Still waiting for DOE to respond to this note a high school English teacher sent me last week:
I was just given a copy of the GaDOE’s Curriculum Maps for ELA 9-12th grades. I need some help from you before I quit my job and lead the charge for every other high school English teacher to do the same. I have taught for many years, am am good at my job, am an asset to the school at which I teach, and love teaching.
I have rolled with the punches of increased class size, decreased paycheck size and all the other gripe-worthy problems in education. I am not a whiner, a crier (literally or figuratively) or a complainer, but after today, having seen a document that reduced me to tears, I am inspired to leave teaching in the state of Georgia.
Today I saw the CCGPS Curriculum Map. I have provided the link for the 9th Grade ELA CCGPS Map for you.
If I am reading this document correctly, I have four nine- week sections. Fair enough. In each nine-week section I have to tackle one major piece of literature and seven small pieces of literature, easily done, and honestly probably a low number.
Here is the rub. It suggests that my students are to write 4-6 analyses and 1-2 narratives every nine weeks. Let’s do some math. On the low end, I am looking at grading 20 and at the high end 32 process writings a year.
Here is a little Math for you and a little fact about the population I serve. First the fact: If Johnny writes it, his parents will want meaningful feedback written on it or on a rubric and will complain if they don’t get it.
Now for the Math: 20 x 35 (my class sizes this year) = 700 papers per year. 700 x 5 (the number of classes I will teach) =3500. Each paper takes me a minimum of 10 minutes to grade. I will spend 35,000 minute or 583.33 hours or 24.3 days or 72.872 8 hour work days a year grading only students’ written assignments. THIS IS THE LOW END!!!
I would do the Math for 32 papers, but I may have to jump out the window if I do. Also, I get a grand total of 9,900 minutes or 165 hours of planning time. During those times I plan and do everything else teachers are asked to do—I am going to spare you the list that I know you have seen too many times.
I send you this e-mail not in an effort to gripe to you about my woes, but to ask you to help me get to the bottom of this ridiculousness. I get that the more kids write the better writers they become. My kids write often, but not 20-32 full process papers a year. Please help me and every English teacher in the state by getting some clarification on this matter.
The DOE has passed the information to the county curriculum coordinators, and they are going to treat this document as final CCGPS ELA edict from on high. I guess what I am asking you to do is investigate the DOE’s intentions with its ELA curriculum mapping before I grab my pitchfork and torch and storm their great fortress (or at the very least get arrested for indecent exposure)!!!
P.S Ok, so I did the high end math without jumping out of a window: 32 papers a year requires, 933 hours or 116 (8 hour) work days of pro bono grading. What can I say; hyperbole makes me happy!
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog