How has "No Child Left Behind" affected you?

Discussion in 'No Child Left Behind' started by njteacher, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. njteacher

    njteacher Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2005

    I'm sure this question has already been asked, but I'm new. After taking time off to be a SAHM, I will be returning to education as a sub this Fall. Obviously there have been many changes in education over the last few years. Elementary school teachers, could you please share your thoughts on how this law has affected you, your classroom, and your school? I read somewhere that 40-60% of college graduates entering teaching leave the profession within a few years because they are frustrated by all the demands. It's sad, because I know a special ed teacher who feels that she can't be as creative as she'd like to be because of all that's been imposed on her. Time just doesn't allow it. I would like to know what I'm in for, should I decide to go for a teaching position. I commend you all for what you have to tolerate.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 13, 2005

    I'm not sure all 'the demands' placed on us are a result of NCLB alone. There has been a big 'pushing down' of the curriculum for years--started before NCLB. What used to be first grade curriculum is now in K and continue that thought on up the line!! There is also MORE curriculum to cover- drug ed, character ed, *** ed/family living at earlier grade levels. We also are faced with a dynamically changing school population- changes in family structure, school readiness (or not readiness) skills, higher ESL population, more kids being classified SPED (lots of theories on that one...) All of these factors have nothing to do with NCLB, but under NCLB all these kids need to be performing at higher standards quicker...
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 13, 2005

    I choose to teach in private school because I don't want to deal with the NCLB and other stipulations of public school - which I don't feel serve the children. The curriculums these days are a mile wide and an inch deep and don't allow a child to develop understanding. At least where I teach, however, I am free to adapt, modify, and deliver instruction which is appropriate. I don't have to worry about meeting politicians' demands or waste important time spent documenting nonsense when it could be better spent truly reaching every child.
     
  5. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Mar 13, 2005

    I teach in private school so NCLB does not affect me..but I am looking to move to public, (need the money) and would like to know a bit more abt NCLB
     
  6. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Mar 14, 2005

    I agree that the problems with "demands" are not due to NCLB... NCLB was the answer to everyone demanding something be done--pushing down curriculum, expanding curriculum, etc. I worked at 2 completely different schools. One was very child-centered, and everything we did was done because it was best for the kids. Before NCLB, our state had stipulations to get kids on "grade level" by 3rd grade or there would be a mandatory retention. So, we implemented lots of great research based reading instruction, and the kids excelled. The expectations were a lot higher than they'd ever been, and there was more pressure, but we tried to implement things in a way that were good for kids and all was well. For NCLB, I believe we had to be using programs that were "research based," so we kept doing a lot of the same things we were already doing, but to document every teacher was given a phonics program/manual that was "research-based" so teachers could use and reference as needed. (I'm not sure all of about the details on that one.)

    The other school I worked at was pre-NCLB, and it was the type of school that already put undue pressure on the administrators, teachers, and students to perform and do all kinds of paperwork. They gave us materials that we "had" to use, and these materials were horrible -- In fact, the first grade reading series had the kids doing things first semester my kindergartners were doing in Jan or Feb. But the higher ups thought that it was a good reading series and we all needed to follow the same program that they chose. The whole environment was not good for anyone as everyone felt contantly stressed out. I also had to turn in my detailed lesson plans each week, and when the principal did observations she noted if you weren't following the lesson plan. (I don't know about you all, but plans I make at the beginning of the week have changed by Wednesday or sooner since I change things to fit the kids needs as we go...)

    All in all, I believe it all depends where you teach. Granted, the higher expectations being placed on schools by outsiders will have an effect, but it depends on how the school handles it. If the administrators know how to meet the requirements and still allow teachers to teach, it works... Sometimes as a teacher, you also have to take some things with a grain of salt and do what you know is best. (For example, I wasn't going to follow a reading series by the letter if it was teaching kids things they should have learned 1/2 year earlier... I adapted.)
     
  7. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Mar 14, 2005

    P.S. It is true that a lot of people leave the teaching field within the first 5 years... I heard those statistics 10 years ago when I was going through college, so again, not NCLB-related, but part of the trend toward higher expectations and "accountability." If you read through these forums, you'll also find a lot of new teachers who are ready to have a nervous breakdown due to all the behavior problems, issues with parents, and amount of time required to plan lessons/grade/etc.
     
  8. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Mar 14, 2005

    I left, but it was after 26 years. I felt like my day was so filled with pushing kids up, holding kids down, dealing with unreasonable parents and, quite frankly, STUPID administrators, paperwork, inclusion, and a total void of individualized creativity that it wasn't fulfilling or fun or even educationally ethical any more.

    I could not deal with the dumbing down, to be perfectly honest. It might be disguised as 'something else, but let's face it. When the skills are required at a younger age every year, a lot of little kids are going to be left behind, and yet they will be promoted instead of retained. (I do NOT believe in social promotion!!!) Still in third grade at age 19? Fine with me. As a population, people are dumber every year. "Time" and "Newsweek" are written at a FIFTH GRADE LEVEL, for crying out loud. They had to resort to that, to keep financially afloat because more and more people couldn't understand it if it were written at an adult level.

    I'm not sure, actually, if it's that so much of our population isn't very smart any more, or that the population is just so big that the stats are different. Either way, I couldn't handle it any more.

    My new Literature textbooks, two years ago, were ABRIDGED!!! What does that tell ya?

    Simplistic versions are one thing down in first or second grade, but after that it is inexcusable to water down a piece of writing just because some people can't handle it. My middle school kids used to tell me that one of the "funnest" things about reading was not understanding completely until maybe years later, and learning awesome new words that had to be looked up, all on their own! I feel the same way myself.

