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"I-Am-Mrs.- Smith (Spoken Robotically)

Oh, I long for the days when I used to be able to teach! No, you didn’t miss anything, I still teach, but I don’t TEACH, the way I used to, the way I loved to. Yes, I use technology, and it has opened up a whole new world for me, but I miss teaching the old way. Sometimes, I feel like a robot, I am micro managed every second, minute, hour, day,week, month, of the school year. I feel like a body in the room, programmed to teach not only what they want me to teach, but also how to teach it, and when to teach it. I can’t believe there was a time when I decided what part of the curriculum I would teach. I created my own schedules,and taught using my discretion. I was trusted to do this job and I did it well.

Now, we have pacing guides. I understand pacing guides allow everyone to be on the same page, and I’m sure they make it easier for new teachers,but come on, give me a little space! My problem is when supervisors come in your room, and run to the principal to tell him that you are not where you are supposed to be on the pacing guide. Hmmm…? What happened to the philosophy that all children don’t learn at the same pace?

My dismal observation began when I input May dates on my Google calendar. These dates not only included, state testing, but also practice for state testing. Lots of assessing happens towards the end of the year, and we need all the data we can get our hands on, right? My desolation increased, when during a meeting, we were gleefully informed, that the next school year we will have, wait for it… a Reading pacing guide! I almost couldn’t contain my happiness!(Sarcasm intended). I guess the Reading manual divided into days of the week is not enough.

I used to write plays and have my students perform them. There’s nothing like “Brown Sugar and the Seven Homeboys” performed by 5th graders. I miss Poetry Day, which I didn’t get to last year because of our rigid schedule. I’m trying to squeeze it in this year, but I don’t think I can. I enjoyed having my students create commercials and film them. I miss the FUN educational stuff. When I taught in NY, we used to take the students on trips all the time. Now, I am only allowed two trips a year, because we don’t want to take away any “valuable teaching” time.

I’ve already made up my mind. Next year, I am allowing my students to do the FUN educational stuff again. We will have Poetry Day, the parents and students love it. We will create commercials while studying propaganda techniques. And maybe, just maybe, I can hear my 5th grade homeboys(and girls), “Heigh,ho,Heigh,ho” around the auditorium again!

Post taken from "Diary of a Public School Teacher"

Educational Leadership: “Pacing Guides” by Jane L. David

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