Congress is about to tackle education reform, and before they do so, every Member is visiting ACTUAL schools and ACTUAL classrooms and talking to ACTUAL teachers. And not just the shiny schools with shiny rooms and shiny kids. My school. My school that has more trailers than actual building space, with rooms that are definitely not shiny, and kids that shine with their own vibrancy, but not the kind that politicians like to show on TV.
I say "of course!" and when they arrive, I am able to show them our room, our routines, and they even sit in for Reading Workshop. They are immediately surprised how much learning happens in kindergarten. My kids are so proud and excited to have such exciting guests in the room.
These representatives also notice that my kids are crammed in a bit. They notice that I spend a lot of time working on socialization and positive behavior at the same time I teach academics. They notice that a lot of my kids don't have a good grasp of the English language, but are working so hard to learn. When they asked me where the ESOL teacher was to assist these kids, I reminded them that my grade doesn't receive such services. They notice all the cords and old computers in the room, as they tap away on their blackberries. They notice that one spot in the room is blazing hot while the rest of the room is chilly. They notice a leaky spot on the ceiling. They notice the schedule on the wall and mention that it seems like we're very busy all day. (They thought we played all day.) They notice the stacks of test booklets on my desk and next to it the current testing calendar. They notice that I do a lot, A LOT, of testing. "You really give your kids all these tests?" they ask.
They also notice the colorful book boxes on window sill so loved and well used by the students. "Oh those?" I say, "I bought those."
They shake my hand and say "thank you."
One month later I read this on the front page, above the fold, of the national news:
"Congress to Make Massive Change in Education Policy"
subtitle: Representatives find that nation-wide, the country is not giving teachers what they really need.
Sigh. Then my alarm went off...