I have restrained myself for a few days now. I have not engaged with folks on social media who are fellow educators. I have been silent – silently seething to be honest. I tried to see things from their perspective. I have tried to understand that perhaps what feels like “bashing” to me isn’t meant in that way. I have tried to reconcile what I know to be true about myself, my specific place in education, my experiences and what I also know to be true (well, as true as social media lets me know someone who I don’t truly know in the way that I know my colleagues and real life friends) about those that seem to be doing the bashing.Honestly, I’m having difficulty with that.
I don’t understand how someone who uses a program to test children in their job can flippantly “call me out” for mentioning the fact that my district has adopted Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for Writing. I don’t understand how I can be somehow “less” of an educator because I make a comment that I don’t use the program “with fidelity”. I feel shamed into admitting that, gosh yeah, I use the resources my district purchased to craft lessons that are developmentally appropriate for my students. Somehow, just by USING these resources, I am evil and participating in everything that is wrong in education. Apparently, I should refuse to use these materials – but others get a “pass” because you know, they’re just doing their job.
How can I really be an activist if I continue to participate in the current state of education? How dare I “claim” to be part of a movement to shut down the testing madness if I go to school every day and don’t resist? Look, I get it – changes are going to come when we as teachers say “NO MORE!”, but like those that feel the need to bash others – I need my job. I am not independently wealthy. I must have a paycheck.
When we begin to be the snake eating its own tail and bash one another without understanding that “activism” comes in many forms – we undermine one another. I have so much respect for those that make these general comments, but I’m not sure they completely understand what it means to be the sole breadwinner with 3 kids in college and working in a school that could in only 2 short years not even exist any more.
I proudly work alongside teachers who “fight” every chance they get. There is no test prep going on in our elementary classes. There are teachers answering questions every day about refusing state tests. There are teachers who don’t even look at the District purchased materials and forge ahead doing what’s right for their students.
I can’t and won’t judge those folks that make comments that seem to bash my situation – I don’t live in their worlds, but I also know that they don’t live in mine. Making a comment is easy, living in my shoes may not be quite so easy, as I imagine living in their shoes wouldn’t be easy for me. My hope is that we can all acknowledge that none on us have it “easy” and that for the most part, we are all doing the best we can – given our individual circumstances.