These teachers site many reasons for leaving; unfair evaluation systems where teachers are judged by the test scores of their students, lack of support from their districts, unions or administration, increased and unrealistic class sizes, more and more demands being put on teachers with less pay, inadequate facilities, materials and funding. The list goes on and on.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to balance teaching and family life, the demands of our profession cross over into or homes having not been given adequate time within our school day to accomplish all that needs to be done. " Work harder, work smarter, of course you are expected to work at home, hang in there."
The teachers I am so honored to work with ARE hanging in there.
Teachers are easily the most caring and hardest working people I know, and I know a lot of them. They are not afraid to work hard, or to find a better way to reach a struggling child. The teachers I know are always thinking with their hearts doing what's best for kids.
For me this year, that's what I find most difficult. Being asked to teach in a way that I don't think is best for kids. Asking the youngest of our students to learn a curriculum they aren't read for. That's what I struggle with. That's where my tears came from.
If I were to leave the profession, it would not be because I'm afraid to work hard, it wouldn't be because I don't want to bring work home. It wouldn't be because I spend too much of my own money on my classroom, or that I'm afraid of being judged on my students' performance on the latest math assessment. It would be because philosophically I struggle with what I'm being asked to teach. I struggle with knowing deep in my heart that we are putting too much pressure on our youngest students all in the name of high stakes achievement.
I'm not going anywhere.
I'm not going anywhere because if I do, I'm giving up. Giving up on the hope that things can be better and will be better. It's my job to do what's best for kids. I'm not against teaching a kindergartner to read, or asking them to understand how numbers work. I'm not opposed to asking them to work hard to reach their potential. What I am opposed to is not giving them enough time to play and be the little kids they are or have the right to be.
I'm not walking away because they deserve better, and if I can somehow find a way to balance academic expectations and creative play, then I will. I am not going to walk away from my philosophical beliefs about what I know is right. I'm an early childhood teacher it's my job to be an advocate for them when they are unable to advocate for themselves. Perhaps things aren't going to change right away, but with a little perseverance from those of us who work with the littlest of our students thing can be different.
I'm going to stick around and find out.