When you have someone who has made a significant impact on your teaching and school, it is difficult when they have to move on. Our school has experienced that recently and it just does not seem to make sense to let go of someone with impressive credentials, knowledge, skill, along with the passion to make a difference in the lives of children and teachers. She had a strong bond with our students, families, and faculty. She was our shining light at a struggling school in gloomy times and she was let go, all due to budget cuts.
There has been a shift in education; it has been about quantity and not quality. Veteran teachers (as well as administrators and other faculty members in education) are being replaced with newer staff members due to budget cuts and setbacks (they can fill more classrooms with newer teachers and spend less money from their budget). This trend is happening all over our nation and it will come back to bite us (we are starting to see it already). We wonder why test scores are dropping and why teachers are not staying in the teaching profession. Budgets are being slashed and it is becoming more difficult to keep teachers in this profession without substantial support, relationship building, or connection.
Education is it's own type of animal. It is quite different than Corporate America. We make special connections to the students, families, and staff that we see every day. I am not saying that people in Corporate America cannot have those connections, what I am saying is that business people are running education like a business. What has become most important are statistics, testing data, numbers, and money. We hear it from the top up, "your test scores are not where they need to be," "your teaching and assessments are not rigorous enough," "your students are below grade level," "what are you going to do about your data?" Let us remember, we are teaching CHILDREN, not test scores. I am not saying that test scores are not useful, as I use this data to drive my instruction, build my small groups, and formulate my teaching plan. I believe that the relationship I build with my students is what they carry on through the rest of their lives. It is time to start sharing our voice.
As life at school goes on, we need to take the time to help our students understand that saying goodbye is part of life. As old doors close behind us, we have to remember that new doors will be open around the corner that may give us a different perspective and quite possibly a new opportunity! Only then we can say, "ahhh, now I see why this happened." I only hope that our school has a new door around the corner and when we open it, we can all see a shining light to brighten our school spirit.
Good luck to our shining light, we will miss you.