This is my 20th year teaching and a lot has changed. I like: the standard based report cards that we use, the differentiated instruction that meets the needs of more children, time to collaborate with co-workers and the quality of educational materials that are available.
I don't like the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT (don't get me started), bullying on the rise, the cuts in art and music programs, the cuts, overall, in money for education, there is more information to teach and no more time in the day to do it, there is too much assessment, standardized testing is bogus, the spread between the have's and have not's continues to widen, the condition of school buildings is worsening, we are falling farther behind other countries, students don't have goals or values and they're just biding their time instead of enjoying the educational process.
Recently I read about the lack of parental involvement in Mrs. Bluebird's classroom. I find the same atmosphere in my school too. We are having our fall parent conferences right now. The first one I had on Thursday is a case in point.
"Mom" and I were discussing "Green Boy's" report card and she was shocked to see an "F" for the research grade. I explained to her that of the 3 reports we had done (we do one a month), He got a 50% on the first one, a zero on the second (he didn't turn it in) and a 70% on the third one. She become irate "WITH ME," wondering why I hadn't informed her and there must be some mistake, because she remembers "Green Boy" doing the report and I must have lost it. "Green Boy" took this opportunity to say that he remembered giving it to me.
I thank the Lord, that I am so organized and anal about keeping records. Not only did I show her copies of the first and third reports, explaining why he "earned" the grades he got, but I had "Green Boy" pull out his homework agenda and I flipped to the Friday report #2 was due and showed her where I had written the work not completed, (including report #2 not being turned in) and how she had signed the bottom of the page. I also showed her other Fridays where I had written work not completed, her signature being quite apparent at the bottom of the page.
This took the wind out of her sails, but she still added that I was giving to much work and she had a full time job and didn't have the time to read all the things I sent home to be signed. She also commented about how he was doing fine "last year" and has never had these problems before.
I feel like I spend half my time defending how I teach. I explained how I give study hall time every day, that I have no behavior issues with "Green Boy" and he is very bright and quite capable of completing the work, he is just not using his time wisely. I explained that this is a different year (that the odd numbered years are usually harder then the even numbered years), and there is new material being presented.
The educational system in America needs a major overhaul. Something has to change. I feel that, parents are more important then I am, in their child's education. If they don't "have time," why did they bother to have the kids in the first place? Parents need to get involved and stay involved and if they don't and nothing changes then an entire generation is doomed! So, homeschool parents, keep it up! Your kids are getting the best of you and they may have to run things if the public school parents don't pull their heads out soon.
(a public school teacher that is almost ready to call it quits)