It has been an excellent experience working with this district, but I don’t think that the problems I face can be solved only at the District level. There are too many programs, too many solutions, and too many mandatory tools. Furthermore, I’m prohibited from allowing the students to teach themselves in a hands-on manner, through self-directed study. They cannot pursue their own interests during class time, they have to digest the often unsavory unformation of schooling. I say unformation because instead of informing them, it often un-forms the students: destroys their potential and their creativity. Ask Kevin Robinson if you don’t believe me.
I am not the only person who feels this way. My co-workers agree that teachers are weighed down by too many rules. Get rid of Mastery Connect. It is just one more good idea that weighs me down, wastes my time, and takes away from the students. I already work extra hours to maintain grades, update lesson plans, and satisfy EYE requirements, yes I’m a new teacher. Teaching is very satisfying work, but doing the “Administrative” duties required of me by the State and this District is an unnecessary encumbrance. “Because I have to” is not a worthy enough reason for me to continue subjecting myself to competing state and district policies. This setup is like going to college all over again, where each professor thinks that all of my, the student’s, time should be used for their class, paying no mind to the workload given by any of the other professors.
I frequently ask my students “Why do we come to school?” and the answer I most often hear is “because we have to”. They are astonished when I tell them that if they didn’t come, or have to come, schools wouldn’t exist. I believe that schooling should be designed to help students to succeed.
Success is different for each individual. For this reason, I strongly object to standardized testing. Standardized testing is not a valuable skill for the students nor does it contribute to society as a whole. Success is not the ability to pass a standardized test. I advocate independence, new ideas, creativity, invention, love, moral values, patriotism, and religion. These are the most valuable and rare attributes in our society. No standardized test ascertains their presence, nor has any curriculum I’ve seen explicitly advocated their propagation. What an ominous mistake.