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The next person who comes to me with the latest, newest, cure-all packaged program designed to meet the needs of all kids - fully equipped with glitzy strategies, charts, worksheets and data charts that must be utilized in a prescribed, lock-step fashion with “fidelity” - better be prepared to stand before my kids for an entire day – alone! On top of that, they’d better prepare themselves for the five hours after school that they will need to subtract from their family’s life to grade papers, call parents and plan for the next day.

 I guarantee they won’t last an hour. 

Because kids don’t work that way. Schools don’t work that way. There are so many variables…nothing is predictable. Much is unplannable.

Today, my morning plans included reviewing the four types of sentences and giving kids time to write their final drafts of a story they started two days ago. Within the first hour, one boy, whose life is a mess, slipped into a temper tantrum because he didn’t get seconds for breakfast. He chucked his first breakfast against the wall and shoved his desk to the ground. Counselor referral #1. 

Thirty minutes later, another boy began rocking in his seat, sobbing uncontrollably. He told the boy next to him that he was having flashbacks and couldn’t stop the memories from coming. Counselor referral #2. 

I think I handled both incidents fairly calmly and managed to keep all the rest of the kids semi-engaged with their work. But the reality is that these types of things happen spontaneously and definitely not according to a script prepared by some expert working in Texas who hasn’t been in a classroom for years…if ever. 

I am tired of the assault on the intelligence and professionalism of teachers. I’m tired of experts thinking that teachers don’t have the sense in their heads to do what is right for their kids. 

I’m tired. 

But my papers are graded. Parents have been contacted. Data has been entered in all the proper spreadsheet cells. Plans have been crafted and adequately aligned with state standards…

And my family went to bed an hour ago. 

I’m tired. 

But I am not weak. I am not ignorant. I am not a quitter. 

I love my job…and I will get up again tomorrow morning…and do it all over again.


Copyright, Tim Ramsey, 2016.

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Tim Ramsey has been an educator since 1983.  He taught middle school and high school for 15 years and served as a school administrator for 15 years before retiring in 2013.  He returned to the classroom where he now teaches writing to seventh graders by day and reading to college freshmen by night.  Tim is an avid writer and has been featured in six Chicken Soup for the Soul compilations.  In addition he has received several first place honors from the Arizona English Teachers Association for its annual “Teachers as Writers Contest.”

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Guest Thursday, 25 April 2019