Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Anxiety

Image from Wikimedia Commons by GRPH3B18
The school year has started and I have been placed for student teaching.  In order to absorb the school culture I have been attending the staff meetings along with the other student teachers.  The nice thing about attending the meetings, besides getting a chance to meet the teachers, was that I got to see what practical, outside-the-classroom issues teachers were most anxious about.  Teacher seemed to be very concerned about issues in the following categories.
1. Rigid standards (I should note that they were overjoyed to see the newer test questions that are going to be implemented in the next few years, so this is not an issue of laziness).
2. Budget issues came up several times, teachers feel education is inadequately funded.  I have always felt that education was just inefficiently funded.  For example, buying every student a netbook and digital resources is cheaper than supplying textbooks, lets them take tests digitally so less paper is consumed and districts have strict regulations on where teachers purchase their supplies so they often cannot purchase things for the best deals they can find.
3. "The District."  Teachers see this as a powerful entity above them.  "Will the district approve?" is a great concern for them.  They also seem to fear that they will be in a situation where the district has some bureaucratic rule that will inhibit them from helping their students.

It is good to get a preview of the kinds of issues I will be dealing with in education.  I was already aware of the classroom and political concerns from my classes and the fact that these concerns are more popular.  These other ones that are not written about in news articles but still extremely relevant to the job of teaching are going to be important to know.

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