Tuesday, 17 November 2015

No teacher left behind?

Over the course of the last week, I've seen two teachers break down and cry. No matter where I turn, teachers are working harder than their students. In the current system, no student is allowed to fail. Indeed a mark less than 50% reflects poorly upon the teacher no matter if the student in question doesn't attend, or attends and works very hard at doing nothing.

Seeing teachers so stressed has once again forced me to reflect on my practice. What it my role as the teacher librarian in the building? For me it has always been Teacher Support Services. As things get hectic (more hectic) in the library, I need to stop and assess what I am doing and what I should be doing.

 1. I need to check in with new teachers. I will be taking the time over the next 2 weeks to see where the new teachers are at and how I can make life a little easier.

2. I need to sit down with grey areas students when they are in the library working. All teachers need a little reprieve whether it be from a needy student, a struggling student or a behaviour student.

What's frustrating is that teachers are identifying students who desperately need supports but with all the cutbacks, there simply aren't any supports available to tap into. I'm noticing that teachers are looking to the library for assistance. I find it very hard to say no to my colleagues but I can only do so much. At some point the administrations, the school boards and the government have to realize that teachers are burning out and do something constructive about it.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed. Attempting to make teachers overly responsible and more of an emphasis than student accountability is so flawed. Making a generation dependent on someone else and nurturing a sense of entitlement is so dangerous. Effort has always compensated for a shortage of talent. we need to provide environments for young people to manage workloads in the pursuit of goals. No life pursuit, career or job our kids will experience allows inferior effort or responsibility. If you are late, miss work or don't produce, one gets fired. Education needs to develop the attitudes not just skills. Even mom or dad should demand kids contribute at home not just show up. The inflation of youth anxiety is the result of not 'letting' kids struggle with the world around them. Overcoming skinned knees or navigating the bus empowers kids. Building relationships, finding employment or coping with hazards is a reality. We all fail now and again. What value is there in a free pass or lowering the bar? Victory comes with sacrifice. Creating schools that force teachers to do all the work is dysfunctional. Even the Board's own mission asks for collaboration and innovation from students. This is not attainable with assessment that doesn't encourage hard work from every child. Stressing teachers is no more productive than overtaxing pilots, truck drivers or doctors. Lowering working conditions for all of us, regardless of career, is a sad mark of our age.

    The human cost is threatening to students and teachers. Your effort to support fatigued teachers ( it's only November) is admirable and not even the case in schools with no teacher-librarian and reduced classroom supports. People forget teachers invest their heart and mind in children and assuming the tank is bottomless is shortsighted and insensitive. Bravo but be safe.