Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Worst Years in Three Generations of Teaching in My Family

RI Red Teacher:

The 2011-2012 school year has finally ended, and none too soon. It has been the hardest year of my career as a teacher, and judging from conversations I’ve had with a range of teachers and students in a number of places, that is true for almost everyone. At least in Rhode Island. Even the students said that this year was different and worse—but not in a normal way. A qualitative shift took place this year, and we are all the worse for it.

Before I launch into a post-mortem, however, there is one group of teachers that did not see this as the worst year of their career. For teachers in the Central Falls diaspora, it was not the worst year. For Providence teachers whose schools were closed last year—provided they found appropriate placements—it was not the worst year. In other words, for people who’ve already been through the wringer, things seemed a bit better.

So what’s going on here? I suspect that for those of us in districts that were not previously hit with restructuring (such as CF and Providence), the “reforms” in those districts spread to the suburbs. And now, we’re all in the same boat…more or less.

We were up in Vergennes, Vermont for a reunion in Jennifer's family. I'd forgot that one of her cousins is a veteran ESL teacher in the Newark public schools. So we had a lot to talk about...

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