I’m tired of battling.
I’m tired of defending my profession.
I’m tired of the arguments and heated discussions about how education should be fixed.
I’m tired of feeling like Sisyphus, rolling my boulder up the hill, only to watch it roll back down behind me again.
I’m tired of pretending.
I’m tired of turning a blind eye to the damage being done to young minds who think that learning is getting the right answer, or being basic, proficient or advanced.
I’m tired of seeing the pained look on my colleagues’ faces as they dread another day of preparing for the test, of ‘moving kids,’ and of focusing all of their energy on numbers and data rather than on human beings.
I’m tired of pretending that I’m not complicit in perpetuating the damage. Pretending that I am not part of the problem on those days when I play along and consciously do things that I know aren’t right for kids.
Pretending that I don’t see that many of my students are the square peg being forced into a round hole that they’ll never ‘fit’ into, that many sit quietly and ‘play school’ without ever being given the chance to explore their own talents and interests or discover their passions.
Yet I dream.
I dream that educators will one day be respected for the years and years of experience and training that they apply to their craft.
I dream of collaboration and cooperation among teachers, students, administrators, parents, and community members in finding solutions and celebrating successes.
I dream of teamwork so powerful that it pushes that boulder up the hill and over the top as we watch it roll down the other side.
I dream of students who think that learning is gaining knowledge and experiences, applying knowledge and also experiencing failure.
I dream of colleagues who can’t wait to step inside their classrooms each day. Classrooms in which teaching is making content accessible and relevant, where subjects dissolve into meaningful learning experiences that build at their own pace based on student needs. Classrooms where students create to show what they know and understand and where they can develop their passions and explore their own interests.
Without this dream, I might succumb to the battles and I might stop pretending and start to play along.
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
— Langston Hughes