Where Are We Going...
Reflecting on what an educator (formally known as a teacher) has to provide to a child in the 21st century almost makes the concept of schooling, or education, unrecognizable to the general public. In less than one generation, the requirements thrust upon our adults working with students in schools have changed so dramatically, that it is possible that in another generation there will be a true concern about how to keep schools open. A few years ago (pre-COVID), I wrote about potential teacher shortages in another generation, however, that concern has been fast-forwarded due to COVID. Currently, in New York State, there is already a shortage of teaching assistants, teacher aides, clerical staff, bus drivers, monitors, custodians, food service workers, special education teachers, speech teachers, psychologists, social workers, foreign language teachers, science teachers, technology teachers, library media specialists, administrators, superintendents and more. It's hard to determine the cause of shortages (which could be a combination of many factors), but the pool of candidates for our profession continues to dry up. Fewer and fewer people want to do these jobs and it has to be a concern for our students. Several decades ago, students came to school each day not always eager to learn but understanding the purpose of attending school. Many schools did not even serve food and in many cases, school would dismiss for everyone to go home and eat lunch. School counselors had the primary responsibility of guiding students through high school and to help them determine a post secondary path in life. If a family, or child, wanted to stop attending school at some point in their education, they were not shunned by society as an incapable contributor to society. Fast forward to today, college attendance is expected, schools are littered with services for students and families, schools serve two meals a day, students (or families) who do not desire to have a complete high school education are required to stay in school (often causing behavior concerns for others that want to be there), facilities are on constant lockdown, and governmental oversight of schools has made the list of regulations that must be adhered to so large that a whole profession has been born (educational law attorneys). Having conversations with people that are not in education and trying to explain all of the requirements of schools and educators today is a challenge. Most of the requirements don't make sense. Ironically, as you can notice by reading, the concepts of curriculum, instruction, and learning are some of the last things that schools are able to focus on in today's iteration of education. In the past, many people attempt to create conflict between parents and schools claiming that parents are doing less at home so more responsibilities fall on the schools/teachers. I would say this accusation is not accurate. In fact, I think that parents and schools are working together more than ever to try to solve the riddle of increased demands placed on kids and schools in today's society. There are increased pressures and stresses on students that cause a greater need for counseling support in schools. Access to food and basic resources has dwindled in the past couple of decades for many children. And, the general school day has shortened in time over the years to the point where it is virtually impossible to fit all of the academic requirements into a school day that teachers are required to attempt to teach, let alone address the social/emotional growth elements that they know kids need. For the sake of our educators, I hope that we can all continue to work together to provide solutions and relief that allow them to do what they have been trained to do... TEACH. We need to stop having people ask the question, where are we going? At this point, regulations and expectations are changing so rapidly from above, not only can those in the profession barely keep up, those families who don't worry about school until they need to will have no chance at comprehending the labyrinth known as public education in 2023.
Woven Together in History
On Tuesday, February 14, Strough Middle School is hosting an event in recognition of Black History Month entitled Woven Together in History. The students and staff have worked together to create a museum of American history. The event is open to the public from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the gym at Strough.
Just a reminder that winter recess will be held next week, February 20 through February 24. All schools will be closed for learning during the week and student attendance will resume on Monday, February 27.