By Alisha Hilde, Anchorage School Board candidate, attorney and former public school teacher.
On Monday, Sept. 25, the Anchorage School Board meeting room was filled to the brim with teachers who came to testify about what they experience at the ground level of education.
Teachers shared the challenges of an on-ramp of new programming where older programs never get phased out. They spoke of the limited training they had in the short window before school started, when they were to learn not only new curriculum but also the new communications and grading program Capturing Kids’ Hearts, new scheduling and more. They cited the increasing testing requirements eating away at the time left dedicated to teaching.
After running through the numbers, two kindergarten teachers testified that they have 6,049 individual assessment requirements for the first quarter. In breaking down the time requirements for language arts, math, science and other components in the day, they totaled their obligations at 34 hours per week, excluding passing time, snacks, bathroom breaks and testing. There are but 32.5 hours in the school week.
Still, as they spoke, I noticed again and again the passion teachers shared for their jobs and their commitment to and care for their students, regardless of the circumstances in which they work.