Monday, January 31, 2011

Stress and the NCLB

     Finally had school, and it looks as though the following days may be canceled again too. This is, in a way, good; although I like getting into routines, I love breaking routine. So viewing teaching as a prospective career (not that I actually have any other realistic options after five years of college for this) I can feel hopeful that random acts of nature will keep things somewhat unpredictable.
     On that note, I've been posting a lot about the hardships of students and especially the flaws of teachers. I'd like to now take a blog to reflect on the hardships of teachers. Teachers I have encountered seem to be under a lot of stress. For one there's this new thing called accountability, meaning if a student fails a subject it's pretty much the teacher's fault. While it makes sense to me and I don't disagree with it, it does probably add to teachers' stress. Going along with that there's all this high-stakes testing. For those who do not know—many public schools' funding is determined by how well the students do on their standardized tests. High test scores equal higher increased funding, while lower test scores equal decreased funding (This is from the No Child Left Behind Act.) If a school's test scores sink too low, the school can be characterized as a high-needs school and possibly be taken over directly by the government. You basically don't want to be working there when/if that happens. There's a bunch of other stuff too but moving on; with this kind of system a problem arises. You may have heard of this: Teaching to the test. It's when students learn how to take a particular test instead of learning actual concepts and subject matter not on the test (like history.) Sure students learn something and the school gets more money, if i works out, but students are less equipped to problem solve in the future and much important curriculum is left out. (Did I mention Social Studies?) That's the controversy anyways. A lot of people don't like or agree with standardized testing or with the way classroom curriculum is changing, so I guess there has been some debate in the teaching world the past decade or so. How will I avoid teaching to the test while still giving my students the skills they need to complete the test? I (am going to) have bills to pay after all. I can't just give up my job because I think the students need to know about the fall of Rome more than having another expository writing drill.
     So with all that said, there's basically a lot of pressure on teachers. It is a pretty important job after all. Kids are the future! If the next generation isn't educated then what hope do we have? With this mindset in peoples' heads, there is all sorts of criticism and scrutiny out there for the teachers of today's youth. In conclusion, teachers can have it rough. There's also apparently a lot of politics in the profession which I think a lot of people that go into the field aren't prepared nor were they looking for. Good teachers have probably been pushed at for stupid reasons somewhere sometime before. Of course, none of this worry I'm expressing actually applies to myself. I can totally handle it! That's why I'm not deterred at all; I look forward to the challenges ahead. However, for the average person out there, being a teacher might be for stressful than they had originally thought, and I just hope that this stress does not impair their ability to give quality educations to their students.


  1. Wow.. A lot was said, teachers seem to have it hard.
    Good luck with it though, followed!

  2. I've given some serious thought to becoming a teacher. I honestly think that would be the most rewarding job, like, ever!

    good luck in your career journey!

  3. Actually a pretty bad move to blame teachers for students' bad grades. What if one of your students never pays attention, doesn't do his homework, and only fools around in class even though you've warned him so many times? It's not your fault if that's the case, now is it?

  4. The pressure must be overwhelming...

  5. I never really realized there is so much stuff behind the scene. It seems like teachers have a pretty hard life, which is a shame.