LETTER: ‘Teachers Are Beyond Stressed’

FRAMINGHAM – In order to gather more information about the impact of the recent lesson plan directive, Framingham Teachers Association conducted a survey of members.

Over 320 educators responded – about 64% from the Elementary level, and 36% from the Secondary level, with respondents relatively equally distributed across the district.

Many are only able to meet this requirement with additional hours above and beyond the extra hours most teachers spend outside of the classroom, while others feel as if they are drowning or failing as they make their best
efforts to meet the requirements (you’ll hear this in more detail in a moment).

The educators indicated that this burdensome requirement is resulting in an average of 2-6 hours additional work, again, over and above what they already do outside of the classroom regularly.

I’d like to share some of the responses so you can hear the voices of teachers directly – the demoralization, the frustration, the knowledge this is not helping student learning:

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“Listen to teachers and phrases such as ‘I am drowning, I feel like I am in the middle of a tornado, this is impossible, I give up and I am getting my resume together’ are all you hear in the halls…If we voice concerns about the impact to students then we are not “team players”…I am already working 10-12 hour days, how much more can you expect of me, I am only one person!”

“As a new teacher I am unable to learn from coaches and become proficient with the curriculums because we spend our entire planning time filling out these forms. This is not helping me to become a better
educator.”

“As an ESL teacher I have 4 preps…I already spend at least 2 hours each day outside of contracted time grading, planning, contacting parents, home visits, and creating materials. I would be overwhelmed
and unable to comply if I had to create 4 lesson plans on a daily basis.”

“Beyond the extra amount of hours I have been putting in on my evenings and weekends, taking time away from my family, these new requirements do not make me feel like a trusted professional. I have…proved myself to be competent and consistently teach the whole child for each and every child that enters my classroom. These requirements as a mandate take time away from other aspects of my classroom such as putting up bulletin boards and keeping up with parent communication to name a few.”

“The communication on this new expectation has been abysmal. What is the rationale? The expectation? Where is the format– how detailed, how often, etc? Who will review them? For what purpose? As educators, we constantly ask these questions of ourselves as we plan lessons and implement new procedures with our students. It is insulting when those same measures are not taken by central administration and building administration…please trust that the Framingham Public School teachers are highly educated and dedicated professionals who plan thoughtful and meaningful lessons each and every day with clear objectives and reasonable formative and summative assessments…Requiring this extra layer of hoop-jumping for all only devalues your faculty and weakens an already shaky morale.”

“ This is the first time I’ve used this curriculum and we just received a new math program. For my algebra class I have to remake everything and search for supplemental resources because eureka is not student-friendly and is lacking in several areas. In my integrated class there are so many gaps that find myself constantly adjusting. I get to school at 7
am and leave at 6 at night still bringing work home with me.”

“I am no longer even considering have lunch dates with my students as I am currently working through my lunchtime so I can leave work at a reasonable time. My coworkers are stressed and anxious and that is making me less willing to collaborate. It is getting extremely difficult to remain positive amid the negative talk of inequity. Work is not a happy place.”

“Teachers are BEYOND stressed. I’ve never seen more tears, stressed,
and over worked teachers in my 20+ years of teaching. This affects
school climate. People talk about leaving…new teachers are shocked.”

Lori Brockway

Vice President Framingham Teachers Association

Editor’s Note: Her comments were read at the Wednesday School Committee meeting and submitted to SOURCE as a letter to the editor.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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