The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC) is sponsoring a survey for teachers in the state of Georgia. It takes a few minutes to fill out and covers many aspects of working and teaching within a school district in the state of Georgia. Basically, they seemed to be interested in what sort of factors influence a teacher as far as staying within the field of teaching. They covered items such as salary, supplements, working conditions, training, opportunities for advancement, extra duties, planning time and many more factors that may or may not make teaching an attractive profession.
The director of the GAPSC is enjoining all educators in the state to fill out this survey and to encourage others in the state to do so. I‘m going to assume that all teachers in Georgia will be given the proper URL that is supposed to keep participants secure and anonymous. When you get it, go ahead and fill it out.
My biggest complaint about teaching and the reason for the exodus from the teaching profession is the fact that we have gone from an orientation of student learning and achievement to one of school/teacher compliance and accountability. I totally get why compliance to the laws and accountability are important, but the orientation of our country towards those things as a national movement disenfranchises the students themselves. Student learning and student achievement places the burden of the outcome upon those who have the most power to make it happen; the student. Modern reformists like to call this “blaming the victim” but how is labeling students “victims” empowering? It’s so baffling to hear conservatives using this sort of language. No wonder they are so off-message from the optimistic outlook offered up by their fellows from 10 and 20 years ago.
More to the point, the major thrust of my day-to-day teaching is increasingly devoted towards satisfying the requirements of the state bureaucracy rather than those of the individual students. Meeting the needs of any individual student is subordinated in favor of meeting the needs of some subgroup; namely the cause of meeting AYP. Yes, you can bet that my objections to the extra paperwork generated by Georgia’s alternate assessment figured prominently in the responses I gave in this survey. But I also mentioned the lack of training and the lack of opportunities for discussions amongst fellow teachers as major shortcomings.
As far as benefits and pay, I deemed these okay or adequate. I would like to see more money going towards some supplies and updating some of the aging technology, which amounts to quite a lot for my classroom.
It will be interesting if we will ever see the results of this survey. At the very end, they tell you to write any last and final words you might want to include, in case it wasn’t covered in the survey. I basically said that I doubted anyone would ever read what it is that I took the time to write. When it came to NCLB, IDEA 2004, the alternate assessment or any of these other reform movements, no one bothered to ask the teachers what they thought, and if they did, they didn’t listen. I think that is the most depressing thing about the entire reform movement culture. No one seems to care much about those who might actually have to do the work, take the tests, give the tests, abide by the rules, follow all the guidelines and otherwise toe the line. Sorry if I sound cynical but I can’t help but be suspicious of anything coming from people who work in a building with Greek columns and/or a domed rotunda.
Okay, I’m curious: are there any things that have made any of you consider leaving the profession? What keeps you in?
Alright, what the heck….here’s a link to the survey for those who didn’t get it and should have.