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Sunday, February 21, 2016

An anonymous 3rd grade teachers speaks out

via Facebook, without comment:

I am a Florida third grade teacher and have never been so miserable. At best, I leave school each day feeling like I've failed my students. At worst, I leave feeling like I've committed child abuse. I see their tears from the frustration. I listen to children call themselves stupid because they cannot master developmentally inappropriate skills. I watch as students randomly guess at answers on reading tests because the passage they have to read has a Lexile level of 1000. I see 8-year old boys and girls who lack basic social skills because play has been eliminated from our early childhood programs so that we can teach academics in preschool and begin standardized testing in kindergarten.

I go home and cry most nights. I dread going to work in the morning. I am bound by poorly conceived and written curriculum maps. I crunch data, prepare math lessons from another state's failed curriculum, and write FSA style questions for my students to answer collaboratively rather than explore the mathematical world with them. I teach my children close reading strategies rather than guiding them through the magic of getting lost in a book and exploring new worlds and new ideas through the original virtual reality medium.

I love teaching. I always have and always will, but this is not teaching. I so desperately want to resign, but I cannot afford to as a single parent. In my mid-forties, I find myself looking for a new career. Pray that someone likes what they see on my resume. Until then, though, I trudge through my days and continue to try to tolerate a job that is nothing like the one that I adore.


  1. I too am a third grade teacher who feels the same way. I hope for change and soon!!

  2. I had a 2nd grader tell me he wanted to kill himself this year. I can't take it anymore. I'm done.

  3. I'm also a third grade teacher and felt the same exact way. I could've written this myself. I said enough is enough. If they keep teachers who let 2nd graders move on when they can't even write their name, they aren't going to fire me. I am now taking my kids out for recess at least once a day, and only follow the curriculum to fill in the pages in case someone comes in and checks. We are READING and discussing Pan, not doing the bs our HORRIBLE curriculum says. My scores are very good. Achieve levels have skyrocketed. What can they really say? You can't teach your students the way you are because they're learning too much? Principals even hate the curriculum. Vitti made a huge mistake with it, and to this point, is too pompous to admit his error. I guarantee any teacher who follows that curriculum exactly will have a class full of kids who bomb the FSA.

    1. I'm right there with you! I'm a third grade teacher who has refused to make her centers for the crap schedule they want us to use. And guess what? My students are showing growth, my students love coming to my class. Why? Because I'm taking what I am given and teaching it how I see fit. Kudos to you!

    2. I'm doing the same thing: teaching the students rather than buying into their bullshit. The problem becomes two fold:

      1. I fear everyday that an administrator will find out I'm not working their system and will be "disciplined" in some way. Or just simply bullied by the admin.

      2. If they don't find out but my students are succeeding, they think it is because of their bullshit system. So now they are patting themselves on the back but it really is my teaching (and other teachers who are disregarding what we know does not work) that is creating the difference. "They" start thinking that they are the ones making the difference. They double-down on a broken policy.

  4. Look at the Corona-Norco School District in California. Not only do we have a very good pay scale, but they are looking for teachers for our growing district. As a former teacher union leader, I can tell you it's a very good district.

  5. I want to start by thanking you for writing. When I read posts and comments like these, I know that I am not alone. I can no longer teach this way (if you can even call this teaching). I feel like I am surrounded by people who care but are too fearful to do what is right for students. So I stand alone...daring to use other reading materials. Since I've started to actually teach my classroom has turned completely around. Most students are engaged and progressing. My only regret is starting this too students have lost almost half a school year with this Duval Reads.

    So what will I do idea?? I am no where near retirement so I figured that maybe I can at least support those who are able to continue to be in the classroom even under these circumstances. However, I'm starting to feel that I already have too much experience to move forward in DCPS which only seems to promote its youngest and most inexperienced teachers. Which I guess is ideal when you want to move forward with poor quality curriculum and initiatives without being questioned.