Handed in My Resignation Today

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by teacherman1, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Stephen Round
    Foster, Rhode Island

    Human Resources Department
    Providence Public Schools
    797 Westminster Street,
    Providence, Rhode Island
    02903



    To: ***************************l, the Providence School Board, and the parents of my students…

    Below you will find, word for word, my personal Philosophy of Education, which was part of my application for a teaching position in the Providence School System in 1999.

    “I believe that my goal as an educator should be the creation of life-long learners. If I am going to meet that goal I must provide children with an educational experience that is both rewarding and enjoyable. Therefore, it is important for students to understand how the knowledge received in the classroom will benefit them in the real world. It is my responsibility, as a teacher, to find various ways to make this processes possible. To do this, I must be creative and open minded enough to try new methods and approaches but perceptive enough to embrace only those methods and approaches that prove to achieve that end.”

    I was hired for a second grade position by principal, Nancy Owen, at what was then the Charles N. Fortes Magnet Academy, and it was a great fit for several years.

    Unfortunately, in the attempt to conform and abide by the misguided notions of educrats, the school system in which I had so much pride drastically changed. Rather than creating life-long learners our new goal is to create good test-takers.

    Rather than being the recipients of a rewarding and enjoyable educational experience, our students are now relegated to experiencing a confining and demeaning education.

    Let’s take a look at their typical day…

    Breakfast is no longer served in the cafeteria - where children used to have time to talk and socialize. Now it’s piled on a table in the classroom and consumed during the first moments of class – supposedly while they are “working”.

    Lunch isn’t much better. By that time the children are so starved for social contact and a chance to talk that the cafeteria quickly becomes unbearably loud for students and supervising faculty alike. The alternative - the dreaded Silent Lunch – is often the only answer.

    So now there’s recess - which lasts all of 20 minutes when weather permits. This should be time for all students to run around and work off their pent up energy. But unfortunately, since recess is the only enjoyable part of the day for the students, teachers have been forced to use it as a bargaining chip in the classroom – students either do their work, behave and keep quiet during class time, or they lose recess. And, more often than not, the kids who need that recess time the most lose it due to poor behavior in the classroom.

    So then it’s time to line up quietly, form a straight line and proceed back to the classroom for another session of “learning”. It’s no small wonder that we have such a high rate of Behavior Disorder within our classrooms. I, personally, had two children in my class of 26 who were (and still are) severe behavior problems - and at least six more who would be considered moderate BD. Actually, there were only four or five children in my entire class who could consistently hold it together, day after day, without getting into trouble.

    My hat goes off to them!

    And as for the classroom experience itself, any type of “fun” activity is long gone.

    Classroom pets – gone!

    Parties to celebrate birthdays and special holidays – gone –gone…

    How about field trips? Those adventures out into the real world to experience what it’s like to live on a farm, trips to the zoo and even the experience of visiting a real museum?

    Gone, gone, gone…


    And finally, my determination to be creative and open minded enough to try new approaches to teaching…. Hah!

    The Powers That Be say that if it isn’t in the accepted curriculum and done at the appropriate time, it can’t be used!

    Why, I was even prohibited from tutoring my neediest students - my so-called dyslexic students - on my own time and after school...

    Not just once, but twice! In two separate schools!

    And, this was after my principal and the student’s parents had approved of what I was doing. These parents were happy that their children were finally reading, the students were happy to know that they really weren’t really stupid, and I had the satisfaction of knowing that I was truly having a positive effect on children’s lives.

    But Chief Academic Officer ******* would rather see these nine children fail, than do something not specifically prescribed in this one-size-fits-all curriculum. When asked for a meeting, she literally would not give me, the students, or their parents - the time of day.

    So gone, gone, gone….

    I’ve had it! I quit… I would rather leave my secure $70,000.00 job (with benefits) and tutor in Connecticut for free, than be part of a system that is diametrically opposed to everything I believe education should be.




    Sincerely,

    Stephen Round

    Added this YouTube version the next day:
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
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  3. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 11, 2012

    :yeahthat: WOW...just...WOW...this is the kind of letter that I'd draft on my computer but never have the guts to send.

    You've got some serious balls. As satisfying as it must have been to send that, my only suggestion is maybe take it off this site or block out the names since it has so many names and identifying information.

    I'm not trying to lecture you, but I personally would feel uncomfortable posting it here because:

    1. A possible defamation of character lawsuit
    2. Again, there A LOT of identifying information
    3. Should you ever decide to work in education and this comes up, a P (unless they share your believes openly) might be hesitant to hire you.

    Aside from that, MORE POWER TO YOU. I feel exactly the same way, especially about the lack of socializing and to be honest, I'm sure a lot of other teachers and even P's and Superintendents secretly agree with a lot of what you said.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Agreed that you most likely should at least alter or X out the names and addresses. The content is priceless.
     
  5. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Thanks for the suggestion. You're probably right.
    Steve
     
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Gosh, you almost want to put your letter in the newspaper for that area so others will know the truth.
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Yes, I think you should publish this.

