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[Susan notes: It is rewarding to hear that a first-year teacher can say that teaching is fun.]

Published in Commercial Appeal

To the editor

Is teaching still fun?

As a first-year teacher, I answer that question with a whole-hearted "YES!" Teaching is both a challenge and a joy. Will teaching still be fun in 20 years? My answer to that depends a great deal on all of you.

For whatever reason, it seems Americans have lost their faith in teachers and education in general. Lawmakers like the ability to wrap their grubby hands around standardized test scores, and states are forced to rely on rigid standards of accountability to hold teachers and schools to task.

A ninth-grader reads on a fifth-grade level? Bad teacher. Students are obese? Blame the schools. Kids failing state exams? Fire them; get the school all new teachers. Why don't we just consider demolishing public education? Better yet, how about giving tax breaks for sending your kids to a private school? Oh wait, New York is considering that already.

The idea that these standardized tests now put students across the state on an equal playing field is ridiculous. Until our nation, and any lawmakers still listening to us, realize that no amount of standardization will reduce poverty, racism and ages of inequality, we will continue our disastrous spiral down the No Child Left Behind drain.

As for me, I'm still hopeful. I believe we will pull ourselves out of this testing craze and realize that these standardized tests are not a solution, but a problem. Not to mention a waste of a good teacher's time.

Lara Charbonnet

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