For the teachers on the board with 15+ years experience

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I'm just curious how much things have changed over the years. When you began, we didn't have NCLB, Internet, grading software, SMART Boards, budget cuts in the tens of millions, cyber bullying, etc.

    I'm not using this thread to make you feel old:whistle:, I'm just genuinely interested in hearing about how things have changed for you. Last year I sat with a 22 year vet at a PD meeting and she told me her job is nothing like when she started. She said her job used to be much more carefree and she felt more respected. She told me that I should stick with teaching in case the pendulum swings back. She promised me it would be the most rewarding career ever. That conversation stuck with me.

    So tell me about your career and how it's evolved. Would you "go back" if you could?
     
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  3. DaleJr88AmpFan

    DaleJr88AmpFan Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2012

    Well, I am starting my 15th year. Things have definitely changed since I have been in the trenches. :) Here are just a couple of things that I have noticed.

    ~White boards were the new things for the classroom. They replaced the old chalkboards. In my first room, I had 2 large chalkboards that I covered with paper and used one smaller white board in my room. Now, I have a SMARTBOARD.

    ~Report cards used to be based on percentages combining scores from homework, quizzes & tests and were handwritten. Now, we are standards' based and "grade" on proficiency of skills- no percentages at all. The report cards have more than doubled in length due to standards rather than the "six subjects". They are completed on the computer.

    ~When I started, I had a desktop computer. Now, I have a district-issued laptop.

    ~Our standards are our curriculum. That being said, our district has gone through laborious procedures to find material (texts, guides, computer programs) that supports our standards.

    ~We have pacing guides for all subjects.. not stringent but we are all pacing much closer to each other. Great for district-wide consistancy but frustrating if you have distractors/interruptions that prevent you from being "where you are supposed to be".

    ~Our day has shortened at least 30 minutes which is a lot of lost time.

    ~Fun, fluffy, foofoo projects have gone by the wayside in many cases because we simply do not have the time to get our regular curriculum in.

    ~Kindergarteners are leaving K with reading levels that were mid-1st grade when I began teaching.

    ~Parents weren't "as quick" to blame the educational system for problems. They looked to their child's actions first before assigning blame to others.

    ~Inclusion was not as prevolent. Many special education of students spent the majority of their day with their SPED teachers.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I'm starting year 20. When I started, Kentucky was newly into their education reform, so a lot of the things that happen now in education were things that we were dealing with way back then. On the plus side, none of this is really new to me. On the other hand, it's still as much of a PITA now, and even more so with the "been there, done that" part.

    My first classroom had ONE electric outlet. I used it for my overhead projector. I had a television and a VCR on a cart, and it sat in the back of my room, so I had a 100 foot extension cord that ran from it to the only outlet in the front. Eventually we got ONE computer in the library, and it it took about 20 minutes to follow the multiple steps to get online via dial-up.

    Now I have a SmartClassroom with all the bells and whistles. Sometimes I do still miss my old black chalkboard and all my colored chalk.

    Yes, my job is a PITA sometimes, but I can't imagine that I'd like anything else any more. It's the career I chose, and I'm going to make the best of it.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2012

    This is going to be year 21 for me, and while technology and such has certainly changed a lot, I think the kids are pretty much the same.

    The biggest difference has been the steady push towards standardized testing. I remember when I first started, Texas had just introduced the TAAS test. My dad worked in the district with me, and he said, "Don't stress about it. It's a fad. It will go away." Since then we've seen TAKS and now STAAR. He always jokes now about how very wrong he was.

    I feel like the biggest change has been the lack of trust the public, school boards and administration has for teachers to just do our job. Everything is so controlled right now, and teachers have less and less flexibility. I miss that. A lot. I mean, I get it because a few teachers weren't doing anything they were supposed to do, and there were kids graduating high school who literally couldn't read, but I think we've moved too far in the other direction.

    But there's a lot more positive, too. The technology is AMAZING, and I have access to tools that I never dreamed of before. I love how readily available information is to the students, too. Because they can get answers so much more easily, I can push them to question more deeply. That's awesome! We've also learned so much more about how to really *teach* information rather than just *present* it, and that makes my job more fun. :) And we're so much more inclusive now with students with disabilities, language issues, social issues... There was a time that students that had any type of problem were sent away, swept under the rug or just allowed to drop out. Teaching has become more student focused now, and that is an absolute good.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I'm starting year 39. When I began we were using mimeo graph machines for copies (those purple sheets).

    We did not have district standards, we just taught what we wanted pretty much.

    We took one standardized test at the end of the year...something like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. We didn't do prep testing, the kids came in one day and just took the test. The results were used just to see how our children stacked up with children around the country.

    Calculators were these big, hunking things. We used adding machines. Computers were non existent.

    We did lots of fluff stuff, but it related to the topics we were teaching and made for some engaging projects.

    Children wanted to come to school because it was fun and not stressful.

    The children I first taught are now CEO's of their own companies, professors, politicians, successful business people and entrepreneurs...basically...major successful contributors to our society.

