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One 32-year veteran teacher writes,

It has been many years now since a “principal” asked my professional opinion about a purchase. They do the buying without our information. The results have been disastrous. They cut the book-buying budget in half since we earned School of Distinction. They buy canned reading programs for millions of dollars that are little more than nonsense words printed on card stock. Teachers are told to follow the canned scripts with fidelity. “Spell the word with your finger in the air. Now spell it backwards.” It is so absurd to have a young teacher with a masters degree in reading, following a ridiculous script: Ask a 5-year-old child who does not understand English to spell a nonsense word and then do it backwards!

When the child goes “in the red” on assessments of nonsense word fluency, a parent meeting is called. I have to translate the message “your child is failing nonsense word fluency.” What is going on here?

People who have never taught a child to read are making decisions about reading curriculum.

Some people are making a lot of money. Kids are not learning. Teachers are demoralized.

This is Readicide.

Read the full story, and many more, over at Your Soapbox.

In today’s Soapbox, this fifth year English teacher explains why she’s considering leaving the classroom — she has her family to consider.

I didn’t expect to hear from everyone, inside and outside of education, “Get out while you can.” No one is encouraging me to stay–not with a family to consider, for sure. So it’s coming down to actually making a decision about leaving. Researching graduate schools. Seeing what else I can do. Because when I got my degree, and when I first started teaching, it was all I wanted to do. Now, it’s all I know. And however much I love it, it’s hard to keep doing something that feels like it’s wearing you down, day by day.

I feel like I’ve been betrayed by the state. I feel betrayed by the country–with all the new testing standards and, on all levels, nit-picky details we have to focus on that aren’t simply teaching (learning targets, Common Core, data out the ears, more acronyms than I ever imagined possible). News reports always sound surprised that something isn’t working, and instead of addressing the problems of poverty or consulting teachers (for real, not the symbolic “involvement” in Common Core development), we move on to the next thing that some company is offering.

It almost feels like leaving an abusive relationship.

Read her story and dozens more from teachers over at Your Soapbox. Have a story of your own? Submit it here.

Among today’s Soapbox entries, teacher Rachel Harkey writes about the misconception that teacher tenure is a job for life and the price teachers will pay for losing tenure, also known as “career status.”

Many people misunderstand tenure. It is not a job for life. It is simply protections put in place to protect a teacher from being fired without just cause. A teacher who is struggling must go through an improvement process and will be fired if appropriate progress is not made. I understand most other professions have no such protection. However, education is not like most other professions. I can’t increase my salary by doing a wonderful job. There are no sales bonuses for teachers. There are no performance/production based raises in this profession. In the past we got a bump on the pay scale for coming back the next year, but that has been stopped for the last five years. How many professions have employees who have greater and greater expectations constantly placed on them for stagnant salary for five years? How many people can afford to work in these conditions?

Read more of what Harkey has to say here. To read rest of teachers’ stories about the state of their profession, or submit your own, visit Your Soapbox.

 

In today’s Soapbox, we hear from one assistant principal who learned that one of her teacher assistants made more money when she worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

And a teacher writes that she can’t afford to teach:

Our family insurance costs over $600 per month, and the coverage is terrible. In essence, I am actually making less each year that I teach because my salary stays the same, but my insurance premiums keep going up.

Over the summer I do freelance writing so I can stay home with my girls and still earn money. I also take freelance writing jobs on the weekends and after school. It doesn’t make logical sense for me to continue to teach in North Carolina. The policymakers are destroying our entire education system and making it impossible for good teachers to stay. There is no need to look further than Raleigh to determine why North Carolina schools are having trouble keeping quality teachers. They should be ashamed of what they are doing to this state.

Read these stories at more over at Your Soapbox.

Your soapbaoxTwo more educators have submitted their stories over at the new and enormously popular NC Policy Watch feature: “Your Soapbox.”

In this post, “Broken Dream,” a teacher explains in stark terms how barely-above-poverty wages may force the abandonment of a lifelong dram and commitment to the profession that began as a child:

“When I started Kindergarten, it was clear to my parents that I was a born teacher. I was thrilled to be learning to read, write and do math, but was most excited to come home and show my younger brother what we did in school that day. Countless hours were spent playing “school” as I shared with my brother what I loved the most, learning. There was never a question as to what I would do. Never a hesitation, or second thought….

If something doesn’t change soon, I will leave education, my dream job, for my family. Not because I’m tired of grading, or dealing with discipline problems, or fed up with testing, observations, coverages, duties or parents. It will be because I can’t live on a teacher’s salary.”

Read the rest of this post by clicking here.

In this post, “Pay is not the only issue,” a veteran teacher who left the profession explains the frustration that comes with poor student behavior and lack of respect:

“Low pay was not my reason for leaving. Lack of respect and not being treated like a professional were at the top of my list. I also disliked the lack of accountability for students. There was little to no consequences for poor behavior, and we were told not to retain failing students ( or even give them failing grades).”

Read the rest of this post by clicking here and all of the “Your Soapbox” submissions by clicking here.