January 30, 2011

Dear Mr. Principal,

Mr. Principal.  Please, for the love of god, give us a break.

No, I'm serious.  Here's the thing.  We're all doing the best we can.  And while I know that you do know this in theory, it certainly doesn't feel like it these days.  Your list of demands and "requests" (aka demands coated in a frosting of "please," "thank you," "would you mind...," and "why don't you try...") needs to stop growing, or we are going to lost it.

Yes, I am preparing for the ISAT tests.  I am sucking the life out of my students and myself with every test prep packet, but I am following your directions.  I'm doing what you ask.  And while it's true that there will be no surprises on test day for my kids, there will also likely be no energy left.  And it still won't go back in time and force my kids' parents to read to them when they were little.  It still won't help my undiagnosed ADD kids with uncooperative parents keep their brains on topic through a 2 hour test.  It still won't help my emotionally distressed students with difficult home lives focus on something so meaningless.  But I promise, I'm doing my best.

Yes, I will have my kids ready for conferences.  It didn't help that you and others in the building decided that conferences day would be a great day to hold a school-wide reading event that involved every teacher preparing published pieces of their students' writing.  It wasn't fun staying late at school to laminate book covers and bind books.  And while the finished products are amazing, it was a lot of stress during a trying time.  Don't worry, I will still make time to rehearse with the students so they are ready to "lead" conferences as you've requested.  Don't worry, I will gather my "data" and be prepared to share it.  Don't worry.  It will all get done.  But know that I will need to take class time to get the students ready for conferences.  And that means less time for test prep.  And literacy.  And writing.  And everything else you'd like me to squeeze in the day.

Yes, I will have my report cards ready to go in a few weeks.  I know it's not you that chooses to make report cards due right before testing and right after conferences.  I understand that sometimes you are as powerless as I am.  But please listen when I say that I already know comments have to be specific and detailed; there is no need to remind us of that these coming weeks.

Yes, I am filling out RTI.  And even though I am wondering why the special services teachers are not helping me more with this, or why I am always the one setting up the meetings on these kids and not the specialists that see them daily for the interventions these meetings evaluate, but I smile and bite my lip and do it anyways because I care about the kids too much to wait for someone else to pick up the ball.  Oh and also, THANK YOU for asking me if I'm planning on meeting to finish the RTI form for my student who MOVED to a different school in district.  Sure.  Why not.  I'll take time to continue meeting about him even though he is no longer my student.  Add it to the list.

Oh, and Mr. Principal, THANK YOU for adding to all of the stress that you've already created by deciding to email the non-tenured teachers today to just let us know that you will be popping in for an unannounced observation in the next few weeks.  Of course, I would be happy to submit detailed lesson plans in every subject to you so you are able to choose a time to observe...Of course, I will be flexible and make sure every subject is stellar so that, since you have decided not to tell us the subject you are observing in advance, I feel confident in every area "just in case."  And after the observation, I will be happy to smile and nod as we discuss the 100 other "suggestions" of things I could be making time for in my day.  When in reality, we barely have time to teach period with all of the other hoops we are all jumping through.

Mr. Principal, I know you support me.  I know you care about me.  But please, please, please give us all a break.  Acknowledge that we are doing our best.  And please don't ask us for anything else right now.  Have mercy.

Miss Teacher


  1. I FEEL YOUR PAIN!! And btw, I'm one of those specialists (special ed teacher) doing interventions and I promise I do my own RTI and I work very closely with my co-teachers to help them with theirs. I hope you find more support this coming school year, don't give up, those kids need more teachers like you!


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