I am one of “those” teachers.
Last week, all the teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island were fired. There has been all kinds of back and forth about the issue. Some, including President Obama, are applauding the bold move. I have to wonder just how the teachers feel. I wonder because I am one of “those” teachers. No, not from that “failing” school, but perhaps from one that is not much different. We struggle. We struggle everyday trying to increase our test scores so we will no longer be labeled as failing or under-performing, but more importantly we struggle to meet the many needs of our kids. So, I wonder how the teachers feel.
Are they wondering what will happen to the girl whose mom is ill with cancer, a girl who worries how she and her mother will survive when there is no income during all those treatments? Are they wondering what will happen to the young man who just lost his mother, only a short time after losing his father? Are they wondering what will happen to the teenage girl who is doing her best to stay in school while taking care of her infant child? Are they wondering about the five or six students who are living in shelters or working several jobs to support themselves? Are they wondering who will be there for “their” kids?
Is anyone wondering who will be there for these kids? You see, I think many times the only thing these kids have is their relationship with a teacher, a teacher that cares about them, not as a test score, but as a person. When did we stop caring about caring? When did we start making test scores more important than kids? When did test scores become the only measure of the success and talents of our students?
Don’t you wonder too?