Currently, school is getting me down over the last 8 weeks or so. During this period I have ranted and complained about this, that and the other about how my school is running things right now. I finally was able to pinpoint what they major issue is: Regulation.
While I may not agree with everything the Democrats believe in terms of policy and governmental practice they are right in that certain situations and things need to be regulated by the federal government. During the 1980s there was a HUGE amount of deregulation by the federal government over a lot of different areas. The basic idea was to allow industries to regulate themselves. In the grand scheme of things this is a good idea. Banks were allowed to regulate to whom they would lend money but creating their own regulation. This worked until the creation of the now flawed Sub-Prime mortgage market. I am off on a huge tangent though. Back to my problem of regulation at school.
It seems every day I am in school some new kind of set in concrete standard or regulation is set that I have to follow, no questions asked, with very little, if any flexibility. On Friday and email came down the pipe saying the school is now giving out student planners. Said planners will now be used in all cases for hall passes. Now I am not against hall passes or student planners but when the administration tells me exactly with what procedures I must do all this it is getting out of hand. There should be a general regulation stating: “Teachers must provide students with some form of written pass to leave the classroom. Students out of class without a pass will be disciplined. Teacher who fail to give a student a pass when excusing students will be disciplined.” Simple and a common sense regulation. It allows teachers to be creative and flexible with the way they enact that policy/regulation to match their teaching style and methods.
Here are some of the regulations that were given to me since the time I have started at my current teaching location.
- Grading practices. I agree a school needs specific regulations for grading but the school went so far as to tell all teachers exactly what system to use for grading instead of setting up a standard and allowing flexibility within that standard.
- Common assessments & final exams. I have learned to hate this because it is teaching to a test, which is not necessarily bad, but just uncreative, inflexible, and is not good for the student who wants and needs to be assessed a different way.
- Hall passes. Don’t let students out during these parts of the period. Use only this for passes in the school.
- Bar coding textbooks. I can check out books fine with a pencil and a piece of paper.
- No checking out textbooks. How am I supposed to assign homework then?
I am just sick and tired of being over regulated by the state, the district, the building and my administration. Being told what to teach, how to teach it and how to assess it. Being told again and again of how to be a teacher or what is a good teacher when I spent five years in college learning the material and a my short career trying to perfecting my craft. Don’t punish and restrict me because bad teachers are doing a bad job educating our children. FIRE THEIR ASSES!!! This is my message to schools, districts, administrators and any other educational officials.
Get the HELL out of my way and let me do my JOB. One hundred years ago teachers did not need to be told what to teach, how to assess their students, and fix discipline problems. They knew what to do and were trusted by the community to do their job. Good students moved on, and bad ones failed until they either dropped out or figured it out on their own. I am sick and tired of being regulated and being told how to be a good teacher by a person who has not spent ANY time in a real classroom in years. Go back to your office and work on getting GOOD teachers in the school instead of propping up the bad.
This message of less regulation might be expanded into a larger context in the next few days. Stay tuned.