Friday, October 7, 2016
Why am I lovin my teaching job?
I just read an article titled "The Disproportionate Stress Plaguing American Teachers" by the Atlantic. It discussed how teachers are overly stressed by their job and it is becoming a huge problem. I thought of myself as an educator and thought, 'I am not stressed at all. I am actually so happy at my job that I come home and blog about it every night!' So I felt it was my duty to explain why I am lovin my Common Core job and why I think others are not. Hopefully by opening the dialogue up to different points of view and bantering a bit, we can go outside the box to solve some of our education problems and be happy again in our profession. So here is my story:
My district has created the job of "Common Core Demonstration Teacher or CCDT." I was hired in the second year of the program. The population of CCDTs began with 12, then at year two doubled to 24, then at year three doubled to 48. The initial plan was to continue doubling the amount of CCDTs every year until all teachers in our district had the title, the knowledge, and the salary, but the program got too expensive so we didn't hire anymore this year.
CCDTs are expected to work 27 additional days in the year and two additional hours per day. We get paid our daily rate so it is a decent sized pay increase. During these hours we are expected to attend Common Core conferences of our choice (paid by our district), educate ourselves with Common Core books and Webinars, and bring this valuable knowledge back to our classrooms to incorporate true Common Core practices. We share this knowledge by creating Common Core videos, presenting at school and district functions, and inviting teachers to visit and observe our Common Core practices in our classrooms.
Common Core Demonstration Teachers are not stressed or burned out. We love Common Core because we understand it. But the only reason we understand it is because we have been given the luxury of time to explore it, to practice it, to fail with it, and to learn from it. We have been given the resources needed to understand it and the time to reflect on it. We have been given the support by our school district to take risks with new 21st Century ideas, and learn and grow. We have been given the money that makes all this extra time spent out of the contract time worth it. We feel valued and honored actually, the way a teacher is supposed to feel.
I'm definitely not saying that all teachers should do this. This is my time of life when I want to do this. But what I'm saying is that valuing the teacher, honoring her, showing her respect, giving the time, resources, and support to learn the Common Core properly is what needs to be done to make the education system thrive again. Most importantly, pay us what we are worth! Teachers are working so many inconceivable hours just to understand Common Core practices that that is causing the stress. They are expected to know so much, but receive so little paid time to learn it and put it into practice. No wonder the majority of us are basket cases! So in conclusion, the easy fix to eliminate teacher stress, make them all Common Core Demonstration Teachers! Train them, give them time, let them take risks, let them present to others to better their craft, honor them, and... pay them what they are worth!
Anyone else have a solution to teacher stress?