Teachers are asked to take assignments late, to allow students to retake a test they were not ready for, and to adjust expectations. We do this, then we are asked to stretch a little more. Take the assignment four weeks late- after all, they could have not done it all. The student cannot go to the test center to retake this test- could you please give up your lunch break so they can take it? The vocabulary on this test is too complex, let them use a dictionary. While these may not seem like a huge adjustment to many, consider this: Teachers are scored on how a student performs on a state test that we did not design. Are the students allowed to retake it for a better score? No. Are they allowed to use a dictionary on these tests? No. We change for our students, but the state does not change for them or for us.
Teachers give up planning periods to cover other classes, to attend professional development, and to do everything else for the school, but plan. Then when we call in sick, a big fuss is made. Are you sure you can’t come in? Well, your sub plans better be in order because I am not making copies for you. When lesson plans are late, we cannot say I’ll turn them in tomorrow or I was sick this weekend, but at the same time, many of the materials needed from the district offices are late, our teaching schedules are not ready till sometimes the week before school opens, and our evaluations are complete till after school ends. What is the matter with this picture?
As teachers, we understand concepts take time to master and we do not teach concepts that our students are not prepared for. Starting material before students are ready is a formula for disaster, yet standards were immediately implemented before a transition period was fully complete and our schools were not ready. Materials were not provided for classrooms, but tests were surely made and taken. Why were we not given time to prepare? We give our students time, but we aren’t given any.
Teachers are asked to do so much for others giving up our time, energy and sometimes money. We take cuts in our paychecks to prevent other teachers from being laid off and to prevent our students from being packed in classrooms. We are asked to give our lives to protect our students and we do it gladly. But, teachers are the first to be blasted for asking for better pay, better conditions, and better materials. The question is why do we have to give up so much for everyone else? No other profession is asked to give so much and expect so little.
What would happen if our teachers stopped being the kind-hearted people we are? Are they myriads of would be teachers just waiting for the chance to come into the classroom? Teachers are not asking for any more than want they deserve simply more time and respect, which is what we give to everyone else including our students. Can you imagine if we followed the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated?