Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm moving?!

So I have clearly disappeared for quite a few weeks now. I've been very busy at school, and I had an amazing end of year celebration with my 20 phenomenal kinders and their parents. I am constantly floored by the wonderful families at my school, and I know I would not have made it through this year without them.

...Flash forward to a week and a half after school let out, and I have made a very tough decision to leave my school district. I'm moving to LA and will be teaching kindergarten there! :) I'm very very excited for the change, but the decision to leave my school was in no way an easy one to make.

A lot happened this year outside of my classroom that made school life a little difficult for me. Every day in my classroom, however, with my students, I felt so very proud. My students are of course why I teach, and I loved every minute with them! My class was filled with joy and learning, and I loved it!

Several things happened this past week in relation to my school site, and I made a choice to speak up at our school board meeting. I have been debating whether or not to share my comments here, and I decided I will post them below.  I want to emphasize that my comments were specific to actions taken by teachers at my school site, and so they are by no means reflective of my views of all teachers or all unions, rather just reflective of my personal experience.

What. A. Week. More to come as I embark on my move and transition to a new school. I still am heartbroken over leaving my students and their families, but I am excited for the new families and students I will get to meet.

...and last but not least, the comments I made to our school board:

I find myself almost at a loss for words tonight as I reflect on what is going on at my school. Last week, I watched 20 of the most wonderful five and six year olds leave my classroom readily prepared for 1st grade, and with all their families around, I felt a huge sense of pride. Our school is without a doubt blessed with a wonderful community of families, and as a result, I find myself even more bothered by what is happening at the site.

I would like to ask the Board to consider a few questions I have about the dissatisfaction that is being presented to you tonight:
How many parents have expressed dissatisfaction?
How many classified staff members have expressed their feelings?
How many teachers were actually asked to be here tonight? I personally was never informed of this meeting, and I would ask that you look at the teachers who are here tonight and also those that are not. We were not asked to be here, because we are working as a team to make this school better. We are not here for a reason.

A principal is a principal not just to his/her teachers but to the entire school community, parents, students, all staff, and so I again have to ask a question: Is this really a community petition or a discriminatory selection of teachers in front of you?

My job at the end of the day is to educate my students, to get them prepared for the next grade and for their successful futures, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I pay dues to a union that does not want me to be the best teacher I can be. When professional development is offered there’s always a question about whether or not it is within the contract hours, or participation in it is discouraged so as not to set precedent for others.

I am not proud to be in a district where my union dues go to foster a mentality that discourages thoughtful energy, where actions that should be made public are handled very covertly, and where at the end of the day, students are not put first. I work in a community of teachers who say when the bell rings, learning stops, and I find that unacceptable and very disconcerting. I thank you very much for your time, and I hope that tonight, and every night, decisions and discussions revolve around the best learning and opportunities for our students, as we have a responsibility to our students, and they deserve to be at the forefront of every conversation we as educators have.

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