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Pinellas teacher offers challenge to Gov. Scott



walk_in_my_shoes.Kelly Austin, a fourth-grade teacher at Bauder Elementary in Pinellas, recently sent an email to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, inviting him to spend a full week in her classroom. The goal: "so you can help me and my colleagues understand what more we can do." Austin agreed to let The Gradebook publish her email in its entirety, so here it is:

Governor Scott,
I would like to personally invite you to come to my classroom in Pinellas County, Florida for one entire week. I am a fourth grade teacher at Bauder Elementary School. Like so many schools around this country, state, and county, Bauder is an exceptional school where I am not only proud to work but proud that my own children attend. Many of our students go above and beyond state and national expectations. However, I have found as an aspiring administrator that the stress level of our teachers and students is at an all-time high. Many of our young teachers in this state leave the profession not just for the lack of pay but the constant pressure they endure on a daily basis to do more and more. Many of our veteran teachers say they are thankful to be at the end of their careers. With that said, most of us wouldn't do anything else with our lives because we know that the single most important thing we can do in our life is to educate children and help them reach their fullest potential. With that said, I invite you to visit my classroom for an entire week.

I challenge you to stay all day every day and shadow me; watch me in all that I do on a weekly basis. I will be the reality TV into the lives of thousands of teachers in this district, state, and country. At the end of the week, I ask you to tell me what more I can do for the children I care for each and every day. I will ask you to tell me what more I can do to help them achieve success in your eyes. I will ask you to tell me how I can help my lower achieving students to improve faster to make learning gains. I will ask you to tell me how I can help my highest achieving students to surpass a perfect FCAT score from the previous year. I will ask you to tell me how I can continue the progress of my students who meet expectations. I will ask you to tell me how to get students to do their homework, to get their parents to come to workshops. Then I will tell you that I BELIEVE in my administration, staff, teachers, students, parents, and myself that we do 110% each and every day of the year. We are extraordinary not just 180 school days, but 365 days a year as we lie awake worrying about our students, go to workshops in the summer, meet and confer with colleagues, attend education conventions, and constantly look at data to drive our decisions. Yet, according to FCAT, it is still not enough. I challenge you to come to my classroom for one week to shadow me so you can help me and my colleagues understand what more we can do. The challenge is here. Do you accept?

Kelly Austin
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[Last modified: Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:33pm]


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