LETTER: ‘Over the Years Many Changes, Have Left Teachers Feeling Insignificant and Inadequate’

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

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FRAMINGHAM – My name is Colleen Gazard, I’ve had the privilege of teaching second grade at Dunning for the past 33 years. 

This is my first time addressing the School Committee throughout my tenure in Framingham.

Over the course of 33 years, I have embraced changes; believing they were put in place for us to provide the most effective education for our students. I am speaking now, because the demands being placed on classroom teachers are crippling, and our ability to provide the most appropriate instruction for our students is suffering.  

Throughout my tenure, I’ve been deemed a qualified professional, capable of supporting the academic and social emotional needs of children.  I have always promised to foster a positive and successful learning environment and vowed to meet the needs of every one of my students.

Over the years many changes, have left teachers feeling insignificant and inadequate.  The most recent actions taken by administration clearly illustrate a lack of trust and a desire to micromanage its employees.

 This year brings on many new challenges, further stretching teachers beyond capacity.

Contractually, teachers are given 180 minutes per week of planning time.

 We have lost control of two of our planning blocks.

 We have to cut, paste and type standards, objectives and lessons for everything we teach. This adds 4-6 or more additional hours. Past practice was keeping a plan book.

The school day was extended by 15 minutes, however a daily 35 minute Social Emotional Learning block was added indicating we are expected to SHAVE time from other core academic subjects

 We are being asked to “do more” without other burdens being lifted.

I am not opposed to holding teachers responsible for ensuring lessons are organized and purposeful.  My lesson plan book does have purpose for my teaching and my unique students.

Why then, are we being asked to spend valuable planning time cutting, pasting and typing plans into a Google Doc., which is unlikely being read and/or used by anyone?  How is this clerical work making us better teachers?  

The micromanaging nature of this task is not only meaningless; it takes away ownership and control from the classroom teacher and elicits feelings of doubt and inadequacy. 

Micromanagement is not an effective intervention strategy. 

In fact, I believe it is alienating teachers.  

One of the most impactful guiding principles of the Responsive
Classroom SEL curriculum states

  1. How we work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive
    school environment is as important as our individual contribution or
    competence.

I would argue that the recent changes implemented by the district are creating anything but a safe, joyful and inclusive school environment. 

Fostering feelings of unhappiness, insecurity, unrest and low morale would never be tolerated within our individual classrooms, so why are allowing it to happen to our teachers.  

Thank you for hearing my concerns.

Colleen Gazard

Dunning Elementary teacher

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

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

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