Delivering hope

There is much that we as teachers could contribute to discussions on how to improve public education in Fluvanna. Sadly, too often our attempts to offer instructional input and communicate teacher concerns are perceived as self-serving complaints and attacks on school decision makers. The failure of some administrators and School Board members to respect our professional opinions causes us to lose hope for positive change.
For example, many teachers in Fluvanna are losing control over important decisions about teaching and testing in our classrooms. Many are no longer adequately empowered to adjust schedules, methods, and assessments; taking into consideration our personal knowledge of students’ strengths and weaknesses and our years of professional experience. We believe Fluvanna’s children would benefit from more teacher autonomy in the classroom. Teachers encourage students to become creative problem solvers. We can be trusted to practice what we preach.
Certainly, some of our concerns are born of personal, as well as professional pride. In addition to more instructional autonomy, we ask for more respect of our personal time, with reasonable class sizes and limited new program requirements. We ask for more respect of our personal assets, with a larger portion of the school budget going directly to the classroom. We ask for more respect of our intelligence and maturity, wishing to be included as equals, rather than managed as unruly children.
So, in honor of American Education Week, the FEA encourages the School Board and administration to hear teachers’ concerns, consider our solutions, and value our voice. Our objective is to schedule regular opportunities for risk-free dialogue in which school decision makers acknowledge and react to teachers’ ideas and expertise. We appreciate School Board opportunities for three minute public comments, but suggest that a dialogue, an exchange of ideas and opinions, would be more productive. We’re asking for the opportunity to make a bigger difference for public education in Fluvanna.

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