By: Krystle Crossman
Susan Sluyter taught children at Cambridge public schools for over 25 years. She recently put her resignation letter in but it was not without heartbreak or difficulty. She explained that she teaches kindergarten and that it is no longer about the kids. She says she isn’t sure how they are supposed to be able to learn and be creative thinkers when the entire class has to be focused around testing and collecting data which is about all she does at this point.
Sluyter stated in her resignation letter that every year she has to go to more and more meetings that deal with testing and how to collect the data that the school is looking for. She also says that she has to go to meetings that speak about extreme emotional behavior in children. Sluyter stated that these behaviors to her appear to be the children acting out and trying to get the adults to pay attention to them and see that they are being pushed beyond their limits. Day by day she said that she felt more anger and less love for being a teacher as it wasn’t about getting a chance to help a child develop, it was about seeing who was academically ready for more work.
Sluyter wrote about some of the new initiatives that were being enforced that the school that began to anger her. The school wanted the teachers to post goals on the walls for mathematics for the Pre-K and kindergarten classes. These children cannot read and do not recognize what a goal is at this point but these goals were still mandated to be up in every classroom. She also said that it added more pressure to the children to make them think that they absolutely had to accomplish these goals by the end of the year or else they were not as smart as the others.
All of these new goals and expectations that they are pushing on the students are not only hard on them, but hard on the teachers as well. There is a huge push to educate students on subjects earlier than they are ready for and this is causing a lot of stress all around.