We are in one of the area’s of the country hit the hardest by the economic down turn and things are recovering very slowly if at all yet. Things seem to be more difficult at work, less money, more expectations, more kids, more testing etc. Most teachers at my school seem more harried, less happy in their work environment, more tired, there are fewer smiles, etc. We are facing the 4th year of extensive cuts in education and there isn’t much else to cut. The district is putting together its budget for next year and staffing projections come out soon. Everyone is worried about that. Rumors fly thick and fast, and that has everyone on their toes. One of the rumors is that all full day kinder programs will be cut to half day. This would eliminate half the kinder teachers in the full day programs. It would also nearly double our work load. My first 4 years teaching kindergarten (some 20 years ago) was half day and it burned me out. That was before they pushed down all of the reading and math into kindergarten. Before all the testing and assessments. The at-risk kids I work with will not benefit nearly as well from a half day program. At the very least we can expect larger class sizes and less supplies, and if they can get the union to re-negotiate, cuts in pay and benefits. For the last 4 years they have expected us to do more with less, and now no matter where the cuts come, it will get worse. All of this and still do better with NCLB (No Child Left Behind).
This year kids seem lower, and to be struggling more. I feel frustrated that I don’t seem to be making much of a difference with some of them. If you are in education, have you ever noticed how some years are so different from the others? All across the grade level all the teachers are saying the same thing about this year’s crop. Was it sun spots or something when their moms were pregnant? I was looking at my blog and noticed that I have posted less lately and that’s just one of the symptoms as well. I seem to have less time and less energy. If nothing else, I usually find more humor in the day-to-day goings on in my class. It’s like the kids aren’t even as funny as usual.