Dreaming for Our Students
By Allison Whitworth, Elementary School Teacher from Glide, OR
I started teaching one year out of college. It was 1989 and my very first day with children was their very first day of kindergarten. I’ve been teaching here in Glide since 1993.
I have learned so much since that first day 28 years ago. Now I have 28 years of tricks up my sleeve, 28 years of experience with 5, 6, 7 and 8 year old children, 28 years of learning curriculum, adapting to changes in education, meetings with colleagues, agonizing over those little people, trying to keep everyone moving forward, loving school, and learning to get along. You would think that after 28 years it would be getting easier. It is not. With each passing year we are asked to do more with less, and we have to fight to regain what was lost. For us, we lost a physical education teacher and a school counselor.
Learning to get along and socialize in the early grades has had to take a back burner to preparation for state testing. Kindergartens are ‘double dosed’ in reading rather than having more free time in school to learn to get along. In a typical class of 25 students twenty years ago, you may have had two or three students with behavior issues. Now, it seems that you may have five to eight and that is in addition to those students who require extra attention because they struggle academically.
We are still dreaming of the day we have a music teacher again, and I can’t imagine ever having the luxury of a school nurse or art teacher. I know I am doing a better job now than I have ever done. I certainly am working harder and longer hours. But it seems that my efforts are not enough to make up the difference in funding and the change in readiness of children beginning school.
Allison Whitworth is an Elementary School Teacher in Glide, OR. #OREducatorVoices