    I'd like to here some more details about why you were not allowed to tutor students on your own time. Though that has not happened where I am, I could picture it.

    What was their justification for being so rigid about curriculum fidelity?
     
  8. geegee1981

    geegee1981 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2012

    That took a lot of guts! Congrats! I wish that i could resign from my job :)
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Good luck to you. I agree with many of your points. You'd probably do well tutoring full-time.
     
  10. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Hello Sarge,
    I explained exactly what I would be doing with the students to my principal and I showed her my website. She agreed that I could use my classroom every day immediately after school and that the parents would be invited to attend. She then signed her name to the information/permission slip going home.

    Three parents signed signed up for the sessions, and after they saw an immediate improvement in their children's reading, they were willing to let me videotape the sessions. In the meantime, another 2nd grade teacher heard about what I was doing and referred one of her students. That brought it up to four kids, and they were showing up every day.

    Things were going just fine until, one day, I was told that the Chief Academic Officer wanted to meet with me before school.

    Well, she didn't actually come herself. She sent an "assistant".

    I was told that I had to stop tutoring Immediately because I was using interventions that were not approved by the district.

    And that was that!

    The kids were upset, the parents were upset and I was upset. Since I stopped helping them after school with no real explanation, two of my three students started "acting out" again in class out of pure frustration - and I couldn't blame them.

    I was more frustrated than they were, so it was just a matter of time....
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Sorry for your frustration.

    You clearly were passionate about your PI interventions here on the forums and in practice at your school. Many here have read your psts over the last two years and questioned the practice, felt it wouldn't be considered best practices in their own districts...seems that despite initial support for your practices, the school is now choosing a more conservative route. It's truthfully surprising that they supported you for as long as they did...not many districts would be as 'risk taking'. In any case, I hope you find a way to continue your research and to help your students. Have you thought about private PI tutoring outside of school?
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dec 11, 2012

    I don't see a risk in trying something as simple as turning a book upside down (or whatever it was exactly) when nothing else is working. And when it works? Awesome! I wonder if they just felt threatened by something they didn't understand?
     
  13. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Your letter could have been written by anyone in my district. Point for point, we experience the same nonsense. The district-approved interventions are a joke and are designed for failure. All of our RTi interventions must also be done during school hours in order for them to "count"....??? Count for whom?? When I grow up, I want to get paid a lot of money to sit in a pretty office and write up these crazy ideas then travel around and do PD on my genius rewriting of the wheel with a twist. I'm SOOO tired of all this crap too but I need my paycheck. Ugh! You're lucky you can afford to resign and tutor. Enjoy!
     
  14. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Dec 11, 2012

    I bow down to you and your supreme balls. Seriously publish that in the paper so the entire district/city/state knows exactly what is going on.
     
  15. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Dec 11, 2012

    I hope that you land on your feet in a better work environment. I suggest forwarding your letter to Diane Ravitch (she has posted similar things on her very high-profile blog), local newspapers, etc.

    I won't go out in a blaze of glory like this, but I am also planning an exit route in the next year or two after 14 years of teaching.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Dec 11, 2012

    :thumb:
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 11, 2012

    Agreed...wholeheartedly.

    On an unrelated note: I truly hope the replacement teacher is a strong educator. That's the only part of this story that makes me sad--the fact that the kiddos will be getting a new teacher mid-year. :unsure:
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Hahaha at supreme balls
     
  19. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    LOL well it's TRUE!!
     
  20. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 12, 2012

    Taking your recommendations to get the word out there, I uploaded my resignation letter to YouTube. Even though I submitted it to our local paper, it is unlikely that it will ever get published.

    Don't you know that, according to the local media, Rhode Island teachers are the problem?

    Here's the link...
     
  21. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Dec 13, 2012

    Just watched the video, and my hats are off to you. Good luck in your tutoring endeavor. I am sure you will be very, very busy!
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is amazing! On a side note, it's interesting to put a face and voice to a forum member. I'm so sorry your career had to end on such a sour note.
     
  23. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    I am more interested in knowing how the school took it. Details!!
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Dec 13, 2012

    70k a year? Nice salary but working for morons like you described must have been joyless. Fla has much of the same idiocy in our teacher evaluation garbage going on right now.
     
  25. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Amazing! Reading the letter brought tears to my eyes and listening to you read it made me indignant. I fear for my own future in education because I have the same ideals as you. I'm with HBCaligirl... How did it all go over? Was your letter ever published in the paper? You may try offering it and your story to Education Week Teacher (edweek.org) as well.

    Your situation gives a unique and (for once) vocal point of view of the education system. It's so easy to blame the teachers for the problems in the system but... We all know the problems come from higher up. The education system is like a computer: garbage in, garbage out.

    So much in the world needs to be changed and someone needs to rock the boat. You made the first move, Steve, took the first stand.

    I wonder where it will go from here?
     
  26. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So, I've read all of the replies, and many of your previous posts teacherman, and thought I'd at least throw out this alternative perspective for you to consider. Hopefully you'll remember that I've supported your advocacy and research related to PI because I support trying new things if they aren't going to hurt kids and if you are still not ignoring other best practices.

