Well, the last week has again been pretty upsetting for me as a teacher. A school shooting and the political responses to it (or lack thereof) have been really disheartening. Why does there seem to be a political will to do nothing about the gun epidemic (especially from those proclaiming to be pro-life), even as it affects teachers and children? Why are teachers not trusted to teach children well, but we're hailed as heroes when we go above and beyond to do more for our students? Why is it that in some places in this country, incorporating social-emotional learning into math class is seen as unnecessary, when we are having lockdown drills at the same time? Is teaching the racist parts of U.S. history really so much more traumatic than having a shooting in the classroom? I'm feeling pretty disrespected right now.
I know I am not alone. I have talked to colleagues who are leaving the profession because of the toxic culture in education. And a school can say, "we're not like that", but when administrators are more worried that parents will complain about bad grades than they are about their teachers' well-being or credibility, it's clear there is a link between the culture at large and the individual experiences. It certainly makes me question my decision to go back to the classroom in August.
So, I am writing this blog post, reading about building Thinking Classrooms*, researching "ungrading" practices, and working on myself to provide a welcoming classroom for all my students. I've also written my representatives in Congress about gun control.
*Specifically, Peter Liljedahl's Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, Grades K-12.