I live in Payson, am a retired seventh grade English/Spanish teacher who actually chose the seventh grade after teaching seventh through 12th grades. I know, people are amazed that I would even consider this age group, but I loved the experience in three school districts in two other states. I was a professional, and was treated as such. I was a builder of future leaders: I taught kindness, respect patience, responsibility, and hopefully, a love of learning.
All contracts in my three school districts were signed (at the latest) one month before the start of the next school year, so we educators could plan our year. The school boards valued the educators, the principals supported their teachers, and the teachers did their best in teaching students that achieving academic goals was a top priority.
I am very concerned about our school district’s policies of playing “musical chairs” with the teachers and principals. It amazes me how these educators are moved around to different classes and/or schools each year. I was appalled when I learned that at least one teacher in the Payson School District was notified the weekend before school started that her assignment had been changed to not only a different topic but a different school! This would never be tolerated in a business setting.
It is a shame how teachers here do not even know if they will have a job each year. How can they plan, find new techniques and ideas to improve their teaching when they fear they might not have a job the next year? Where is the incentive to improve?
My method of teaching may seem impossible to some, but only with the backing of administration and parents, we teachers were expected to be successful and students learned to be responsible for their success.
The first week of each class year, I would explain to the students that I considered my classroom my home during the day, that when the students entered it, they were to act accordingly. For example, there would be no swearing, no saying “shut up,” no belittling others, that showing respect for each other was paramount in the teaching/learning process. In my mind, every student was equal. I did not care if he/she lived in a mansion or a tent. I would show my blank grade book and tell them they were responsible for the grade I recorded. Bullying was not tolerated. The students could safely tell me if they were being bullied and I would act on this immediately. By the end of the first week, my students knew what I expected and they felt comfortable and safe in my classroom. Then, I was able to introduce fun activities/projects to help them learn the academics.
Will someone please explain to me why the Payson School Board feels a need to play this “musical chairs” game with our teachers and principals instead of finding a more stable answer?
Don’t even get me started on why we lost an inspiring wrestling coach.
The bottom line should not be about money, but about our children and their desire to achieve. If we want them to excel in school and in the world, there must be an increase in educational stability and responsibility from the superintendent, school board, principals and teachers.
Kay A. Houghton