My biggest dream for education in the future is that our society stops vilifying our schools and teachers. If reform keeps coming from those who love to drone on about our failing schools then we'll never see real progress. Focusing on the negative will not allow the positive changes we need.
I dream for a move away from standardized tests. We are spending too much time in assessment, giving detractors the proof of "failure" they so desperately want, and all of that time and energy is taking us away from the actual business of learning. I want reform to stop being a moneymaking venture, and for the powers that be to stop allowing testing companies to get rich while our students are made to feel dumb based on a number.
I wish someday I would be able to teach without grades. And I don't mean switching to standards-based grading instead; I mean no grades whatsoever. If we are truly preparing children for life, then why not have a model closer to most businesses? A quarterly performance review based on observation and work? I'm not saying that's perfect, and I don't have a real solution, but I wish I didn't have to put a mark on student writing. I could do so much more to help them love writing if they don't have the scars of past failures lingering with them.
I dream that those in charge would assign teachers a reasonable workload of students. As a teacher of writing, I should not have 138 students (or 151, or 146, just thinking of the past three years) and one planning period. I should have a number closer to half of that number, so I can give them the attention they need and deserve, without driving myself crazy. I wish that I could ask for things like that without people thinking teachers are lazy.
In the future, I hope administrator salaries are cut drastically, so that they make no more than $20,000 above a classroom teacher. The money districts save could be put to good use, like hiring more teachers (see above). The administrators in my district make more than twice as much money as I do, and I have the same level of education (the principals in my district do not have doctorates). Why are they worth twice as much as me? I'm not asking to be paid more; I think I make the money I should given that I have summers off. But I do think the discrepancy between teacher and administrator pay is insane.
I hope schools in the future are safe. I don't want to turn on the tv and hear about the latest shooting, the latest community hit by tragedy because mental health access was limited or signs were ignored. I don't want to worry that the quiet, angry boy in the back of my room is capable of worse actions than being a surly teenager. I don't want violence to be one more reason why people hate (or are scared of) schools. I don't want to hear the call for Lockdown Level Three and know that it is not a drill.
I want only people who truly have the passion for learning to go into the teaching profession. There are bad teachers out there: apathetic people who count down until retirement, people who have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager, people who place coaching sports above academic learning, people who reach a certain age and allow themselves to become lame ducks. I want those people to recognize that this is not the job for them, that they can and should be happier elsewhere. It doesn't mean I don't like them as people, I just want to know that schools everywhere are filled with only those who truly have passion and keep learning.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.