Today is Friday and that is a good thing in itself. The problem with today is that it should be the last day of school before Spring Break.....but NOOOO! We still have four weeks to go until that event takes place. Last year our calendar was approved, so Don(history teacher) scheduled his Spring Break trip to Greece and Rome. This is a trip he always takes with kids.....there is a huge price increase from....traveling this week....and say...four weeks from now. Anyways....kids signed up....and that pretty much locks you in. THEN....just before the end of the school year 2010....the calendar changed. Our Spring Break was going to have to be mid-April. The State School Board was the reason they said. ALL School's would be taking Spring Break then. Ok...I was good with that....Don however, contacted the travel company and found that there would be a 500.00 increase per child to change the dates to the later date. So, he went to our boss, explained his dilemma and they kept the trip on the date originally planned. Our school system does not sanction these trips because of events that happened in the past with other people....and I understand this. Sorry, I was headed down a rabbit trail.....anyways....back in the fall of this year I discovered that my daughter, who teaches in another system, was having Spring Break....and this week. I then talked to numerous other teachers in other systems and found out that we are one of the few taking late break. I know if you are not in education this seems like a small thing to gripe about.....heck...I should be glad I am getting a break.....and to me therein lies the problem. Our students had their graduation exams the first week in March (just like every other student in this state), this week ended the grading period. They are tired.....We start another grading period on Monday....and four weeks into that grading period....we are going to send them on raucus trips with friends to the beach, et al....and then bring them BACK for five weeks of more school, settle them down, and hope they pass and can graduate. I am personally missing the logic in this. I am a break at the natural break kind of girl. That would give us four weeks to teach, assess, send out progress reports, and reteach to make sure they pass, you know...a serious semester. But NOT this year. Several systems around us have already tried this late break method for increasing the elementary test scores for AMSTI, ARMT, SAT and discovered it does not work....and have gone back to Spring Break this coming week....(personally I think we over test our kids....especially right here in the Spring. The elementary kids (all across the state) take 3+ standardized tests over the next three week period. That is ridiculous! Whatever happened to recess? Painting? Being kids? Reading because you love it? Now they have to read "x" number of books in a limited period of time, be tested until they can't see straight, do Algebra before they leave second grade, and every single student who enters the ninth grade must be on an advanced diploma? You know....I went to school back in a day when we played outside on nice days, we were thrilled to go to the library on our library days, I can do basic math without the use of a calculator, I love to sing, I loved dabbling in art and appreciate it for what it is, I have a Master's Degree in English and Sociology, and a Bachelors in Spanish. I majored in Shakespeare. I am not stupid. I was not an advanced diploma kid. We all took Spanish in Elementary School because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I do not see anything wrong with the education I received in America....we took standardized tests once a year in the fall and once in the spring. We went on field trips (can't do that today....proration ended that). I realize I am not a higher up....but come on.....all kids are not capable of Advanced Diploma. Face it. I had a child who was not. It did not mean that child was dumb....not at all.... just geared differently. Instead of forcing kids to read....why can't we be encouraging them to see the adventures that are available to them....in books. Ok, I have rambled entirely too much. Sigh! It did not make Spring Break come early....heavier sigh....I will just have to be patient and wait my turn.....and yes...I teach....nine months of the year, I take papers home at night to grade, I work on lessons at home at night, I take classes in the summer to earn my CEU's. I have even worked another job during the summer to help make ends meet. I have not had a raise in over 5 years....but my insurance and retirement continue to rise.....so if you do that math....my salary has actually decreased over the past few years. I don't do this for the money....I do it for the love of the kids. I wanted to make a difference....somedays I win....somedays I lose....but every day I win....makes it worth everything. Happy Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.