Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stressed Teachers: Lighten the Load; Stop Burying Us in Paperwork, Mandates, Duval Instructors Plead

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stressed Teachers: Lighten the Load; Stop Burying Us in Paperwork, Mandates, Duval Instructors Plead

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

Mandated paperwork, diagnostic tests and lessons have taken all the fun and creativity out of their jobs, Duval County teachers told the School Board Tuesday night.

More than 100 teachers packed the auditorium and an overflow area outside as about 20 of their colleagues vented their frustrations during the public comment portion of the board's meeting.

Many of them brought the same message of feeling overworked and underappreciated as new programs and requirements have been placed on their shoulders. One veteran teacher said that after seven weeks of school she feels it is the most stressful year she has ever experienced.

"I have never ever in my 17 years of teaching felt like this," said Wendy Herrmann, a teacher at Loretto Elementary School.

She said her children at home as well as those in her classroom were suffering. And she said she isn't alone.

"We're getting ready to have a lot of people disappear. Especially our young teachers. Please do something," Herrmann pleaded.

R.V. Daniels Elementary School kindergarten teacher Kathryn Wedner said she didn't understand whom all the added requirements are intended to benefit.

"I spend all of my time like many others teachers doing documentation, doing assessments, documenting those assessments, placing them in five different places and basically compiling data for someone's use," Wedner said, adding the information isn't much good to her because she already is well aware of her students' strengths and weaknesses.

Wedner offered a solution: Tell her what her students need to know without micro-managing.

"Don't tell me I need to have an hour for this and an hour for that. Thirty minutes for this and 20 minutes for that ... Tell me what I have to teach and then let me go do the teaching," she said.

Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady said nearly all of the county's 160 schools were represented by at least one teacher who attended the meeting. Later, Brady reported on a laundry list of teacher concerns: district officials who intimidate teachers during classroom visits; pacing guides that don't allow teachers to shape lessons to fit student needs; and, of course, paperwork that consumes teachers' free time. …

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