Our Season of Thanks….

2c3d19e6946923cbac75990147e20316This time of year, back in the day…My classroom was the place for fun that inhanced our  learning….We had time to incorporate into the  curriculum,  learning through special art  and  creative poetry projects that were made for our parents, as holiday gifts…

We truly enjoyed taking  two special  field trips to  magical places that our  children got to experience first hand: visiting a pumpkin patch farm and  the viewing of the Nutcracker Ballet…Some of our children would never have had those opportunities…What learning!

We spent a great deal of time learning and appreciating different cultures and how they celebrated the season…And finally,  the children couldn’t wait for the culmination of the celebration of the season with our holiday cookie exchange…Then off for winter break!!!

It is my hope that  our public school teachers continue these beautiful traditions for our children…As we know, there are those children who especially need to know the Beauty of the Season…

This could be a Season of Miracles…

“What will Happen Now?…

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Being an eternal optimist… I must keep my positive outlook… Having had many challenges in my personal life… I as many are feeling in the aftermath of this election, may want to give up the fight…

My positive outlook on life dictates for me not to give up, but rise and a call to action….

We as a People can not… As “Hillary” would emphatically say…

We are Stronger Together… For all that is right in our Country… For our beautiful children who need positive roll models…

Teaching those many years, my children who came into my classroom from poverty and dysfunction in their homes, would listen, with full attention when I would share some of my personal stories coming from a poor single family household…and how I overcame the many challenges I incurred in my life, made me work extra hard, paying my way with loans and grants for my college education; I was always hoping to provide them with insight …and guidance… Our young children want and must need to know…from us…In order to succeed….

Now that this election is over, I am deeply heartsick, and realize how divided our Country is… We as teachers have definitely witnessed how these changes have impacted our children…Children, especially from poverty need those positive role models to guide and direct their future…This is crucial especially those that may not get much if any support from home…

Having listened to such negative and hateful rhetoric, watching our media giving so much attention to getting the story… missed so much… The divide of our people…how their anger affects children, nor really caring about the effect..

As I witnessed first hand in volunteering for Hillary’s campaign this concerns me what kind of message we are giving our children..

However, In my own personal experiences canvassing neighborhoods for this campaign. Flagler County, in a Republican Community in Florida, I did meet many people from different ethnicity, age groups, and genders… I realized…We were all ready working together to get Hillary elected as our President…… I must be positive and hopeful… Those of the many of us; as the popular vote affirms, believe as I do…

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We need to keep up the fight for all the beauty our Country has to offer…We must continue speaking out for the “good”… We need to be positive role models for our children…

I feel we will succeed…for our children…This really is their future….!!!

Politics in the Classroom..

Having taught back in the early seventies, post Civil Rights Movement and  having the most important opportunity teaching all children especially those that were mainstreamed from our society that practiced segregation …I  can remember just like it was yesterday,  entering into teaching with such passion that reflected my idealism and hope…As I do speak for myself;  many of my colleagues felt as I did…

I can even remember entering the classroom for the very first time, summer of…1970…doing my first field experience in preparation for my becoming a teacher….

I was going to “Change the World”…And “Make that Difference”!

The political climate of the Seventies was definitely pro education…It was more than just rhetoric… Federal programs such as Head Start with such a strong emphasis on early childhood education and Title I programs that assisted those children who struggled with their learning…were being funded and implemented…

Parenting groups also began at this time,  providing such educational and informative workshops for those parents who needed support and encouragement;  Hopefully in the end, becoming more knowledgeable and  involved in the educational needs of their child…And I too, even had the wonderful opportunity to be involved with…

I feel so blessed that I was able to be a part of this history; fueling my passion for saving children …So much so , that most of my forty years have been in primary education…

Over twenty five years as a first grade teacher, of which ten of those years, teaching children that were not on grade level…

 This  political climate of pro funding continued through the Eighties … However by the early Nineties there was a most definite shift… … the result from the direction of our politics right here in Florida, under the Governorship of Jeb Bush. .. Sadly, his politics encouraged the privatization of education, detrimentally affecting our children with the… “No Child Left Behind” Movement…And I as many feel the beginning of Public Education’s struggles….

Public Education was most definitely not a top priority any more…We teachers felt this in our classroom everyday… We had to deal with the strain of  more standardized tests, and more biased accountability…  This was now  the beginnings of vouchers and the privatization of  education…Our children were now  feeling  this emphasis, more demands and  less resources…We  teachers, feeling so unappreciated…and devalued…And more than ever the blame with all the reasons schools were failing…

“Our children were being left behind”… 

My first twenty years flew by so…Teaching was such a joy…

However, through the Nineties, and into this New Millennium with the demands and  fewer resources due to this political shift…Society’s politics has impacted families thus affecting our children… Children are now coming in to school less prepared…More of our children live in poverty and have emotional and physical issues… …And we teachers with all our creative talents have such unrealistic demands…Our classrooms are micromanaged and we are being assessed on how proficient we are…We educators have always felt being accountable is extremely essential…Children deserve the best… However we are not being assessed fairly due to the limits placed on with testing and collecting data… Many teach in overcrowded classrooms and fewer resources at our disposal….

How will the Politics of Today play out? …Thanks to President Obama Passing…The Every Child Succeeds Act, no child will be left behind

Some of the rhetoric has been ecouraging fewer tests and even giving recess back to children….

I feel this can be a fresh start, and we may be going  back to a time in History… the politics of the Seventies when all our children were important…We must prioritize funding Public Education for all our children…

 

 

“So Thankful…”

647b4b8fb9c8a4ef71bb0be298e0513d.jpgBlessings for opportunities…

I feel so blessed to have been a teacher for many years… back when  all children could have the same opportunities because of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s….

Hopefully, now since my retirement…We will see a resurgence in providing for all our children those same opportunities because of the passage of…

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Fresh Start…

wpid-488b1c8fcac7474375e033493e2586f6.jpgThe school year 2015-2016 has begun…And I am “not teaching”…

I have such  mixed feelings about this… “How I love the children”…I had hoped the rhetoric about “children and their right to a strong education” would have come to reality by now, after my forty plus years… But sadly this is definitely not so…

In my teaching experience, children from diversity and impoverished homes…. these last eight years of my career I have observed they are “Our” forgotten…

How my children so wanted to learn,  but because of overcrowded class size,  fewer support personnel; and moreover unrealistic, developmentally inaproppriate curriculum with too much testing…  I felt quite frustrated  and even anger…

Our children, our Future deserve so much more…

This beginning school year, I had to visit my “school” to volunteer and check on my “children”, as I promised…

Well, I observed that our school is tackling more demanding challenges; Higher numbers of children because of school closings, not enough personnel to handle the demand, and more expectations…

So this will continue; Until our Government answers…But will they ever listen?…

And I will always speak out!        Until..

My Time is “Now”…

This is my “now”…I am in my final week of my thirty-eight years as a teacher, advocating for our children, dating back from 1972…

So many memories; so many lives of my precious children I have touched…

My feelings about my retirement are mixed…

However I will and must continue this fight advocating for our children and their right for a strong public education…

I have dedicated this passionate journey for them!

Our Children… With my love and passion…Thank you for all you gave to me!

Janis Sexton…

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