It happened to me! During the afternoon, I teach in a juvenile corrections classroom. I chose this job over a full-time college teaching job because I felt that here I could make a true difference to kids in tough situations.
For many years, I did! Using a cross-curricular approach and an arts-based pedagogy, my incarcerated students and I had a super experience together, and I can say that in many cases, it made a difference in their lives. Many of them still come up to me and tell me they’re still drawing or still practicing playing their recorder, thanks to our work together.
Then came a new administrator who did not like it, Sam I Am. She only wanted students to do homework from the schools, six hours a day. She had to keep reminding me :). The came the mandate from the state that there would be no more teaching in the classrooms.
Instead, we were to make students do their assigned homework from their schools six hours a day, as before, and if they had no work or finished their work, they were to do worksheets and tests from textbooks, all set up by the state.
She actually said, “Teachers, there will be no more teaching!”
What was I to do then? I was to sit behind the desk and get up and walk around and make sure everyone was doing their assignments, by gosh! And they were to be punished if not. And if they needed more worksheets run off, then oh joy, I was to go to the copy machine and run off more work for them.
“May I use fifteen or twenty minutes for an arts break?” I asked the administrator. She hotly and firmly told me no.
Well, I did anyway. I just called it an extension of the break we already had in place, mid-afternoon.
Some educators see the increasing emphasis on standardized testing in the same way. They correctly infer that if we teachers are going to be evaluated, receive merit pay, and eventually, if the logic here holds, even keep our jobs based on our student scores, then our dynamic classroom teaching will indeed go by the board.
“No more teaching!”