Chasing our Proverbial Tails

Angelia Ebner Uncategorized

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dog chasing it's tail

 

 

 

This has been a difficult post to sit down and write. Not because I cannot think of topics or policies to address, but because I have so many that I want to address. I have found myself chasing my proverbial tail trying to keep up with all of the policies, politics, and educational responsibilities that I have. Our system is in such a precarious place, once again, that I feel like I cannot waste a single opportunity to use my voice to advocate for students or education.

I sat down recently and talked to my work bestie about the weight and responsibilities of being teacher leaders. We talked about how it can feel overwhelming, especially when your (way more than) full time job is teaching, yet you have so many other responsibilities and opportunities to serve your profession. As educators, we all love what we do and find ourselves looking at teaching as more than a career, it becomes a life style and a type of personal identification. My bestie and I explored topics of funding and what new legislation could mean for our class sizes and teacher retention next year. We discussed what it was like prior to the recession when we had paraprofessionals and aides and class sizes that were capped below their current number. As we looked around we were once again reminded that many faces sitting in the room with us have only been teaching 2, 3, or maybe 4 years. They have no idea what it was like to be an educator prior to the recession and many of them have never taught in other states where the educational system, though it is by no means perfect, operates very differently. Those times when I get frustrated that we are not all demanding change with one solid voice, I have to remember that to many educators these rough landscapes of education are the only reality that they know. It took me 10 years, and an amazing support system that believed in me more than I believed in myself, to begin to navigate the complex field of educational advocacy.

 

I am still frustrated that we are not advocating harder and in unison for Arizona students. I am frustrated that my voice is not moving mountains or reshaping landscapes. I am frustrated with myself because I am not finding the words I need to express to our newer educators what once was, or is helping students find success in other states’ public school systems. I remind myself that frustration will not get us any where, we must continue to be bold, educate those around us to what the issues are and how a systematic change must occur in order to improve education for all students.

My ask is that we keep up educational happenings without overwhelming ourselves to a point of frenzy. Figure out what your go to sources are for accurate and current professional information.  Lastly, let’s work together to handle the frustration that comes with overcoming these obstacles and creating the education system that we want for our students.

 

Angelia Ebner

Maricopa, Arizona

I am in my eleventh year of teaching and I love working in many different educational settings. I have taught kindergarten, through fifth grade and multi-grade classes. My current teaching assignment is fifth grade in the Maricopa Unified School District. I am a National Board Certified Teacher, an Arizona Master Teacher, Vice President of the Maricopa Education Association, a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates through the Arizona K-12 Center and a National Board Ambassador for Arizona. As an educator, my goal is to inspire life long learning in my students and facilitate leadership and efficacy among my peers.

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  • http://storiesfromschoolaz.org Amethyst Hinton Sainz

    Ah, the good old days! Do you know that when I left Catalina Foothills in 2008, which does not seem very long ago in my memory, the board had supported secondary level English class sizes of 22 or fewer across the board, for I think two or three years at that point? Of course… 08-09 was the year that went away. Along with a lot more. It is so easy for things to become the “new normal.” Please, let’s keep those memories of a somewhat healthier and humane “normal” alive.

  • Danielle Brown

    Thank for writing this Angie. Even I don’t know about teaching before the recession. I started my teaching in 2009, when area districts took a hard hit & were RIFing teachers. I remember being up for interviews with teachers who lost their job that year, with many many years of experience behind them. Finding a job as an educator in 2009 was difficult to say the least, I am so thankful, EVERYDAY, that I did.

    I like the fact that you brought up we need to keep up with whats going on. We can expect to advocate on issue we know little about. Engage our peers in these discussions & show the importance. We can’t tackle all polices/ ed. concerns with few voices & Ts. Reach out, inform and involve.

    Great post!

  • Beth Maloney

    Amen! After sixteen years I have seen some devastating changes to our education system, notably slashed budgets, increased class sizes, overwhelming teacher job expectations, state funding disappearing for public schools, “empowerment” vouchers, and charter school gaining more public (tax payer) funding. As if that weren’t enough, I began my teaching career in a wealthy suburb of Chicago. The biggest change that I’ve ever experienced was the difference between the school system in the two states. I wish more teachers could experience that themselves so that we could begin to speak in a more unified voice for our students and our profession. Our Arizona students deserve better!

  • Christine Porter Marsh

    I share your frustration!! Nice post.