School testing pressure leads to teacher burnout

“What our teachers really need” is an interesting opinion article published by the Boston Globe on September 6, 2007. Lily Rayman-Read, a graduate of the Harvard Teacher Education Program wrote about her student teaching experience at Another Course to College in Brighton, Massachusetts.

She writes about teachers bearing the brunt of the decision to emphasize student testing instead of a more diverse curriculum:

Meanwhile, teachers are seeing less preparation time per class, as well as
increased pressure for student performance on the state's MCAS tests. Teachers
need a greater amount of time to interact with each other, and with their
communities, in order to meet the ever-increasing demands on their time and on
their students. Especially in inner-city schools, reaching out to the community
and having interaction with other teachers can save a teacher from early burnout
or isolation. In my experience, the MCAS test drives teachers away from one
another and into a philosophy of "teaching to the test," which limits them both
in the classroom and out of it.
She draws a good connection between what students need—engaging opportunities to keep the fire for learning alive, and teachers’ needs for autonomy and a student body that is able to be engaged. Rayman-Read ends by saying: Students need stimulation outside of reading and writing, and teachers need the flexibility to lead their classrooms according to their students' abilities and interests. Then perhaps we can make school a place for both education and enjoyment.