Saturday, February 25, 2017

If I wanted to read a script...I would have been an actor!

I love teachers. I really love them. When we go to college to become teachers, we know we will never be rich. We know we won't have the luxury of going to the bathroom whenever we need to, and we are clear that we will be buying pencils for our kids. It's part of the deal. And we get it! But...we also thought that we could be creative every day and make decisions that help our students to become contributing members of society.

When I first started teaching...there weren't "canned programs" handed to me. I got a list of standards that I was responsible for teaching and was sent on my way. And TEACH I did. Yesterday I was talking to a couple of my colleagues after a hard day's work and a teacher I value said to me, "I don't want to read a script.

I've said it before and I will say it again...if I wanted to follow a script...I WOULD HAVE BEEN A ACTOR. I am not like other teachers I know. I challenge the rules. I literally cannot follow the "scripts" provided by people that haven't been in a classroom in decades...IF EVER.

Some days it seems like the battle to actually teach again will never be won. My conversation with that awesome teacher I mentioned earlier made me feel pretty good about how I spend my free time. I create things to HELP teachers and kids. I write assessments and develop curriculum that requires NO SCRIPT. Because I know that doesn't work. I want a teacher to be able to download something I created and use it instantly. They say you can sell lots more stuff if you blog about it...or explain how to use it. I don't need to blog about HOW to use my materials...they are all meant to be self-explanatory and Student/Teacher friendly. When I created this argument was for MY KIDS. And they were all at different places in their writing journey. My intent was to create anything that someone might need to find success. I didn't use all of the parts. I used the pieces my kids need! But I knew I was teaching the standards because I aligned it to the Common Core...and then some. 

This is how I help kids and teachers now. There is no canned program. I certainly didn't create another one. I create things teachers can use easily and have everything at their fingertips that would support their kids. It's not rocket science...

Teaching is an art...but the canvas has been hijacked by people that think they can control what we do in our classrooms each day. I'm looking forward to the day the pendulum swings back in the direction of allowing teachers to create and make their own decisions...for their kids. 

In the meantime...I'll be in my classroom. Going OFF-SCRIPT. 

No Such Thing As a Free Lunch...

I want to make this blog funny. I want to make it relevant. But I HAVE to make it honest. Last week the Secretary of Education stood up in front of a cheering crowd of Americans to say that there is "NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH." She bragged about being the first person to say these words to Bernie Sanders and pledged to change it.

WHAT??? REALLY??? Are we really in a place where we are going to talk about taking away lunch provided to millions of American children that may not eat otherwise? I wonder if the people in the crowd cheering her on have ever watched a 10-year-old stress out about an upcoming vacation from school, or dread summer because they KNOW food will become their greatest challenge. I have. And I live and work in an affluent community.

So...Dear Betsy...if it isn't too much trouble...could you PLEASE refrain from standing in front of a crowd of uninformed and misguided Americans and demonizing hungry kids? I really don't think this is asking too much of you. If you took the time to read one article about hunger, or one study about poverty and how it has led directly to the decline in test scores for so many of our nation's children, you might not be willing to say these things with such delight in your eyes. Does it delight you that 21.7 million American children have to rely on the Federal lunch program for food? It bothers me a lot. I stay up at night and think about what else I can do to help hungry kids.

But don't worry Betsy. People like me will keep on keepin on. When I see hungry kids...I'll give up my lunch like I always do. I'll bring double because I KNOW someone will need it. I'll keep stashing fruit and crackers and yogurt around the schools I work in...just in case. I'll order an extra sandwich when I order my Jimmy Johns to be delivered to my door so I can pretend it was an accident and give it to a kid I know didn't have lunch...and probably didn't have breakfast either. I'll raise more and more money ( so I can buy grocery store gift cards for families to use during school breaks. I will continue to do these things because I can. AND because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

I will fight you every step of the way while you work to dismantle public education in the name of religious freedom. Last time I checked...a good Christian is someone that sees a hungry kid and feeds them. I'm not sure what that makes you.