When I began my teaching career in the Fall of 2009 I was told by friends and family alike that I was entering a profession with safety, security, and many rewards. Little did I know that within two years a lot of that would crumble and news stories would become widespread blaming teachers for the inadequacies of the US school system. At the same time the press seems gung-ho to laud increases in test scores that to many professional educators and researchers do not really tell much about a student's learning but correlate fairly well to their socio-economic status.
Over the past few months in Philadelphia we have had a tumultuous debate surrounding our Superintendent and her policies towards pedagogy and schooling, ending with her withdrawal from her position yesterday. While she was quite a divisive personality in her position, she still did improve some things about the School District of Philadelphia. That being said, one of the main aspects she is praised for is an increase in test scores - again, focusing on something too quantifiable and not very reliable.
I am about to begin my third year teaching at my third school and I believe I am getting better at what I do despite the uncertainty of this profession and how changes in the upper echelons of administration can affect my students and me. I have more confidence in my ability to connect with students earlier in the year; I find planning my lessons to flow more smoothly in my mind; I know where to find resources I need to help my students learn; and I now have a large network of people who can support me in times of need.