Sunday, August 28, 2011

Everywhere there seems to be something "new"

It seems we are exposed to the "new & Improved" on a daily basis. We have all thought why did it have to be improved? I thought I heard last week about how that changing of the original Coke © recipe was all just a huge publicity ploy.

Somedays, I am just soooo tired of manipulation by the media. President Obama, who I respect and admire, said Hurricane Irene was an "historic storm."
Seriously? A category 1 hurricane historic? It was below 100 mph after it left the OBX heading for NY. As with any hurricane, it was a dangerous storm to be sure.
Eventually our language suffers when we continue to use words to impress when the actual event ought to be impressive in and of itself. Taking out a thesaurus to hype something, is just asking for people to ridicule it. The bigger and badder something or someone is made out to be, the more people will step up and challege it.
There were folks in NY city laughing at Hurricane Irene. Though I have never been in a hurricane un close and personal, I am pretty sure they are nothing to be laughed at. Even 85 mph winds have the power to take down an average house, telephone poles and a few roofs off shopping malls.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tired of doing what we love

Finally, we have realized that true value of doing what you love...ZERO...ZILCH...NADA...We have known it for some time. We wanted to make a difference in someone's life. We wanted to influence others to change their world. On some level we were successful. We have been able to facilitate postitive choices and have seen improvement on an individual level.
Everytime things got tough in the classroom, we always had that one moment that always made it worthwhile. Like the parent who came up to me at graduation telling me "You gave me back my son." All I did was treat him like a person and that made the difference. My wife and I NEVER imparted ACADEMIC knowledge to any great degree. None of our students developed into Genius or Rhode Scholars (unless they already were), rather they became HUMAN. They learned that people care fore each other, that it is ok to make mistakes, that we don't like everyone and that tomorrow is a new day.
However, they were not able to apply this to standardized tests. They did show documented growth in the areas of Math and Reading, just not significant enough to warrant praise from the administration. We were unable to take a child 2-3 years below grade level and within 1 year have them at or just below current grade level.
We knew teachers who could do this...somehow they could take a SpEd student in the 7th grade (chronologically 8th) who was reading at a 4th grade level and doing math at a 5th grade level in September, and have that student reading and doing math 2-3 grade levels up from where they started.
But suddenly when that same student was in my room, they couldn't read 4th grade texts nor could they do 7th grade math---What a BAD teacher I was...
Yep, uh-huh...
Having spent my entire life in education of some form, I can tell you that for the most part it is all SMOKE and MIRRORS. Just an ILLUSION.
I started in 1995, making $29K a year. At one point I was making $50K. Generally I averaged $42K between 1997 and 2009. Currently I am making less than $40K,(for the past 3 years with no increases) co-pay insurance just for myself--NOT family, and contracted to work an 8 hour day. All this I did for the love of teaching.
Today I have NO retirement, no medical pension and no real job security. They are RIF'ing senior teachers who make $40K or more on a regular basis and hiring new graduates for $30K.
This year I have promised myself will be the last. At 51, it is past time for a career change. Time to forego love and latch onto income potential.
Teaching is a dying ART. It is becoming scripted and like housing, pre-fabricated to the point any one who is willing to follow directives without regard to the child's well-being, will be successful.