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A Matter of Stress

More work, but not more time.

Higher expectations, no appreciation.

New curriculum, no training.

Memos today detailing work to be finished yesterday.

I wake every morning with a headache and a sore jaw from grinding my teeth in my sleep. It’s all about scores, not kids. Less and less I am a teacher. More and more I am a task master.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Our education system is in need of some change, I think. Do kids really learn anything by spending so much time working on the standardized tests?

  2. I am sorry this is happening. I remember as a kid hardly having any notice when it came to state testing. Now the teachers all get together and plan all sorts of things. For instance, they provide free breakfast on days of testing for the students.

  3. Well, sounds like you are aware of the fact that a change is needed and those are the kinds of teachers we need so yay for us although my heart goes out to you…

    As for the teeth grinding… I can more than relate!!

  4. I hear you! Here it’s, more passengers, too many drivers out sick, too few trained and ready to be on their own, more work, a boss that’s an expert at making the simplest tasks an ordeal…

  5. hang in there for this is how the wonderful teachers are lost and the kids miss out evem more so.

    the system sucks, here and i guess there too. somehow the children get lost as the priorities and are replaced by what? and for what?

    grinding teeth and sore jaws are sometimes caused by TMJ and are sometimes the effects of stress (which you certainly have right now)..becareful, the headaches can get really nasty..Pls see a dentist asap before it gets worse angel.

    love. hugs. kisses and best wishes.

  6. We have heard the word “change” but we know the reality. Stress can be dealt with…..but first you have to place yourself on the to do list. Not at the bottom either. Take a walk, sing a song, whisper a favorite prayer. Remember and tell yourself often you are loved!

  7. We’ll try this again… I have been very vocal in opposition of proficiency testing here, only to get slapped down by the college entrance examiner. She claims that before proficiency testing only 30% of our kids were ready for college, now 80% are. But these students can’t think, don’t like to read, and don’t have a rounded understanding of anything. Very stressful for you Quilly, with your gifts, to have to teach this way.

  8. Such is the way of “No Child Left Behind” legislation! My son is developementally disabled and I had to have an attorney friend contact the school and threaten to file a law suit if exceptions weren’t made for him. I know it isn’t the teachers or even the school, it’s the government!

    My hat is off to all of you teachers, more and more you all are saints in my eyes!

  9. It’s terrible and it’s why I gave up teaching years ago. So few people are intersted in making sure kids are actually learning somethiing. I know you are a good teacher and you will teach despite their expectations.

  10. So what’s the answer? Ensuring children are getting a good education has never seemed to be a huge big problem in our better schools in well-off areas (at least near me), and now No Child Left Behind is just stressing these teachers out without adding any benefits.

    But in our inner city schools, how do we turn things around? I don’t think NCLB is the answer, but I do believe we need some way to raise the bar in these troubled schools. What’s the answer?

    Geez, and I write a humor blog … my brain hurts 😉

  11. Jill — currently all education is test driven.

    Lori — the free breakfast is a good thing. At our school we do it every day, not just test day. The bad thing is the “benchmark” teasts — monthly tests designed to meraure how close a child is/isn’t to passing.

    Miz B — I am so sorry I haven’t been by. I’ve rarely been off my beaten path — and I’ve not been traveling it much. Crazy busy!

    Cindy — different job, same boss

    Cindra — they make it harder every day

    Doug — perceptive, as usual

    Chana — every day it gets a little harder to hold on

    Pauline — yes, I know — as soon as I find a break in my schedule I’ll pencil me in.

    Kat — my educational philosophy is that if cghildren are taught how to think, they can and will learn anything they want to — with or without a teacher. Current practices do not encourage thought or reason.

    Jan — stop by Thursday for more on NCLB …

    Nessa — I try.

    Say No — I’m a teacher. My solution would be to teach children, not programs. My solution would be to pay teacher’s living wages, provide them with the necessary training and hold them accountable for using it –and it ===do it all without testing the children every 4 weeks and making them loathe and/or fear school.

  12. I’m sorry the system prohibits your teaching and inspiring students with your own creativity. But I’m not sorry to have you as my featured guest and host your impressive post which discusses the topic in greater detail.

  13. QD – i’m convinced the lunatics and the charlatans are in charge of the assylum. you have my sympathy, as do the kids. i don’t know how or why you do it.

  14. Sar, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s responses, too — I hope.

    Charlie — they may not have the keys, but they certainly have the pocketbooks!

  15. Quilly-Sister, I know you and I know you’ll find a way to do what you do best. Be sure to take care of yourself in the process, though.

  16. You are expressing some of the exact things about school these days that really bothers me. It no longer mattters what the child does or knows, it is just how well he takes tests…..

  17. I hear you, QD. Where I am, the teachers have been locked in a battle with the government since March over pay and conditions. The government wants teachers to work longer hours so they can close schools and cut jobs. In return for this, they want to give a payrise less than the rate of inflation. I ask, how can this ensure that the children are given a quality education? It makes me even more determined to remain a stay-at-home-mum for as long as I can and avoid the stress of full-time teaching for little respect or reward.

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