    So...we must have been doing something right!!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    When I started in 1980, no one, including me, used a calculator. They simply weren't something most people had. We did math by hand.

    To make copies, you used purple dittos. If you made a mistake, you too a razor blade and cut it out. the WORSE mistake was forgetting ro remove the carbon paper before writing a worksheet or test!!!

    We didn't have NCLB, but we did have A Nation At Risk. And before that, there was LBJ's Great Society. Until we uniformly have schools that we can be proud of, politicians will attempt to fix schools. All that's changed in that regard is the means they use to do it.

    There were no mentors. No new teacher meetings. You started with the expectation that you were as up to the job as anyone else.

    In math, we taught interpolation and approximating square roots-- remember, no calculators.
     
  8. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I am starting year 20 (eek really?) when i first started, kindergarten really was all about play, and at the end of the year, if the kids didn't know all the letters, they still went to first grade. I did everything by hand, didn't even own a computer - and i did not have a cell phone.

    I wrote on a blackboard, with white chalk, and my custodian washed it every night.

    The kids used elmers glue in bottles - not glue sticks.

    all my plans were in pen

    we cooked every week, no worries about food allergies. I also had 1/2 day K.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I don't think our jobs should be carefree...:huh:

    The only constant in life is change. Those who don't adapt to change become extinct. I've been teaching 15 years...in so many ways I wouldn't want to go back...in those years, I've grown as a professional, refined my skills, impacted hundreds of students' learning...and I plan to continue learning and growing. Have things changed? Yes, but so have I.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    band~I remember when TAAS first came out. We took it in 3rd grade and then in 10th. If you didn't pass it by your senior year you didn't graduate. Wow, have things changed!

    mom2ohc~I remember banging erasers and cleaning the chalkboard were the two jobs that everyone wanted to do!
     
  11. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 19, 2012

    Lots of the above.

    The kids brought homemade treats and gifts for students/teachers.

    Parents bought teachers Christmas, birthday, and/or end of the year gifts. (usually just one)

    Kids were better at fine motoe skills...coloring, cutting. etc.
     
  12. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 19, 2012

    yeahhhhhhh! :cool: I loved that job. got to get a big old bucket of water from the slop sink. :thumb:
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I think the most important thing is that kids HAVEN'T changed.

    Their habits certainly have, in this electronic age. And their knowledge base has-- it's a lot wider, but frequently far less deep. Their level of "street smarts" has changed, since even kids in the most remote areas have access to a world far beyond their local borders.

    But kids themselves haven't changed. And our ability to reach those kids, given the right tools and the flexibility to use them, that hasn't changed either.
     
  14. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jul 21, 2012

    I've been teaching since 1980. The most important improvement is in elementary math instruction. Now, my students do experiments with manipulatives and come up with math rules on their own. They still learn how to reduce fractions, but they understand it. It's not just an algorithm. None of my students know how many pecks in a bushel, but why did we teach that?

    We used to teach reading by grouping students by ability into three reading groups. To keep them busy while we met with groups, we gave them reading workbooks and dittos. Although some schools still group kids this way, due to all the research showing the low kids do not benefit from the practice, the practice is largely dying out. Now we use an inclusive model where we bring the lower readers up to speed so they can actually read during reading class instead of spending 2/3 of their reading time doing paperwork.

    Teachers used to play together more. Parents were more standoffish. Now, thankfully, I can get them into my class as volunteers.


    Favorite Teacher Blog:
    http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 21, 2012

    I just finished year 15 and things definitely have changed. A lot of the things that have been mentioned, the tools we use, the standards we have to follow, etc. I've grown a lot as a teacher. I look back on those first few years and shake my head. I often feel the need to look those kids up and apologize. :rolleyes: The years and experience have helped build me to the teacher I am today. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Of course I'd prefer if I could bring my experience with me. :D
    I feel stronger, more prepared, and well better. Am I perfect? FAR FROM IT. If I ever reach a point where I feel I am so far above everyone else, I hope I have enough integrity to walk away. This isn't a job for someone who thinks they know it all. I've made mistakes, most were small, a few were bigger than I'd care to admit. I still get excited for the first day of school, though. I hope that never changes.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 21, 2012

    I don't really understand this. Or maybe I just disagree...but I think it's more that I don't understand. Here are my thoughts and maybe you (or anyone else) can help me know what you mean when you say children haven't changed.

    If children's habits, knowledge, and "street smarts" have changed, then I believe children have changed. Our habits and the other items listed make us who we are—in part, of course. There are things that haven't changed about children as well, but I think it's fair to say children have changed. A child of 1950 and a child of 2000 not only had different experiences, but they were different children because their different habits and so forth.

    I would say I have changed over the last ten years because my habits have changed and my knowledge has been increased, which in turn causes me to make choices different than those I would have made a few years ago. Of course I didn't completely reinvent myself so there are aspects of my personality (soul, I will even say) that remain the same.

    This is not to imply children have changed in a negative direction, simply that change has occurred. And at the same time many things remain the same.
     

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