Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Moms and dads, first let me thank you. My endless praises go out to you for reading to your child, for encouraging learning, and for putting a high emphasis and priority on their education. I cannot tell you how priceless that is to me as their teacher.

I hear you. I, too, parent a gifted child. In fact, we pulled him from public school this year because, try as they did, the public school system just simply did not have the resources to meet my son’s needs behaviorally or academically.

I hear your concern that your student is bored and unchallenged. I hurt for your child who sincerely has a love of learning and you’re afraid they’ll lose that passion. I honestly feel in my gut how hard you fight for your child’s needs to be met. I do.

But let me be real.

Teaching in the public school system in 2018 is not a joke. I fully believe, as I tell my students from day one, that standardized testing is complete garbage. No college evaluates that score or takes it into account for who they accept or turn away. No jobs ask for your English Reading test score on an application. That just doesn’t happen.

However, here I sit, staring at your eager learner in a class filled with students in desks-some of whom can read, and some who struggle to write their own name. I teach high school.

Even if I completely disregard the fact that I see young people every day who I know will eat their only meals between the hours of 7:30am-3pm and whose parents have stolen money their child has earned at respectable jobs to buy drugs, that doesn’t begin to touch the fact that the future of my own job-my livelihood- is based on my students’ performance on a test that everyone resoundingly agrees proves nothing.

I am completely aware of the fact that my ability to teach is no more illustrated by the test scores of the children in my classroom as I am horrified that some of my kids believe they are failures because of these same evaluations.

So, I agree that your child deserves better. I believe all children deserve better.

However, please try to understand that teachers are doing the best that they can. To date this school year, I have spent nearly $1000 on classroom supplies, food, water, clothes, bus passes, and shoes for my students. I have driven them to job interviews and I have stood next to them in court. I have defended them at home and in the principal’s office. But nothing seems to change.

I assure you that, while I cannot speak for every teacher in every public school classroom, I go to sleep at night troubled by the safety, security, and futures of the young people I teach, but I am also at peace knowing that I am doing absolutely everything that I can.

So I am profusely sorry that the class sizes, diverse learning levels, insufficient technology and supplies, and insane pressures of state testing and evaluations that I am forced to work with make me unable to give the attention and focus to your gifted learner that they sincerely deserve. I do not have an answer for you. Again, this is why we pulled our own son and decided to homeschool.

But please do your best to sympathize with what good teachers are subjected to daily. We have meetings about meetings after emails about paperwork that we have to document. We have parent conferences before school, game duties after school, grading papers after midnight, and tutoring during our planning periods. We buy things that are on no school supply list because some of our kids are hungry or dirty. Some of us go without lunches or bathroom breaks the entire day to ensure we are getting it done for our students.

It is an unfortunate truth that the public school system, as I’ve seen it, is in a cycle forcing teachers to focus on bringing lower level learners up to a level them deem as “standard” while leaving out entire groups of learners along the way. I don’t agree with it.

It should be noted, however, that our jobs are our means of provision just as much as a truck driver, doctor, or factory worker. Yet we are not evaluated the same when we do what we are asked when the process, itself, is broken.

I genuinely wish I had a cure-all for this dilemma. I am devastated by it daily and I am desperate to fix it. However, as only one teacher in a country of millions of us, I feel like I am on a hamster wheel putting band-aids on broken bones and, at the end of the day, we are still left with bored students who are losing their passion for learning and low-level learners who are left feeling ashamed and embarrassed.

I have been fortunate enough to teach in a project-based learning environment for the last three years. While that is a brilliant solution for preparing our young people for real world scenarios, the massive class sizes are still a barrier that allow some students to slip through the cracks.

We have to fix this broken system. As a mother, a teacher, and a homeschooling parent, I just wish I had the answer; but I don’t.

This article originally appeared on The Mama on the Rocks

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Brynn Burger

Mental health advocate, extreme parent, lover of all things outdoors, and sometimes a shell of my former self. Parenting a child with multiple behavior disabilities has become both my prison and my passion. I write so I can breathe. I believe that God called me to share, with violent vulnerability and fluent sarcasm, our testimony to throw a lifeline to other mamas who feel desperate to know they aren't alone. I laugh with my mouth wide open, drink more cream than coffee, and know in my spirit that queso is from the Lord himself. Welcome!

Dear Daughter, It’s Okay If You Hate Me Right Now

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking up at mother

Dear daughter: I’ve heard it from you a thousand times when you don’t get your way. You yell it when your force of will doesn’t bend mine, thinking it will convince me to give in. But I’m here to tell you once and for all: I don’t care if you hate me right now. Last night you hated me because I made you take a bath before bed. This morning, it was because I made you wear pants. I’m the worst mom ever because I told you to eat a vegetable, and the whole day is ruined because I won’t...

Keep Reading

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading