Sunday, May 22, 2016

School Spills Over Into Family Life

Spending a Saturday researching DDMs.

A garage full of STEAM supplies that don't fit into my classroom.

Stress from mandates and directives that continually change and are often unclear.

Unanswered questions.

All of this spilled over into my personal life this weekend to the frustration of many.

How can we teach well and preserve our personal lives too--what can we do?

As much as possible, clarity is important. When mandates and directives constantly change it's difficult to keep up, and backtracking becomes a mainstay. This is challenging especially when many of us do most of our planning and preparation on our own time anyways.

Adding new projects and activities can be exciting, but not making room for the time it takes to prepare and/or shop for the materials and store the materials can be troubling. I love what STEAM is bringing to our students, but it's a reality that it takes lots of supplies, and those supplies take up space.

Systemwide directives from the State should be taken seriously and rolled out with care. The fact that we are spending so much time backtracking on this DDM issue is worrisome. About four years ago when this started, I read what was out there which were a few articles. I followed directives set. I felt the issue was in good hands with multiple administrators and teacher representatives. Yet, now we find that the issue was lost in time, and everyone is scrambling to figure out what to do so it's fair and profitable.

I don't want to be a complainer. I don't want to spend so much weekend time working. I love to do a good teaching job, but time and again, my work is challenged by systematic issues that confound rather than promote the best of what can we do.

I know teachers everywhere are dealing with this situation. It's a big reason why turnover is so rampant in schools.

I work in a system with fair pay, tremendous parental support, eager students, and good facilities That's why I've stayed for so long, it has much of what I need to teach well. Yet, I know that with systematic attention, we can do it better and create less stress with regards to our family lives. Most teachers in our system don't mind putting in the extra time, but it is troubling when the time is spent on issues of organization, clarity, and communication rather than issues of teaching children well.

I know we can do this better.