I pondered whether I would discuss this or not, and I decided that I should… so here it is.
In the past four years or so, I have been a part of the public school system; a special education teacher. I began teaching as a substitute, then a special education instructional assistant, and later became a special education teacher. Moving through this profession, starting at the bottom, gave me the opportunity to see education from different perspectives. The sense of respect, and appreciation for our teachers has decreased; regardless of where the teacher is on the hierarchy (substitute, IA, or teacher).
My mother and father raised me to respect adults, especially teachers. If my father was ever called at work, which was rare, he would flip his shit, and be pissed at me. My mother would have to calm him down just so I could get a word in, and say what happened. I use to think about why my father was the way he was about school… It could be that my father was strict on me and school was the number one priority, or maybe the fact that he ran everything like the military. I’m not sure of the reasons, but I am glad I knew and respected those who came before me. It’s important.
Now let’s fast forward 10 years, which it’s been about 10 years since I graduated high school, and nothing compares to the way school was then verses the way it is now; or even 20, 30 years of education. Realistically, the sudden evolution of technology and internet, has a tremendous effect on children and the environment in the classroom. Yes, I have had a cell phone since I was 11 years old, however, I wasn’t allowed to text, internet surf or pull it out in class. Lol I tried in high school, but it was never successful; the reception was very bad.
Daily, I feel as if I am a parrot, having to constantly repeat myself about cell phones being put away and their bags. I call parents, email parents, and sometimes parent conferences, but in the end the child has the same behavior. When I write referrals for not following school and classroom rules, the child is sent back to class and continues the same behavior. I have been called “Bitch, Immature, etc.”, and the child ended back in my classroom, instead of ISS (In School Suspension). Each day I am having to redirect habitual behavior, while children receive the least consequence. I feel verbally abused because these kids know we can’t speak or do anything back. Students continue to taunt teachers with disrespect and inappropriate behavior, and the results remain the same.
I have become emotionally drained. I love to teach and see children succeed, but it will not be at the cost of my own sanity. I wish schools took care of their teachers, since we’re the ones in the classroom, putting in the work. These days teaching is a business. It’s all a number game. If ‘x’ amount of students are not present or going to alternative school, then this means ‘x’ amount of money isn’t coming in. If ‘x’ amount of students do not enroll, then ‘x’ amount of money isn’t available to use. If ‘x’ amount of children do not pass the state exam or pass the class, then ‘x’ percentage reflects poorly on the school; which mean ‘teachers’ are not progressing (which in most cases, is not true at all).
Teachers pay for their own supplies, and are only funded if you apply for a Grant and granted the money. No one truly understands what we go through unless you get a taste of it yourself. Everyone doesn’t have the same experiences I have, but I’m sure there are many who could agree with my story.
I will continue to pray for change. Our educators need support, and respect. We are the foundation for any profession.