I moved here from New York bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to enter the public school world of teaching. Although naive, I approached all situations with a positive spirit. A spirit that over my six years in Baltimore City Public Schools has been beaten down and broken to the point of exhaustion.
I have been told to take the time to build relationships while leadership pushes pacing and test scores, valuing numbers and data over our students, their needs and who they are. The system tells me to make “no excuses” while providing me with little to no classroom supplies, inadequate access to technology, poor working conditions and an absolute irresponsible disregard and lack of acknowledgement for the harsh environments and circumstances our children often experience and that impact their learning each day.
When basic needs are not met, authentic learning cannot occur (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). My pay rate and “raises” are tied directly to my observations and student test scores, as well as student attendance data, while a continually increasing class size, decreasing staff, and the creation of an unrealistic workload leaves teachers worn down, overwhelmed, overworked and feeling completely helpless.
North Avenue preaches “wholeness” of students and staff while demonstrating a complete disregard for their well-being and an extreme disconnect to the challenging reality and hostile work environments many teachers and students face each day upon entering what should be a safe place. The school board passes new proposals that directly impact teachers and teacher salary while creating a more hostile work environment for many in the process and completely disregarding anything the Baltimore Teachers Union pleaded, and provided evidence for, once again demonstrating their complete lack of authentic and genuine concern for staff and student wholeness.
If the system’s top leaders expect our students to do better and expect our teachers to do better while posting “#NoExcuses” all over social media, then they must do better. We must do better, for our students, for our staff, for the city of Baltimore, and for our future.
Kimberly Cronin, Baltimore
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