Monday, October 21, 2013

"It's Not What You thought When You First Began It, You Got What You Want Now You Can Hardly Stand It Though, By Now You know It's Not Going To Stop

It has been quite a while since I have written anything.  I have thought about it quite a lot, but time keeps slipping away.  We have a couple more days and the first quarter is finished.  I have felt pretty solid about this year.  There some challenges and some new challenges, but I feel the best about this year than I have for any of the other years I've been in middle school.

I really want to make the best of this year because unfortunately, next year probably means some mandatory changes.  Naturally, just as you start to get into a groove something comes up.  That seems to be how it goes.  The more I think about the prospective changes, the sadder I become.  I just don't see how these will be better for our students.  They will be essentially another year behind in science, as well as social studies.  The lab I've worked really hard to organize will be shared and I will be a visitor in it.  I won't even have a real classroom.  I don't even know where all the things I have accumulated will go.  I tried to make changes in my room to make it feel more welcoming and stimulating for students, and that gets to all go away.  I can't even fathom how the students will feel about these changes.

I don't understand how moving teachers into positions that they may never have taught or at least for awhile contributes to gains in student achievement, especially when these changes are mandatory.  I don't understand how we can be penalized for having 1/3 of our population be new students each year, not to mention be ELLs.  I don't understand how disrupting nearly every teacher in our district is going to solve our problem with math or reading.  I don't think we have a problem.  I think we are doing the best we can with our reality.  Our students are real people that have variations in ability.  That doesn't mean that can't learn and can't do well.  But it is utterly ridiculous to proclaim that all students will be proficient in all subjects by 2014.  We are not cookie-cutter people.  There are real differences and our students face real challenges.

I really enjoy how our middle school team works, and this change will break that team up.  I don't even think the collaboration efforts that we have done and plan to do will even work with these changes.  I think our team is so strong and so supportive of one another.  I will miss the work we do together.

I know that I sound really negative right now, but this is just so upsetting.  It has been a difficult week, as the plans are becoming more of a reality.  I just needed to get it out of my system for now and move on.  I can't change anything, and it probably will happen.  I'm going to have to get over it and make the best of it.  I know that I will still give my best for my students and that's what counts.  I just hope I can embrace the change and enjoy it as much as I enjoy what I have now.

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