Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School Month!

August is the new back to school month.  When I was a kid, school started after Labor Day, usually the second Tuesday in September.  Now as an adult, an elementary school teacher myself, the first of August typically finds me switching gears between summer vacation and starting to think about the start of the new school year.

I had this idea in the middle of the night to start blogging about my life as an elementary public school teacher in America.  First, let me say this. As teachers go, I realize that I've got it pretty good.  

I teach in an affluent suburban community with supportive parents and a classroom full of resources to help me do my job well.  Most, if not all, of my students come to school every day wearing clean clothes and have breakfast in their stomachs.  I work in a school where more than half of our student population is achieving at or above grade level, according to our state tests.  I know I'm in a great place to work, because I began my career in a large urban school district that was lacking in many of these advantages.

Regardless, my job is full of challenges.  I still have students who fail to meet state standards.  Every year, I have a handful of demanding parents that don't know when to back off and let me do my job, or when to stop overparenting their children.  I spend hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket on my classroom each year.  My school district is owed millions in state funding, and more than 100 of my colleagues were laid off this spring.  We pack 30 kids into a classroom.  And every year we're expected to increase student achievement.  

I'm eager to chronicle my life in the classroom through this blog.  My hope is to portray a realistic picture of what challenges public school teachers face every day, and perhaps dispel some of the popular myths that envelop this profession.  I hope to post a few times per week, thinking as realistically as possible, and to show the full array of emotions that come with being a teacher.  

For now, I look forward to beginning an exciting new year. Summer vacation is drawing to a close, and I feel refreshed and recharged, and ready to give it my all.  August is back to school month, and I can't wait to dig in.