    It seems that there are two groups of reasons why you left - 1) loss/change of non-academic time such as lunch, recess, and field trips, and 2) lack of support of your use of PI.

    With 1), I hear you and I support your views that we are increasingly structuring the school day that makes it more difficult to find enjoyment, social engagement, and stimulation in the school day. I understand the reasons, and do think we need more academic engaged time for kids who are struggling, but I understand that more academic time means less non-academic time, and I think it's unfortunate there has to be a trade-off. This is certainly one reason for considering an extended school day, or supporting out-of-school time programs - trying to keep arts, field trips, social engagement, play, etc. part of the general curriculum.

    Related to 2), I think you may want to consider the way you've approached PI related to your position in the classroom. I'm assuming you are a teacher as you're making $70,000 and you've mentioned your role in the classroom. First, again I want to express my support of your pursuit of PI generally. However, as a classroom teacher, the level of focus you've had on PI has concerned many folks on this forum, as it often seems that you are exclusively focused on PI, often disparaging other interventions in the process. It may be quite possible that admin simply doesn't support your hyper-focus on PI, and share similar concerns to others on this forum.

    More specifically, I'd be concerned as an administrator if you were exclusively focused on PI as a sole source of tutoring. While it may be possible that PI exists and is causing issues with some children, it's extremely unlikely that PI is occurring more frequently than issues such as phonological awareness, which require a different intervention approach than PI would necessitate.

    I see your involvement with PI as something that would be more appropriate in a research or academic setting, which often has the luxury of a micro-focus on a particular topic or intervention. As a "general practitioner" in the classroom, I think teachers are responsible for a balanced approach, meaning a consideration of the broad spectrum of best practice.

    So, overall I've been and continue to be supportive of you teacherman (or I guess we could use your real name now!). You've clearly demonstrated a passion for working with kids, and an open mind to try new things. However, I do wonder if you are suffering from an administration that is completely rigid and unwilling to consider any new ideas, or whether they simply shared some of the similar concerns expressed on this forum regarding your (sometimes exclusive) use of PI.

    Again, I share these thoughts because I think it might be helpful to you teacherman as you progress in your career and consider how you might be most successful with not only your advocacy of PI, but your overall mission to help struggling kids.
     
  27. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 13, 2012

    Aside from my principal saying how disappointed she was to see me leave, I haven't heard one thing from any of them. In addition to the principal, I handed one written resignation letter to each of the 8 school committee members, one to the superintendent, and one to the CAO.

    I had no problem with my principal. She knows the school is failing and was willing to try anything, too. She also saw the success my tutoring was having and how much the students enjoyed coming - even though it was 5 nights a week and the parents had to make special arrangements to pick them up.

    In this case, her hands were tied, too.
     
  28. Asmartcookie

    Asmartcookie Rookie

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    This is really sad to hear things had to be this way. And it's a shame the people who are running things don't care about if the children actually learn or not. We weren't built to be test taking machines and that's what they're trying to turn these children into, and what's even worse is when their ridiculous curriculum doesn't work it's ALWAYS the teachers fault. I'm so sick of that.
    Things really need to change, drastically.
     
  29. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Evidently, the sh-- has hit the fan. I was just interviewed by NBC news - Rhode Island channel 10 - which will be aired on the 11:00 PM news tonight. I also have an invitation to be on a talk-radio show this Saturday morning.

    Wish me luck...
    Steve

    Thanks for being so supportive so far... I'll probably need a lot more of it.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    An interview about your resignation?
     
  31. charlottesome

    charlottesome Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2012

    Try to send us a link of the news story if it's on their website.
    Good luck. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything!
     
  32. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 14, 2012

    This is our chance (teachers) to tell the public what has been going on in the field of education. Whether you agree with PI or not, get onto YouTube and comment.

    So far the responses are 100% positive. Let's tell the public what is really going on behind our closed doors.....

    Steve
     
  33. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Dec 14, 2012

    I'm sorry it came to this point for you, but I agree with your points. What a great letter! Best wishes to you!
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  35. melnm

    melnm Companion

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Thank you for taking a stand. I am sharing your letter on my fb page. I also joined an advocacy group in my state to come up with an alternative to all this testing. Texas is ridiculous!
     
  36. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    When I saw it, I think I was the 19th person (I gave the first :thumb: on it). There are now over 6000 views. You've gone viral, good sir. You're brave to put your face and name with your words, braver than I would be in your position.
     
  38. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Dec 14, 2012

    This is all very amazing!!
     
  39. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Have you ever watched the Steve Wilkos show and the audience chants his name when he lays into someone? I am doing that right now for you. Give 'em hell!!
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    And that's a problem in some cases. A major problem.
     
  41. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Loved the video! I've heard from other teachers who teach their students to read upside down and they can finally read when they can read it that way. It's amazing!!

    Your school (ex-school) should be very ashamed that the strategies that you documented had to be stopped. I'm thankful my private school encourages (and appreciates) that I come early, work over recess, or stay later to review with students.

    Please find a way to keep helping students- we need awesome teachers like you in the business of learning :)
     
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