“Teachers Dropped the Ball in the Spring” – As a Teacher, I Couldn’t Disagree More


"Teachers Dropped the Ball in the Spring" - As a Teacher, I Couldn't Disagree More

“I hope we can do better this school year because teachers really dropped the ball in the spring,” I’ve heard far too many people say recently.

These words rang through my ears and slapped me in the face. I dropped the ball?! Fumbled, maybe, but how was it dropped?

It caught me off guard; were we seeing the same things in the Spring?! I’ve been pretty proud of how things were handled by myself and my teacher friends. Despite the occasional kid in underwear on Zoom calls, spotty internet service, and insane lack of training, I felt like we did the BEST we could with what we were given. To hear that we “dropped the ball”—well, that’s pretty disheartening.

We teachers are used to that though if we’re being honest—the lack of acknowledgement from the “higher-ups” and the outside world who just don’t understand. Teachers “drop the ball” when our test scores are lower, regardless of our students’ skill level when being placed in our class. Teachers “drop the ball” when we can’t perform our daily miracles (which we still perform plenty) and make an undisciplined child into a saint with straight As.

And NOW, we “dropped the ball” because we momentarily struggled during a scary, sudden change amidst a global pandemic. When will we start considering the ENVIRONMENT in the situation? When will teachers be analyzed by what they are handed rather than being judged on an obscure idea of the perfect classroom?

I can be a teacher in a failing, low-income school and be compared to a teacher in a #1 rated charter school. In the same way, I can be a teacher in the middle of a pandemic compared to a teacher in a “normal” year. Why?

Let me share with everyone what our spring soundtrack sounded like:

“Can you download this new program for tomorrow? Here, watch this workshop about it and learn how to use it.” “We’re returning to school next week. No, the next week. No, next month. No, never. Please plan accordingly.” “Do this from home…but make it professional.” “Just do your normal job…but without the kids actually there.”

To which we replied: “Yes” “Sure” “No problem” “Absolutely.”

Four years of educational training went down the drain and was replaced by a few online conferences and a handful of “helpful links” and you rarely heard us complain.

Now, as we near back to school, we have a plan, yet our soundtrack is still filled with “what if” and “maybe” and “just in case”.

If there were a time to hand out grace to teachers (and everyone), it’s 2020. We’re allowed to have a human moment before we collect our thoughts. In April, our hands were tied to computer keyboards and our own families as we tried desperately to make things work for the remainder of the school year. Now, we’re waiting with open arms for our students with our questions unanswered and still a lot of uncertainty around the start of a new school year.

Let’s have some realistic expectations while teachers try to juggle all the balls with tied hands and a handful of fears. Let’s not make things harder on teachers than they already are, because we came through in the clutch when everyone needed us the most, regardless of what anyone says.

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"Teachers Dropped the Ball in the Spring" - As a Teacher, I Couldn't Disagree More

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WhitneyBallard

Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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