Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!!!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!!!

I would like to send a very special THANK YOU to all past and present teachers out there.

You are teaching our children and in tun, helping to create our future! You work hard every day, including some weekends, to prepare lessons for our kids, to teach them life values, to help them with problems, to nurture them, to prepare them for adulthood and I sincerely appreciate all you do.

If it weren't for you, where would our leaders come from? Where would all the doctors, dentists, lawyers, or other teachers, etc. come from? You are the reason we are who we are and why we've become the best possible people we can be.

I thank you with all my heart!!

Below is an article I'd like to share with you, written by Elizabeth Pesek.

Elizabeth Pesek is a third-grade teacher in the Fremont, CA Unified School District. She grew up in Fremont, moved away for several years, then moved back. She has been teaching for 12 years.

My Word: People don't understand how badly cuts will hurt
By Elizabeth Pesek
Guest commentary
Posted: 04/14/2010 12:01:00 AM PDT

As the Fremont Unified School District, among others, considers dramatically increasing class sizes and eliminating preparation time at the elementary grade level, keep in mind the following analogy.

Let's say the school district is like a company that manages farms, and it requires its farmers to grow and harvest crops in huge quantities.

The company takes away the farmer's tools, refuses to give the farmer enough water or fertilizer to do the job, and then ties the farmer's hands behind his back. Still, the company not only demands the original large harvest, but it increases its yield expectations each year. Finally, if the expectations are not met, the company blames the farmer.

In this scenario, will anything of value be produced?

Teachers are in the business of helping children grow. We understand funds are extremely limited at this time and painful cuts must be made. However, many teachers feel that those making the decisions don't understand the reality of the classroom.

It feels like people just don't understand that children are complex human beings with multiple needs. They are not machines that can have curriculum "implemented" into them and then good test scores will be the output.

They come to us with differing emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs, all of which we are expected to address.

In a typical week as a third-grade teacher, I am trying to help my students understand fractions, prepositional phrases, inferences, reading strategies, good writing traits, basketball, economics, the solar system, vocabulary, elements of art, test-taking strategies and the dangers of drugs.

It is enough of a challenge to master all this content, make plans to teach it effectively, prepare materials and correct assessments.

But while doing all that, I am also trying to provide extra help to those who struggle, challenge those who learn quickly, mediate arguments, teach conflict resolution, supervise playgrounds, give out Band-Aids, get absent students caught up, do paperwork to help those with severe problems, comfort students who bring problems from home, rearrange seating so students aren't distracted, plan separate lessons for English language learners, discipline misbehaving students and teach social skills.

The reality is that kids skin their knees, argue with their friends, cry when they're upset and want to share about their lives, even if it's not part of the curriculum.

Being in a classroom is an experience of juggling innumerable tasks and making constant decisions about a wide variety of things.

After students go home, teachers must also get ready for staff meetings, change bulletin boards, call parents, read e-mails and analyze test scores.

It seems like people just don't understand that doing all of this without any preparation time in the day and with 30 students is overwhelming.

It seems people just don't understand that all these factors combine to create teachers who are stressed, exhausted, frazzled and not the role models of calm, happiness and focus we should desire for our children.

Good teachers want to provide children with true knowledge and inspiration, and instead we often feel like we are processing students on an assembly line, and the conveyor belt keeps getting faster and faster.

As a society, we have the resources to make children a priority. I just don't understand why we choose not to.

Lorraine Castellon-Rowe
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