Before the new school year, we hear from several teachers from across the state, who work in different grade levels, about their hopes, concerns and goals for the upcoming year, from teaching the fundamentals to mandated testing, to creating a positive classroom climate.
- Thomas Ames - Fifth grade teacher at the Indian River School in the Mascoma River Valley School District.
- Tara Columb - Seventh grade teacher at Laconia Middle School.
- William Murphy - High school social studies teacher at Hanover High School.
- Selma Naccach-Hoff - High school English teacher at Central High School in Manchester.
On how students, and teaching, has changed over the years:
We're lucky to be in a profession that we get a fresh start every year. In many ways, we do get to redo the things that we maybe didn't hit quite right, but expand on the things that we love to do.
Whatever is happening in our greater community happens in the schools. If there is an opioid crisis in the greater community... then obviously we have to deal with that within in our schools as well. If there's some turmoil and a lack of civil discourse in our greater community, we see that reflected in the classroom.
On standardized testing:
It's not so much assessment whiplash, but that the standards are whiplash. We had our state standards for many years. Then, after a while the state finally decided we were going to adopt the Common Core. My district spent tons of money [on] new textbooks and now Common Core is going away.
Not all students are going to be going to colleges, and that's what the SAT is, or Smarter Balanced... We're trying to fit every single child in the same peg. That is unconscionable.