I am still getting a lot of response to my piece on the overwhelming amounts of paperwork and documentation now required of teachers. The demands have grown so much that teachers have little time left for teaching.
The piece also ran in the print edition of the AJC, so a lot of my responses are coming via e-mails. What I find most distressing are the notes from teachers about how the required paperwork often goes in a file unread by anyone. They told me about long reports are never discussed and detailed lesson plans are never reviewed.
This is idiotic. If it doesn’t matter, then stop requiring teachers to do it.
I have a higher-than-average abhorrence of busy work in my own job, and think it would be untenable in the teaching profession, which is now teetering under massive accountability measures. There is no time for paper charades.
May I suggest that PAGE, GAE and MACE consider asking their members for examples of mindless paperwork and consider a joint presentation to the state Board of Education? I don’t think anyone can fix this except teachers themselves.
I thought I would share this response, which came to me via e-mail:
I really enjoyed your column about teachers and paperwork. In my last two years of my public school career (I spent 30 years teaching math) often times I’d be late with paperwork, so I’d drop it off at the administrator’s office. On one occasion I handed it to the administrator and they had a check off sheet on the front of an enormous folder. She checked my name and said, “thank you.” I said, “aren’t you going to even look at it.” She said, “No, but now its on record in case someone from the county comes in to check on us.”
I felt pretty beaten down after 30 years, but I was fairy young and still loved the math. I’ve taken a job at an extremely nice private school teaching high school math and am in my fourth year here.
After my first two weeks on the job, I saw the principal in the lounge and sheepishly asked, “You know I must be missing something because you guys haven’t asked for a single list and its the beginning of the year. Have I been missing something?” He replied, “No there is nothing you need to do. I hear you’re doing a great job teaching math to the kids though.” Wow, I was blown away. It is a testament to how beaten down I was and how bad the public schools had gotten.