LETTER: ‘Framingham Can Not Afford To Lose Any More Great Teachers’

Editor’s Note: This was submitted to SOURCE. It was read at the last School Committee meeting on September 18.

FRAMINGHAM – I wrote this one morning last week and I want to share it with you tonight…

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I am wide awake! I am restless and because of this, my mind is racing about things I need to do for school. Since I’m not falling back to sleep, I got up to get some work done. I wish I could say this is an anomaly but it seems like it’s the norm lately.

The new expectation is that we must cut and paste lessons that already exist in our reading, writing and math books into a lesson plan template. This takes away from the time I have to actually prepare the lessons.

It seems as though my professionalism and expertise is in question and that this is another form of busy work and micromanagement.

At 2:30 in the morning, I am cutting and pasting lessons after emailing two parents that I didn’t have time to contact the previous day. I pull up the social emotional learning lessons on canvas and try to wrap my head around what I’m going to do first.

The day before school started, we were given about an hour and a half of preparation on 2 of the 3 new social emotional programs with the expectation that we would start the lessons as soon as possible.

Next, I pulled up the science information on canvas. I’m still looking for actual lessons to teach my students. I’ve been asking for these lessons for five years. We have 1 complete unit with materials at my grade level, but no other actual lessons and certainly no other materials only standards and big ideas listed on canvas.

At McCarthy, we have lost about 30 staff members in two years. We’ve had many teachers moved to other grade levels.

For the third year in a row, I am faced with working with brand new colleagues at my grade level. They were expected to pack up their classrooms at the end of the year, and then, unpack all of their boxes, set up a brand new classroom, prepare for a new class and learn an entire curriculum before the first day of school with no curriculum support from the district.

While I welcome them with open arms, I barely have enough time to get my own work done, let alone teach them the curriculum for seven subjects.

My current working conditions have truly affected my emotional state. I am exhausted and saddened to see where my profession has gone. When I voice my concern about not being able to find the time to get everything done, I am told, “You are a professional and you need to be prepared.” As teachers we do this, but there are only so many hours in a day. This year some of our prep time was taken away. When we complained about it, we were given back a 5-minute prep on one day and a 10 min prep on another day. What can we possibly get done in 5 minutes?

The expectations which have increased each year, and have now become unrealistic, are truly affecting my own well-being and the relationship with my own family.

I am spending more of my time at home on schoolwork and more of my money on supplies. I worked for six hours last Saturday night doing schoolwork.

I’m not sleeping well and I’m short tempered with my child when it is not her fault! The other night she asked me to snuggle with her before bed. I told her I’d be up in a few minutes. When I finally stopped what I was doing to go upstairs, she said to me, “ Mom, you’re always working on the computer!” She actually asked me why I’m working so much more this year than last year.

I feel like the joy has been taken out of teaching and learning and replaced with standardized lessons, data, programs that are not appropriate for children, and poorly planned Professional development.

I was born and raised in Framingham and had an excellent education which is why I decided to teach here.

This is my 32nd year and I’ve never been so emotionally exhausted!

It leaves me questioning how much longer I will be able to do this.

I implore you to meet with teachers, ask them their opinions, and trust their professionalism!

Framingham cannot afford to lose any more great teachers!

Lisa Zanella

McCarthy Elementary teacher

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

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

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