The Propello Press | Education Insights, Resources, and Tools

Why Propello? A teacher's perspective.

I just left the classroom in March of this year. Last year was my 24th year of teaching. I remember clearly the point when I decided it would be my last year.

In my district, all of our lessons had to be on Canvas. The district paid curriculum teams and teachers to create lessons for us that we could just import into our Canvas modules. I was ready to start a new science unit on soil that I would teach for the next four weeks. When I went into the county curriculum resources, I discovered four lessons on soil - one of which consisted of having the students collect a rock and make observations about it.

I wrote to the head of the science department and asked if they had any plans of developing more lessons. Their response was that unfortunately, no one was developing lessons this year, but they were hoping some teachers would develop lessons over the summer. I asked about the support for new teachers - and the response was that experienced teachers should help the new teachers.

Let’s be clear - in the last couple of years teachers have:

  • Been upended in their teaching practice and told that everything they’ve learned would no longer work, and their entire career would have to pivot,
  • Had to learn new platforms and programs and curricula to support their learners,
  • Been challenged with dealing with “learning loss” due to the pandemic,
  • Lost funding, staffing, and time to address any of this,
  • Had to develop new curriculum to support their learners,
  • Become instructional coaches for new teachers.

The thing with teachers is that no matter how few resources they have, on Monday morning they will still have a classroom full of learners ready to learn. Administrators, district leaders, superintendents know that no matter what, teachers will come to the classroom ready to teach. Even if this means sacrificing every Sunday for lesson plans. Even if they have to grade papers while at the ball field. Even if they have to eat their lunch at the copier. No matter what it takes - they do it.

But they shouldn’t have to.

Of course, I got to work developing lesson plans on soil. I created observation sheets for the students, selected videos to engage the kids, and found a way to get the children excited about soil. I developed lessons on soil erosion and weathering, on composting and vermiculture, and how soil science even impacts turf fields at major universities. I connected their learning to other curriculum topics like to the African mud cloths of Mali. And I shared my lessons with my team. It was a great unit and my students loved it.

But I shouldn’t have had to.

This realization wasn’t a breaking point - but rather, a turning point. That’s when I decided to make the pivot once more, to fix what was broken. It’s not the students or teachers or the education system. It’s the unbearable load and responsibility that is placed on the backs of already overworked teachers. I needed to go to an organization that understood what monumental task teachers are charged with every day. And I wanted to be that person who, for once, was able to take things off teachers’ plates, rather than add one.more.thing.

I see my former colleagues setting up their classrooms. And participating in the back to school team building sessions. And collecting data to determine how best to meet the needs of their students. But who is looking out for how best to meet the needs of these teachers? Who is going to support the hundreds of new teachers in districts facing teacher shortages?

I came to Propello because we are that solution. We are building curricula from the ground up with a constant lens on the teachers who need an excellent and intuitive product. And from the lens on our learners and the varied backgrounds and needs they have. While other curriculum companies are taking their product and retrofitting it to the new landscape of education, we are designing curriculum around the landscape and the people who are living it every day.

If I could make the life of one teacher easier, I’m doing my job. But, why stop at just one when you can make life easier for all teachers?