Teaching Middle School, Week 14: Testing completed & pondering “fairness”


Two days – one of science, one of social studies – finished us up.

Those days were a lot easier than the days of testing the week before. The testing periods (2 each day) were from 45 minutes to 1 hour – about half the time of the ELA (English/Language Arts) and math tests the week before. (You can read my post about those days here).

Makes me wonder why language arts and writing and math are so intensive.

Do science and socials studies matter less??

And it makes me wonder about the fairness of holding language arts teachers so “accountable” though testing. They have 2 days of testing attached to them. No other academic teacher has that much. And those of us who teach connections classes – well, we have NO state-level test scores that hang over our heads.

I taught English in the high school classroom for 23 years, so I feel for ELA teachers. SO much paper grading. Hours upon hours upon hours of it. Essays and research papers take the longest.

But anything written is demanding of a lot of grading time – no matter the subject. Some teachers in subjects other than ELA require lots of writing from their students, too.

All of that paper grading played a role in my burning out 8 years ago and leaving the high school classroom after 23 years of teaching.

It’s something I absolutely do not miss.


Add extra testing on top of that paper grading. And you get very weary ELA teachers.

I’d be interested in a study of which teachers leave the classroom in the first 5 and 10 years of teaching. What subjects do they teach?

I’d bet a pretty high number of them teach ELA. And I bet a pretty high number are in academic subjects (ELA, math, science, social studies – the state-tested subjects).

Those of you in the non-education world probably think, “Well, ELA teachers and academic subject teachers get higher compensation, so that makes it fair.”

But guess what? They don’t!

And also guess what? If you teach elementary school and teach ALL subject areas, you don’t get extra compensation, either!

The only way you get higher compensation as a teacher in Georgia is to get more advanced college degrees and accumulate years of teaching experience. Or go into administration – but then you’re not a teacher anymore.

In Georgia, if you’re a public school teacher you get a pay raise every other year.

But only for the first 20 years of your teaching career.

Yep, that’s right. The most experienced teachers, the ones who have stuck with it for 20 and more years, the ones who have tested a variety of teaching styles, the ones who have refined their craft for many years – they don’t get raises!!

How’s THAT for fairness??

Makes you want to stick with teaching for 30 years, doesn’t it?

And we wonder why public education has so many challenges . . . .




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