Video segment about me, by the school district

Monday, April 1, 2013

Visit from the Secretary of Education

The Secretary of Education is a really cool guy!  Ok, so this is the story.  A few weeks ago, I was asked to be on a panel with Arne Duncan.  I couldn't believe it!  I kept thinking "Something bad is going to happen.  I'm going to get the flu or get into a car accident, or maybe Arne Duncan will just cancel."  But the day came and I wasn't sick, we didn't get into a car accident, and one of my sweetest friends even did make-up for me (I can't do my own make-up, being blind).  So, before Arne Duncan arrived everyone was very nervous and reading over tons of articles about new education initiatives that President Obama is trying to make happen.  I kept focusing on early childhood articles, because I believe with all my heart and soul that universal pre-k is a fabulous idea.  I just can't believe there are people out there who disagree and say that it's a waste of money to provide more pre-k education throughout the country.  The eight panelists from my school were very honest in the discussion.  We told Secretary Duncan that sometimes we feel like there are so many new initiatives and so much to do that we're constantly playing "catch-up."  Sometimes living in the Washington D.C. area, I meet people who actually say they're sorry to me once they find out I'm a teacher because they  think it's not a very worthwhile profession and that we just babysit all day.  I think that this needs to change and that people in the general population need to realize how important early childhood education is.  We all know that very intelligent people decide to go into teaching because it's their passion and their dream, not as an easy way out or because we lack talent for other jobs.

The video above is an abbreviated version of the discussion.  Below is the full video, if you're interested in watching it.  Let me know what you think.


  1. Wow! I am so impressed you got to sit with the Secretary of Education to talk about your heart and passion for what you all want for the students! That was inspiring to watch and hear teachers voice something many of us only wish we could tell him ourselves.
    I am on Spring Break this week, and nothing has gone according to my plans, including the hope to clean useless clutter out of my classroom. However, the break has been good to have none-the-less! I hope you are enjoying your break!
    Christina Aronen

    1. Christina, it's wonderful to hear from you! I've missed you. I'm sorry that the break is not going smoothly for you. I really needed some rest and relaxation as well! Thank you very much for watching the video. To be honest, I was so nervous that I wasn't even sure what I said until I watched the video two weeks after we did it.

      Are you still interested in having our classes exchange letters? I was thinking I could take a picture of my class and have them do the letter as a shared writing activity. Then I could send it to you.


  2. It's great to see that Arne Duncan is taking serious interest in hearing first-hand about how early childhood teachers feel about today's education issues. Congratulations on getting chosen to speak with him! I agree with you that too many people think teachers of the younger grades are essentially just babysitters. Hopefully Mr. Duncan will help to increase respect and appreciation for the profession.

  3. Hi Sharon,
    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    This post really interested me as I can see that teachers all around the world have the same educational issues. Our politicians don't seem to realise that it is about the whole child, not just about Math and Literacy scores. Here in Australia there is a big push for assessments,assessments, and more assessments just to get data... to prove what?
    that the teachers are doing their job!!!!??

    I agree that we should look at Pre-K learning.
    Here in Australia we have 'Pre-Schools'. These are centres for child minding and some centres have programs for preparation for Kindergarten. It is always evident which children have been to Pre-school before coming to school.
    I would like to see more structure at our Pre schools which would better prepare our children for Kindergarten.

    It is hard for some children when they come to Kindergarten because all of a sudden they are not in control of their day. Someone is telling them to sit here, go there....

    Only teachers of young children fully understand the issues we have. Politicians should listen to us.

    I teach at a great public school on the NSW south coast ~ about 2 hours drive from Sydney. Our school day starts at 9.15 and finishes at 3.15
    Lunch is 11.15 to 12.05 and Recess is 1.35 to 2.00.

    Keep up the great work. Teachers DO make a difference!

    Classroom Fun

    1. Rhonda, I really appreciate your meaningful comments and I totally agree with you. I think that the pendulum has swung too far over to the side of assessing every single thing. Sometimes my kindergartners tell me that they're tired and that they want more play. I try to make things as fun as humanly possible, but there is such a push for children to be reading at very high levels in my county, and it's stuff that I would've read in 2nd grade.

      I think it's really nice that you get a 50-minute lunch. Our children only get half an hour.

      Thanks for stopping by!