Did you see what the teacher was doing?

Written August 15, 2018

Today our teachers were out on strike. Today they walked out of their classrooms to fight for a better place for our kids, and a better place for them to work in.
Today, and much of the last week, I have been drawn to the comment section of newspaper articles giving an insight as to why the teachers are striking.

I find myself consoling my heart as the words I read seem to rip through me like a thousand needles. My heart breaks at the view members of our society have for teachers. As I read, I can feel my chest tighten as the frustration, heartbreak and sadness rises up inside me. It’s like every single moment of anxiety, stress and overwhelm I have ever felt teaching is churning up inside of me and I need other people to know what that feels like. Maybe I am being too sensitive, something I am usually guilty of; I am also guilty of shying away from conflict and stuffing down the voice I have inside.
I am learning that my voice matters and my experiences are shared by many.
I am learning how to use my voice, well my words anyway.
I am learning that my feelings and emotions are teaching me things and I need to take better notice of these feelings.

So, why is this making me feel so sad? I am sad because we are not respected for what we do. Maybe this is personal, that I am worrying too much what other people think about me and what I do. I know my classroom has some amazing things happening in it, most importantly the relationships I create with my students. But they don’t know that – only the kids I teach know that. Only the people that see it and experience it know.

In reply to Adam who commented on a post today.

Adam thinks that teachers just leave kids to teach themselves on devices.
Adam also thinks technology should be BANNED from all schools.
Adam knows this because he walked into a classroom of 50 kids who were ALL on devices. Apparently, according to Adam, we teachers are lazy.
Adam has children, who go to school.

Firstly, if this is your view too let me educate you. If you are walking into a classroom where every child is on a device, then you are walking into a school in a high socio-economic area. In this school, your child is already off to a better start compared to the kid on the other side of Auckland with little heating in their classroom, no breakfast or lunch in their lunch box or a proper pair of shoes. If you are walking into a classroom where every single child has a device then these kids have the opportunity to learn far beyond the parameters of the classroom.
I wonder if Adam asked his child what they were doing while working on said device.
Maybe they were writing a blog post about the science experiment they did earlier that day. Maybe they have a pen-pal in India they were sharing their experiences about life in New Zealand, and in return learning what life is like in india.
Maybe they were using voice-to-text because they struggle to get their ideas down by hand.
Maybe the were reading a teacher’s feedback on a google doc, or better still giving feedback to a friend on their writing.
Maybe, just maybe Adam, they were actually doing something constructive for their learning and growth.

Did you see the teacher Adam? What was the teacher doing?
Was she working with small groups of children, while the rest were completing an activity on their device? This is called differentiation Adam, where teachers group their kids according to needs and teach them what they need to know – so they are not learning things they already know, or things that are too hard for them. This takes a lot of organisation Adam, organisation that was probably done at home, during the teacher’s lunch break or maybe even in bed, while she was sick.

Did you see the teacher Adam? What was the teacher doing?
Was he calming down Timmy who is autistic and lashed out at Sarah when she accidentally popped his balloon? Timmy can get violent Adam; loud noises and feelings of frustration or high stimulation set him off. Timmy’s teacher aide had already gone home for the day because Timmy only gets support for 2 hours a day leaving the teacher to manage Timmy and his class. Timmy takes a lot of teacher time away from the rest of the class. But, I assure you Adam, your child’s teacher is doing their absolute best to make sure every other child in the class is working hard and learning the skills they need to be citizens living in a world we have no idea will look like.

Did you see the teacher Adam? What was the teacher doing?
Was she composing herself, and the children trying to relax after having to lock Sam out of the classroom? Sam is violent too Adam. He lashed out at your child’s teacher. He threw a crayon at her before storming out of the classroom because he didn’t want to participate. That doesn’t sound that bad does it? But Adam, Sam then made his way to the sport’s shed and took a hockey stick. He was able to snap the stick in half after smacking a hockey ball so hard against a concrete wall. Your child’s teacher had to lock Sam out of the classroom when he tried to come into the room with the hockey stick, to protect the kids in the class, including your child Adam. The police had to come. CYFS had to come. His dad wouldn’t come.
This kid is angry Adam, and your child is scared of him.
Your child’s teacher crys on her way home from work everyday Adam.

Did you see the teacher Adam? What was the teacher doing?
Was he sitting with a child completing a one on one assessment? These are really time consuming Adam and take lots of teaching time away from our kids, yea, they give us some valuable information and we can see their progress but it is not a good use of our time. If we had more support and smaller class sizes your child would get more time with the teacher.
It also means that our students need to work independently, and sometimes, this is on a device – because, believe it or not, half the battle is keeping our kids engaged with their learning and our kids are digital natives – they do not know the world without them.

Did you see the teacher Adam? What was the teacher doing?
I bet she wasn’t sitting on facebook writing horrible comments about the parents of the kids she teaches. You’re lucky she is a professional Adam and won’t hold any grudge against your child. She will be charming at Parent Teacher Interviews even though you publicly called her lazy on facebook. She knows your child well Adam – what they are good at, what they are passionate about. She knows who your child plays with at lunch time and that you travel a lot. She knows that your child is a creative writer and hates maths. She knows your child can add fractions but can’t get the hang of percentages or multiplying big numbers mentally. She knows your child had the same view about teachers as you do, and she is hurt you think she is lazy; however, she will still do the best she can to help your child fill their gaps. She will encourage your child to follow their dreams. She will love your child, and support your child and get excited with your child when they achieve that big goal.

I do have a few more questions for you to consider Adam – Why is your child in a class of 50 and they all have to sit down and work on a device? Could it be there are not enough teachers for more direct one on one or even small group instruction? Does this not concern you? Do you not want your child’s teacher to be better supported so that your child is able to get the best possible education they can get – in the world THEY are growing up in, not in the world you GREW up in? Adam, why do you not support the people who spend 30 hours a week with your children? Adam, without an education – and that includes your teachers – you would not be able to contribute to society in the way that I am assuming you do – reading, writing and even voicing your opinion. I teach the kids in my class to justify their points with evidenced based research – and yes, they use their device for that – maybe you were away sick that day when your teacher taught that lesson.
Adam, did you look and see what the teacher was doing?

Published by aimeenicole

mother - wife - teacher - kiwi Mindset & Transformation Coach healing myself and the world with my words

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