Yesterday began pre-planning days in Broward County for teachers. This is the third year that I wasn’t there. And I still don’t miss it. How is that possible? A job that I did and loved for well over 30 years just vanished from my life and I never think about it. Ever.
One reason is that schools begin in February here so the back-to-school sales and ads are in winter and not in August. There’s nothing to remind me of this time of year. Also, my friends here don’t work either so no one is getting ready for the new school year. I see posts from former colleagues but it’s so far away when it doesn’t apply to you.
It still amazes me that I don’t miss my job as an American History teacher. And I really, really liked my profession, especially when I began teaching Advanced Placement classes. But the demand from school administrators and our County officials began to wear me down. They had to make ridiculous demands of us so that we could get our appropriate checkmark to prove we were a good teacher. Any evaluation that relies on checkmarks would obviously suck – and it did. Stupid codes on the white boards, elementary bulletin boards, lesson plan details that only took up our time but proved worthless, and the list of craziness never ended. Actual teaching became a side note to the side show we had perform day after day.
I was lucky in that when the worst of this came about, I was in my last years. Since it takes 3 years to fire a teacher who doesn’t get enough checkmarks, I could actually do my job and ignore the demands.
I feel for the teachers left behind, the students who are only being taught what can be measured on a scantron, and even the administrators who must blindly follow the politicos who have never taught.
But year 3 of no “this is going to be the best year ever” speeches, endless (and mindless) meetings, making sure those meaningless codes are on the boards, taking more time to write the lesson plans than it does to teach the lesson, and having to keep Johnny in my class because he has an IEP – no, don’t miss it!
For my friends who are back at it this year, good luck! Only 180 more student contact days.