Education Opinion

Labeling A School

By Betsy Rogers — March 09, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Labeling A School

Joe’s comment to my last post is a perfect intro as I continue the story of my metamorphosis. If any of you are of my generation and remember the cartoon Mighty Mouse, you will understand I came to my school with the Mighty Mouse attitude, “Here I come to save the day!” This created much resentment for my being there in spite of what I could bring to the school because I really did not have a clue about what it meant to work in a school labeled failure and the teachers knew it.

My first reality check came the day I had to attend a meeting of schools labeled Tier I. Previously this label had been High Priority School and before that Low Performing. When I was sitting in this room with the others from the area schools, I had several reactions. First, I was embarrassed to be there. I wanted to stand up and say, “This is my first year at this school, I did not do this!” Then I felt this great sense of frustration and I realized this how the teachers in my school have felt for so long. I do not know how they have survived. I felt ashamed of what I expected from the teachers because I do not know if I could have continued to work with this burden on me. Labeling a school as failing is devastating to one’s soul and creates such a depressed climate that I began to feel like I was drowning. I realized this is the culture the students and teachers at Brighton have worked in while trying to make significant gains in achievement. I began to understand this negative climate takes its toll on you physically as I started to have constant headaches, fever blisters, and sleepless nights. I have discovered these physical symptoms are shared by many of our faculty members. This anxiety and stress is increased by the overwhelming sense of urgency for the academic needs of the students. In my journal I wrote, “My sense of frustration and failure is killing me. It is overpowering.”

One gray morning as I was driving to work, I realized I was the only one on my side of the road everyone else was going in the opposite direction into town. I asked myself, “Am I going the wrong way?” Daily, I question myself, “Am I the right person to work at this school? Can I really help and have impact? Do I have what it takes? Can teachers who have been recognized for their work be accepted in hard to staff schools?” I do not know the answers to the questions, I just know that I want to be in this school. I want to help create a positive culture that will enable the students and teachers to overcome this label of failure. I also have learned the key to this change of climate lies within the teachers at my school, not me.

Please continue to send in your comments and questions.

The opinions expressed in Teacher of the Year are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 19, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read