The Teachers’ Rite of Spring

teachers rite of spring

 

There is such optimism at the beginning of the year. No matter if it is a new calendar year or school year–either way, people convince themselves that things will be different this year. Continue reading

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Fa la la la la…I broke my badass resolutions

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For being such a realist/pessimist, I sometimes surprise myself with my optimism.

Take last January, for example.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post, which I admitted at the time was written with “wide-eyed optimism.” You can read it here if you’re interested. In it I listed my badass resolutions for 2016.

Um.

So…

Yeah. That happened.

*****

On the fairly optimistic side, I did follow through on some of the resolutions, and I’m proud of that. Continue reading

47 Reasons I Can’t Find A Teaching Job

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Summer is over, which means kids are back to school (and parents are rejoicing).

I’m still at home.

I’ve completed paperwork in several districts. I’ve applied for teaching positions. I’ve emailed principals and called them on the phone. I’ve reached out to friends who have suggested jobs and let me know of openings in their orbit.

Nothing.

I filed for unemployment the other day. I’m going to try to get a teaching job for another few weeks and then… Continue reading

Dear Bailey

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Dear Bailey,

One of my Facebook friends shared your writing on her wall several days ago with the note “Read all the way to the end.” So I clicked and started reading. Within a few sentences, I was sure I was reading satire. I smiled and smirked as I read through all of the ways you described your kindergarten classroom. As I got to the end, I was thinking that what you had written had hit all of the talking points; maybe you should send it to The Onion.

And then I read the last line.

“Bailey Reimer is a kindergarten teacher at Chicago’s CICS Basil Elementary and a Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow.”

And I sat back, horrified, because now I knew that this wasn’t satire. This wasn’t written ironically.

You, Bailey, 100% believe every word you wrote is right and true and best for children.

That terrifies me. Continue reading

Badass Resolutions

back to school

The clock has struck midnight, the ball has dropped…and it’s time to return to school.

(The parents might be ready, but most teachers are not.)

I’m still exhausted. Looking at my calendar for this month makes me more exhausted. And this is before other commitments get added in, as they always do–school meetings, union meetings, special events, appointments for family members. And God forbid I get sick…*knocks on wood*.

Somewhere in all of that is my actual job. Teaching a class of young children, molding minds, inspiring greatness… Continue reading

Have Brain, Can Teach

  It boils down to this:

I’m not the teacher they want for this position. 

My reading table is not immaculate. 

Sometimes I’m a minute late picking up my kids from art/music/PE.

I can’t keep up with all of the mandates. I get one form turned in only to find out there are three other things that have to be done too. 

I am not a teacher with good data. Never mind that I teach in an urban, low socioeconomic district where most children don’t speak English at home. My test scores aren’t good, which consequently means there is more paperwork. More stress. More justification as to why I do what I do. 

Because here’s what I do accomplish:

I help get students in and out of the building safely before and after school. 

I plan field trips and conduct meetings with parents and run sessions at open house and parent nights. 

I manage a class full of small children, who each demand my attention with things they need to tell and questions they need to ask. 

I juggle all of that and so much more. 

And sometimes, I get to teach. The obvious thing that is not so obvious anymore. 

But just sometimes. 

I make children listen to stories and fall in love with reading. I teach math and make it fun, sneak it in in unexpected places. I teach about plants and animals and presidents and all kinds of topics. We write and we draw and we gasp! color and we become a little family. 

But that’s not who they want. They want good test scores. They want yes-men. 

(I’m not a yes-man. We have issues.)

The teacher they want will not question, will not think independently, will care more about data points than children. 

We’re losing good teachers every day because at some point, you have to decide whether it’s worth it or not to continue. 

I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore. 

Remember the Teachers


One of the fun things I’ve gotten to do this summer is visit the Kennedy Space Center. If you’re ever in central Florida, I highly recommend that you make the drive to the Space Coast. There are tours, a launch simulator, a real Saturn V rocket, astronaut presentations…it’s a space nerd’s happy place. I had been a few other times, but I think I enjoyed this visit the most, in part because of the new exhibits.

There is a new building that is housing one of NASA’s space shuttles from its now-defunct shuttle program. You can see Atlantis, take pictures in front of it, see artifacts and a movie about it. It’s definitely a unique experience. The whole place is thrumming with energy.

But there is one part of the downstairs area that is hushed, solemn, reverent. Continue reading