Thoughts on TEA K-3 Mandated Reading Academy by ITT Member
(To read entire post, click on three dots to the left.). I am a first-grade teacher and have been teaching in the same district in Texas for seven years. My district is currently requiring all K-2 teachers and 3rd grade reading teachers to participate in the Science of Reading program, no exceptions. This course is equivalent to an Associate Degree, which takes most people 2 years to complete. This course was not something I chose to participate in, but instead, I was mandated to participate in. We started in the middle of July and are expected to finish by February 2022.
This 60-hour course is extremely time consuming and is packed with too much information for me to consume and assimilate in the time allotted. Because of the stress caused by needing to learn so much information in a small timeframe, I’m finding that it’s difficult for me to retain much of anything to add to my classes. The time projected by TEA for each module is always significantly lower than the time it takes me. There are pre-test, tests, post-tests, reflections, and artifacts to submit. All need to be done on our own time, excluding the five days we've been given since we started. At this point today, our district expects us to have completed modules 1-10. We have only been given 5 days to work on this, everything else has been completed on our own time. I have even used my own personal days to stay home and work on the course. We have been told that if this course is not completed, we will lose our teaching certificate. This is extremely disheartening!! I went to college, took courses, passed my teaching certification test, have taught for almost 7 years, and not completing this course could take all that away from me.
The last few years as a teacher have been extremely challenging and adding this course, which we have been given very little time to work on, has made this year even more stressful. This course has added a huge amount of stress and honestly has been a huge waste of time and taxpayer money. When I think of the taxpayer money being wasted on forcing teachers to take this superfluous course, I wonder who is profiting and I’d like to follow the money trail.
This experience has also caused me some depression because I’m sure that taxpayer money could be better used helping students and teachers directly, based upon answers provided from teachers in a simple district survey. I feel like this TEA mandated course helps school districts proceed with their agenda while they keep teachers buried and occupied with all the requirements for successful course completing or as I like to call it, “checking off the box”.
If I fail to complete this course or leave before completing it, I will be required to pay for it out of my own pocket. At this point, I am behind! I am only on module 9 and find it very hard to believe I will be able to complete it along with the other 3 modules by February. Teaching is my job, and my students are my priority. Sadly, focusing on my students and how to best serve and teach them, may be what costs me my job. kh