    Eh. It was time for me to leave, wasn't it. Good luck to all of you who can put up with bureaucracy, nit-picking, clueless parents, and rules that make no sense.

    But you know what. . . . mean as many of you think I was, I am still in touch with hundreds of my former students. Some are in their thirties now, some are still in high school. All of them thought my class was awesome. Some of those FAILED my class, and they still thought so. Go figure. All of them have thanked me over and over for not treating them as if they were stupid, and for requiring them to go UP, instead of DOWN.

    My rememdial college students have said the same. They simply were not expected to do much in school, so they didn't.
     
  9. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Mar 20, 2005

    Did anyone read the Feb. 21st issue of TIME magazine? The cover story was called "What Teachers Hate about Parents" and it said one of the main reasons that such a high percentage of teachers leave the profession is because of badly behaved parents. The article said that what teachers love most about their profession is working with the kids (isn't that why most of us chose this profession?), but the most frustrating and demanding part is putting up with unreasonable parents. I tend to agree. More and more, I'm seeing parents who are pushy, demanding, and downright nasty. I keep wondering what makes parents think they can verbally attack their children's teachers whenever they feel like it? Whatever happened to working together as a team with the child's best interests in mind?? :confused:
     
  10. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Mar 20, 2005

    That very article is being discussed in this thread if anyone wants to see the article and/or comment:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=8834
     
  11. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Guest

    Mar 21, 2005

    I wanted to major in Elementary Education towards the tail end of my Bachelor's degree so I worked at a KinderCare teaching Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders. I quit after a month of frustration.

    To be honest, I felt 30 kids to one teacher was way too many and then when you added 2 ADD and 2 ADHD kids ontop of all that it was simply more than I could handle and this is what turned me off to teaching anything below the college/university level later on in life. While I enjoy subbing 5th thru 8th grades, I can't see myself teaching those grades 5 days a week for 274 days a year. It seems like K thru 12th grade teachers are mote than just teacher's in today's society, which is why I say hats off to all of them for dealing with everything they've got to deal with 5 days a week, 274 days a year.
     
  12. TBos

    TBos Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2005

    How has NCLB affected me?

    In every way mentioned above already, and then some. In first grade, I never used to give "tests" - everything was hands-on, active learning-based and teacher observation-recorded. Now I give multiple-page multiple choice tests every week which has students "sitting" more and me grading an extra 2 hours a week along with timed fluency and other reading tests every quarter which calls for analyzing reports and data at more and more meetings. And truly, I am not "assessing" any differently - all the tests verify what you already "observe" but an extra 10 hours has somehow been added to your week with paperwork and meetings.

    And the thing you love the most, working with the kids, seems to be the least of the time you spend. Too much time teaching parents how to do their jobs, but if you do a good job with the kids, they can help you with that. Also, we general education teachers are now special education teachers, whether we like it or not. The special ed kids are all in the regular classroom full time now with the same number of students and more meeting and collaboration time needed with the special ed teacher and aides. There is also a great deal more parent communication time spent with special-needs students which further drains your time. I love all of my students but eventually, you have to forego some things because they are too difficult to manage with autistic or other learning-challenged children in the classroom without assistance.

    The challenge I make for myself, with these scripted year-round publisher programs we are cramming into 9 months is...coming up with something FUN to do each day. (It certainly is not suggested in the teacher's editions and pacing guides.) Unfortunately, if I make 20 or 30 minutes to do a fun "project" or "movement-oriented" activity or partner game (which I think are so important at this age), that just makes us behind and stresses us the next day when I have to cram something in I skipped to make time for some "fun." Isn't this sounding more and more ridiculous? I keep thinking that each year will get better but guess what? The ridiculous becomes the absurd as the new ridiculous emerges. I could go on all day about this. Thanks for listening! It feels good to vent to people who understand! I would love to hear how teachers are "coping" with it all. I want something to LOOK FORWARD TO besides watching my kids grow up through the grades. That sometimes seems like all I have left.
     
  13. Grade 1 Teacher

    Grade 1 Teacher Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2005

    Nclb

    I agree that the affects of NCLB depend upon your district's administrator.

    We have a new superintendent this year, and it's made an incredible difference. Teaching is fun again. When he walks into your room he talks with the children. He wants to see them up working at centers, on the computers, etc. We love coming to work again. We are treated like human beings again....at the DISTRICT level.
    At the BUILDING level, we are ruled over by a numbers robot who talks test scores, test scores, test scores all year long. When he walks into your room he wants to see the children quietly working at their desk on a sheet of paper. He wants the room quiet. He's a former superintendent from a neighboring town who retired and was "rehired" for my building, to punish us for something we all did as a staff, that our former superintendent took as a personal slight. He is a throwback of our former superintendent's dictatorial rule. He has one more year left, so hopefully we'll get someone more people -centered. We've had five really weak years of leadership.

    With Praxis looming over a new teacher's head I can see why they leave our profession so soon after joining. When I received my teaching certificate it came with, "Welcome to the profession. We believe in you. We welcome you." Now, with Praxis, the teaching degree comes with, "We're going to watch you." The stress our newest teachers feel is heavy. And it's constant. State evaluators come to observe them, not knowing the population in that classroom and watch for an hour and form their opinion of that new teacher based upon that observation. And our new teachers say the observer is NOT asking the questions they need to ask, to find out about the learners in those classes.

    Perhaps we should form NTPLB (No Tax Payer Left Behind) and tell our politicians how to do their job. :D
     

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