Teachers are busier with their classes, paperwork, trainings and meetings than I’ve ever seen. It’s important in times like these to make sure we stay aware of how our colleagues are doing and support them where we can. An old friend of mine, who retired as a firefighter in another state, once told me that you never want to rescue a rescuer. He was describing to me different situations and why firefighters don’t just charge off into a burning building without first having a realistic and well thought out plan, and always being safety conscious. It takes more resources and endangers even more people when you have to rescue a rescuer. Teaching is kind of like that. In a way we’re rescuers. When it comes to our classrooms and our profession, if we lose, everyone loses. So as things get busier and busier, remember to keep your workload manageable. You can’t do the lesson you’d like to do...the one you used to do for 120 kids, when you’re now managing a class load of 190 kids, without taking on a lot of extra work...and you can’t keep that up without it taking a toll on yourself. Learn to say no and plan for what you’re given the time and resources for. Remember, it’s okay to advocate for yourself and your colleagues. Our students’ learning environment is our working environment. If we lose, everyone loses.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in December of 2015. ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. Rather than focusing on high stakes testing as the sole measure of a school’s or district’s success, ESSA guarantees that teachers, parents, and community members will have a voice in school accountability plans and school improvement plans. Testing will still be required in grades 3-8 and once in high school, but other measures such as school climate or access to advanced coursework will also be taken into consideration when looking at school accountability. For the past fourteen years, teachers have held firm in their belief that success is not measured in test scores alone. What other indicators do you think should be considered for school accountability? See NEA’s Opportunity Dashboard Indicator for suggestions on what should be added to our own state plan.
To learn more about ESSA please visit getessaright.org.
If you would like to have your voice heard as the state works on ESSA implementation, please contact MSEA at firstname.lastname@example.org.