I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind over the course of the last few days with all that is going on not only in Kentucky but nationally in regards to education. The question that keeps going through my mind however is about what more I can do. I have often used this blog to help work through my thoughts and feelings and this time is no different although it will probably get me in trouble yet again.
In Kentucky Charter schools continue to be a hot topic and until yesterday were being funded in our state budget. Our Governor, Matt Bevin, seems determined to bring them to our state and it seems that during his veto period this week there is a good chance the funding for them will return. My own representatives voted to bring Charter schools to Kentucky as well. My question it this, what more do I have to do to make you want your children in my class?
I work at least two hours each day at school in addition to my contractual hours. That doesn’t count the two to three hours I also spend at home working after my own children go to bed finding resources, creating stations, or making games to keep kids engaged and learning daily.
I spend hundreds of dollars of my own money buying the supplies and resources needed to keep my class current and fun for the 120 kids that sit in room 406 each day. I endure the crazy looks at the grocery store when I buy a cart full of crunchy and puffy Cheetos so we can learn about surface area. I see people weirdly staring as I buy the store out of goldfish and food coloring so that my students can have first hand experience with populations and sampling. I carefully mix salt water concoctions so that my students never forget the concept of ratios and proportions.
I got a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture education and then went back to become certified in math so I could make and even bigger difference. Then, I finished a Masters in Teacher Leadership and am now looking for a doctoral program all so I can continually improve myself as both a teacher and a leader.
I double or triple my district required 24 hours of professional development yearly at my own expense and on my own my own time so that I can continue to refine my craft and improve myself for my students.
I donate more than 100 hours of free professional development to districts each year. I offer my time, resources, and lessons free to the teachers in these districts so that I can improve math education for students across the state of Kentucky not just in my own classroom.
I push myself every day to be better, do better, and teach better so that my students continue to learn and grow. I teach everything from advanced students to struggling learners and nearly all seem to find success within the walls of my classroom. I never quit trying to ensure they all succeed and never stop growing.
I have held kids hands as they said goodbye to parents that passed away and cried with them as they mourned the loss of classmates. I have sent them home with food from my own kitchen so that they wouldn’t be hungry over the holidays and had pizzas paid for and delivered to their homes when I was afraid the food had run out.
Yet, none of that seems to be enough for some of my policy makers. They look at all my colleagues and I do and claim it isn’t good enough and that there is still need a for Charter schools in Kentucky. They had the intent to cut public school funding while funding charter schools until my colleagues and I finally held the line in Frankfort and called for change. However, I go to bed tonight knowing that all I do it still not good enough for our Governor and at anytime now our funding can be cut by him and funding for Charter schools reimplemented during his line item vetoes.
I want all of my legislators and our Governor that are continuing to push for Charter schools to answer one question for me tonight. What more can I do for you to want Kentucky’s students in my classroom? What more will it take for you to see the value in the work I do? How can I make you see all the good I do? I was humbled to be recognized recently on a National level as a Milken Educator and yet my own legislator can’t see that value in me. What more can I do?