Monday, April 22, 2013

So what's wrong with your school?

One of the many questions I get when people find out we are homeschooling is 'What's wrong with your school?' Most assume something is fundamentally wrong with our school, the teachers and/or the district. They assume something bad happened to my kids and that's why I pulled them. This is not the case at all.

I worked as a public school teacher for years & was doing that when we moved here. So I specifically picked our district over others. When my child entered the elementary school, I really loved it. I was heavily involved, VP of the PTA, class mom, etc. The principal is wonderful, the teachers are some of the best I've ever known or worked with, the school community is amazing!

So why then pull them out?

Bottom line, it's the entire educational system. There is a REASON I left the public schools 11 years ago. And now for that same reason, I have pulled my kids out of it. I tried to fight the good fight. I tried to change it from within. It's too damn big, too damn powerful and pretty much unstoppable!

The sad part is, our system is losing great teachers in droves and slowly destroying others. (Have you seen Here Comes the Boom yet?)  There are so many great, creative, enthusiastic teachers out there. Many of them work in our local elementary school, but the system doesn't let them use that creativity. The system doesn't let them access their years of training and experience. The system does not allow them to even go above and beyond if they want to.

Sounds crazy right? If a teacher CHOOSES to stay after school, come up with creative curriculum and uses his/her free time to do this for their class, this should be totally acceptable right? WRONG! The system doesn't want significant differences between each class, especially within a grade level and/or within a building. Then we would have parents complaining that they want THAT teacher, or why doesn't this teacher do what THAT teacher does. And so on and so forth. This actually happened to me. I was staying after school, I was going above and beyond for my class & then I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to STOP and that I could LOSE MY JOB!!! This was also reiterated to me by the teacher's union! I wasn't coming in late, harming students, late on paperwork, or breaking rules. I WAS DOING EXTRA! UNBELIEVABLE!

So the best, most creative teachers are stifled with restrictions, are piled with new curriculums and core standards, and are now judged by student testing which could risk their job. So what do you THINK they are going to do? 

THIS is why I pulled my kids out of the public system. I wish all of those teachers & administrators fighting the good fight all the luck in the world. I couldn't do it and I won't sacrifice my kids to it. I hope one day to see it change, but for now, we'll do it our way.

It makes me sad to see a system that I loved so dearly, go in such a horrible direction. All that I can do is what is best for our family. And for now, homeschooling is it. I can get as creative as I want, do as much as I want, and there are no limitations or restrictions except for the ones I create. Funny how a change I made for my children has renewed my spirit as a teacher. I haven't been this happy teaching in well over a decade! 

So for now, I will truly enjoy teaching my own children and working with other homeschoolers. As someone once said to me "True teachers will always find a way to teach!"