a student who really figured things out through art and music, I can't imagine what kids who aren't exposed to it on a regular, curricular-laddered, basis. :(

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