kitchen table math, the sequel: Former Public School Teacher

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Former Public School Teacher

Non-renewed, forced out.

This means that you are made to feel so uncomfortable in your position that you look for another job and you are unable to even get an interview at another school in one of the 15 largest districts in the country. So you move to another district, lose the "tenure" and then are non-renewed due to budget cuts and mostly disagreement with teaching fuzzy math.

I taught at one of the states way down there on the list of funding. I think it's 49 or 50. I was doing fine until I had a daughter. Then I started looking at every kid like she was my own. I'm not proud of that fact, but at least I finally saw the light. That's when things started going wrong. It also coincided with Everyday Mathematics being adopted by the district. I saw gifted kids in the 6th grade who couldn't multiply and divide. Kids who should have been able to move up to algebra in the 7th grade. I had work to do. I had to re-teach them everything from 4th and 5th grade and do 6th and pre-algebra so they could be where they should be.

When I was anonymous at school I wasn't bothered, but I got so excited by the changes that I started talking about it. The beginning of the end was the first week of October 2006.

I wish that I had quit first instead of them "quitting" me. I am starting to realize that I don't want to work in the system anymore. My daughter does Kumon, because I want other teachers for her besides me. Her Kumon teacher is from India. We will begin ALOHA abacus training, another teacher from India, next month. I hope to begin teaching abacus in the near future.

I know that the emotion and frustration you are reading here are not very productive, but I have been dying inside for a long time.

Former Public School Teacher
This is an atrocity.


Redkudu said...

>>I know that the emotion and frustration you are reading here are not very productive, but I have been dying inside for a long time.<<

I get this.

I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. I talk and talk and talk, and people respond to what I'm saying and they talk and talk - so much frustration, so much desire to adopt proven methods over the wishy-washy curriculum we're given. They want titles of books I've read, they want websites and blogs...but it's difficult to collaboratively discuss change. There is fear. All is well in the whisper campaign (it is cathartic, to say the least) until it comes to reaching consensus and pushing for change. Group recommendations, collaborative ideologies in support of best practices, are seen, simply, as a mutiny of defunct, elderly Luddites who cannot hack it in the 21st century, nor teach to 21st century skills.

There is a true danger of non-renewal. I'm in a state that doesn't have union representation like others (TX). I'm also in a very small district with outlying districts hard to get to - long travel (no public transportation out here, not even buses), tiny districts hard to break into as a teacher, etc.

Dying inside is a constant side-effect of teaching in public schools with poor administration and faulty curriculum - especially when it's a cobbled-together version where teachers are xeroxing the equivalent of a textbook every Monday morning because there is no textbook. You die inside, you work the summers that everyone says you have off, you teach another year.

Wash, wince, repeat.

Anonymous said...

I'm putting this in here twice, just to make sure. This is the county that did not renew me. No wonder. I GET IT!

I couldn't believe it when my mom called and said, "I don't want to upset you, but..."

Just in case I wasn't sure that being "quit" was the right thing for me...


BTW: I'm selling most of my teaching library that I've acquired over the years. So many books are from NCTM. So fuzzy!! HA HA! Maybe I can make one mortgage payment!

Former Public School Teacher

New math adds confusion to teaching equation

By Dave Weber
Sentinel Staff Writer

June 21 2009

SANFORD -- Take thousands of students, add a new method of math instruction and what do you get?

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,6702949.story