Sunday, October 4, 2015

Unsung Hero

In my journeys as a teacher I have been able to meet many remarkable educators.  Today I would like to highlight a teacher who goes above and beyond.  She gives up her lunch and planning to meet with parents.  She is often working with students after school and she is usually one of the last teachers to leave the building.  The 50 to 55 hour weeks is not unusual for her. She has managed this schedule for months.

The community, parents and students respect her.  She has become part of the foundation for this school in her community.  She deserves to be celebrated.  She has asked me to keep her name confidential because...

She told me this would be her last year teaching.  The workload has gotten so much heavier and she said she often feels like a failure.  Her feeling do not match reality. She has brought nearly all of her students up to passing under the new grading for learning standards.  I have seen how much effort she put into her students success. Her successes are just not being measured in appropriate ways. She works so hard but the bar has been set too high with no means to reach it.  She is being held accountable, accountable for things which limit her students success, accountable for circumstances she is unable to change. See this former blog post to understand the things we cannot change.

Sometimes people need some external appreciation or they are more likely to suffer burnout.  There is no real mechanism to acknowledge the teachers who strive to help students the way this she does. She goes far above and beyond her job description. She has so many markers of true excellence which go unnoticed as the reformers drive profit motivated changes in local education.  The people who have the greatest chance of making a change in a students life are driven over and driven off.

If we do not wake up and stop these harmful changes we are going to lose the people who make a real difference for our children.  Please oppose profit driven reform and support the teachers who are willing to fight this difficult battle for the sake of our community's children.

Enjoy your Fall break.  I'll see you in a week.

Right now I am reading/listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.  It's essential for anyone who wants to understand how people find success and the recipe for success. It was not at all what I expected it to be. You can find a copy at

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