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Passed, Piloted, Pitched, and Pushed

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The following post is by Jennie Watkins is a 2013-14 Hope Street Group Fellow who has been teaching for sixteen years in the Corbin Independent School District and currently teaches 6thgrade English Language Arts and Social Studies at Corbin Intermediate School.

I have been called to be a teacher. I did not choose this profession to become rich. I became a teacher to make a difference. I have been teaching for 17 years and quite frankly, I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

I would personally like to invite anyone into my classroom at any time to see what I do first hand. I teach in a classroom full of students who often do not eat unless they are at school. I teach student after student, who cannot afford even the basic school supplies, let alone a warm coat or shoes. I am constantly asked to be everything to every student while ensuring that they are proficient in every subject.

I am required to teach them in ways that they can relate to by implementing the latest in technology; and yet I am asked to do all of this without the funding necessary to see it through. I am pushed to implement the newest in educational practice, yet I am told that there is no funding available for professional development or adequate training. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year I am asked to do the impossible on a budget so tight that any sane business person would agree that it just isn't possible. Yet I do it and do it well.

How? Most of the time I spend my own money and use my own resources; our school also has bake sales, car washes, and garage sales. We are asked to sell candies, fruit, cookie dough, and magazines to implement the continually unfunded mandates that are passed, piloted, pitched and pushed until I am so dog-tired and discouraged that I sometimes feel like I can't go on.

Please do not balance the budget on the backs of our children! They are our future and worthy of an investment of not only time, but dollars -- dollars that will help make them competitive in a global society.

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