James Barrett for NC Superintendent

Share your ideas

I want to hear from everyone interested in education in our state, but especially North Carolina’s 100,000 public school teachers about what your Department of Public Instruction can do to improve your classroom experiences. Please call us at (919) 351-9060 and share: What are the most significant obstacles you face each day and how can public policy effectively address them?  We will post the most interesting ideas in the comments.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Kelly Allen provided first feedback, noting that her Chemistry class is too big. This is a result of our General Assembly. They love to talk about reducing K-3 class size in past couple of years, but overall teacher allocations are down 3% which means that high schools are impacted that much more. As State Superintendent, I will advocate for restoring positions that we need to ensure student success. Our state can afford it (spending is down 9% as share of our state’s GDP), we just lack the political will today. Educators and friends can make a big difference through organized effort. Our General Assembly across the state needs to hear from you across the state to know that fully funding education is important.

    1. Making the curriculum honest and realistic would not be expensive. Carrying on this charade is damaging most of our students.

  2. As a 7th grade teacher, the biggest obstacle I face is a lack of planning time. Differentiated and highly engaging lessons take about 3 hours of planning to every 1 hour of actual classroom instruction. I’m lucky if I get 45 minutes a day to plan actual lessons. Most of planning includes meetings with parents, replying to emails, and grading. Any planning usually has to happen on the weekends. If there was a way to increase teacher planning time, it would increase student success and teacher retention.

    1. Great feedback. Thank you

  3. From Voicemail: “I would just like to have working technology in my classroom. We have these people on staff are supposed to be able to fix everything, but I don’t have a working LCD projector. And you know, that’s something that I can’t afford to buy myself. I work at Stateside Elementary, you know, I’m still okay, honey. Thank you. “

  4. From voicemail: “Oh my gosh, I think it would take me an hour to tell you but let me get into a few things briefly one and any other state I have a right that’s there’s no caveat to it to have a daily planning. And a daily lunch Friday not so unusual day announcement the teachers you’ll have to eat with your classes and there’s no specials because they needed to pull the specials teachers to sub doesn’t happen in other states. So I went from 6:30 in the morning till 6 in the evening with no break whatsoever. Not 15 minutes if you wonder why 6 it’s because I work at an after-school program called project learn which we received a grant to get but even so I would have worked from 6:30 in the morning until 3:30 with no break whatsoever. It’s working conditions like that. I’m in my 26-year. Why should young people come into something where they don’t even get a fifteen-minute break to eat lunch and fifteen minutes come on, you know other people they get to go out to lunch when I taught in Texas. I got to somehow they manage to figure out a way to do it and that was with only three assistance in the entire school. So yes, this does matter let me tell you how it matters because when you come back from having a break more patient with children, it benefits the children. It’s not selfish to ask for a 30-minute break. So that’s one thing then with the public doesn’t realize is how we have these kids sitting in our classes with a 65 IQ. I teach in Granville County. We’re not a wealthy County. We don’t have the resources of wake which Chapel Hill or Durham and there’s no additional help or the kids with they’re traumatized from there. Life experiences their family life and the misbehavior is unbelievable. And then my principal is just saying go through the empty SS process go through the MPS process and I’m not supposed to send anyone out of the room. But yet I’m supposed to be maintaining order and teaching all 26.3 doors in my room and I have three kids who have severe behavior problems due to what they’ve experienced at home calling their parents says nothing one accuses us of racism every single time we call. The other two they’re like, oh well, good luck. so the first reason I feel is so high I go in there every day because I care about kids and I you know, I’ve had a passion for it, but at this point, yeah, I’m just trying to crawl to retirement and then I’m going to have to keep working because I’m single and I’m not going to be retiring on that much and I look forward to being able to do something else. What can you do for us? I’m not sure where to begin, but I think it does start with having some decent.”

    1. Our curriculum is designed for elites. Non-elite students are not offered learning opportunities designed for them. This one-size-fits all approach can’t work.

  5. From voicemail: “What I’m the biggest obstacles I have this time of the year is realizing that we should be testing our kids their exam. Testing should be before Christmas not after Christmas the brake makes everything much more difficult for students to get back to get started to review to get things going. So something needs to be done to get schools able to start earlier so that we can test when we need to just let the community college system. It’s always been my biggest thing since they changed it ten or eleven years ago. Thanks.”

  6. From voicemail: “Hi. I’m calling because I have several obstacles to that face everyday. But if I had to knock it down, I think the biggest obstacles our Behavior. Because it’s impossible to teach when you’re spending half your class time trying to deal with behavior. And it’s not the behavior that you can do with classroom management. This is a different kind of behavior the children thing that they’re supposed to be able to come to school and do what they want to and then going the whole fits when they can’t get their way and I think the part the reason why They’re like that is because the principles are scared that the parents are going to run to the central office. Usually when that happens the parents get that way. I’ve seen suspensions overtime for fighting using drugs and all kinds of stuff turned away because the state has started a new behavioral thing with the p b i s and they tracked the data and you get it fixed as if your school is has good baby. But what it really does is it makes people want the money so bad that they just They downplay the behavior. They’ll tell preferable you’re suspended people too much of you shouldn’t put people in my innocence and we have a lot of children that come to school and really just want to learn and they’re really the ones paying the price because we already know the contact. We’re trying to get the children to know the content. So we have to stop that behavior. Probably the tracking this Behavior. You might need to try to behave you but I don’t think you should have an incentive because of the behavior because you’re making people make decisions that they should not make you have children another issue. You know, I I would go into that further if you want to know. the other obstacle is I teach fifth grade science and The state appropriates fifteen million dollars not fifteen billion but fifteen million dollars, and I know that with the increase of Technology, you know, we need to use more intimate. I shouldn’t have to spend all of my money every month and resources off the teacherspayteachers.com and other websites. That is not what I’m supposed to do. That’s not my job. I’m only making $36,000. Why should I have to go and buy stuff every week just for my children could get no.”

    1. Behavior is such a big problem because the curriculum is inappropriate. If we were teaching useful things that children could learn, they would enjoy learning.

  7. There needs to be a seismic shift in the way the general public value and treat our educators, especially our public school teachers. The state and federal govt needs to spend more on education, paying our teachers better salaries so that they do not have to work two jobs and provide better classroom resources. The UNC system needs to offer strong education departments with evidence based pedagogical training to produce the quality teachers that NC so desperately needs. Money needs to be moved away from administrators to the folks in the classroom who are delivering the service. Schools also need to communicate in more creative ways to engage the families on a regular basis, not only for fundraising or disciplinary issues. Overall the system needs to be way more proactive than reactive.

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