I am a local, bilingual elementary teacher. My credentials, experience, stress level, work load, accountability, and the responsibility I bear are worth at least $120, 000. I am light-years away from it.
But I do not want more money. I earn enough to meet my needs. I want fewer students in the classroom; I want to teach curriculum and life skills. I was a happy teacher when I had 20 students and had time for art and gardening. Now I have about 33, and from day one I teach them almost exclusively to pass tests.
I am retiring early to keep sane. Politicians and media want me to do a better job, but give me more students to work with. Besides, I am not solely responsible for a student’s scores on that final crucial STAR Test that politicians and media use to determine whether I did or didn’t do a good job.
The other three responsible parties are administrators, families, and the students themselves. Administrators are being criticized some, but families and students are not accountable at all. Most families wash their hands of their children’s education. Students’ disrespectfulness, laziness, and ignorance are tolerated; we lie to them about their abilities and push them on to the next grade even though they do not meet the scores on that final test.
I suggest that the scores of students who don’t want to or can’t learn are not used against me, and that parents spend mandatory time in my classroom to help educate their children.