Editor’s Note: The following was read during public comment at the School Committee meeting on October 2, and then submitted to SOURCE for publication.
Hi, I’m Sarah McKeon, first-grade teacher at Dunning. I’m here to speak on the topic of the unreasonable demands being placed on us. I’d like to start by addressing the condescending, patronizing posts on social media made by some community members.
Many of you are likely not in the audience this evening. While some of you may diminish or deny our message, we’re the ones living it, every day, in our classrooms and buildings. We’re the ones who see the direct effects (or lack thereof) on our teaching.
This isn’t an issue at only one school, or a cluster. It’s a district-wide problem and instead of negating our stories, you ought to be listening to them.
There have been many of them, and there are more to come. Please know you are misinformed, and it shows in what you post.
I’ve considered conversations that teachers engage in over why they teach. And yes, there’s that word “why”, which has been rather territorialized as of late.
Well, here is a partial list of whys, OUR whys:
–seeing a student’s face light up when they achieve understanding
–daily hugs and greetings from students
–helping students to grow
–getting to know students and their families
–making a difference in children’s lives
–affecting the future
–seeing the students solve problems on their own
The list could go on and on. However, what it does NOT include is regurgitating existing curriculum, which already includes language around benchmarks and objectives, and activities, and some of it is even timed to the minute.
Our curriculum doesn’t belong in boxes. Neither do our students, and NEITHER DO WE.
This isn’t whining or complaining, nor is it embellishment or hysteria. This is a group of professionals, addressing this audience repeatedly, describing in detail their concerns and experiences with these demands.
You ask what you’re missing? Why this is such an issue for us? Perhaps you have not been listening. We’ve been very clear, and at times even provided the data everyone is so enamored of. “Do your job”, Bill Belichick once said, as we were reminded by a poster on Facebook, as if we haven’t been doing our jobs. 2 weeks ago, we were overachievers, and now we’re not doing our jobs?
We ARE doing our jobs. We HAVE BEEN doing our jobs. We come to work every day and we even take our jobs home with us. At what point have we not done our jobs? I’d be more worried about so many of us looking for
OTHER jobs, rather than snidely remarking that we aren’t already doing the ones we have. And doing them WELL.
Musician Doug Floyd once said, “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”
Well, we are all being asked to sing in one note, and you can see the disharmony that has resulted. This is not a beautiful musical; it is a badly sampled one-hit wonder.
Please, listen to us. Let us teach and blend in our unique styles and experiences. We all have beautiful music to bring to the show, if only you stop denying us a place to play it. Thank you.
first-grade teacher at Dunning Elementary