So, recently, I’ve had a couple people say to me that it seems like I am unhappy in my profession. Their comments were pertaining to other social media sites that I partake in from time to time. Nonetheless, it totally threw me for a loop… both times. But it also got me thinking, “am I really being that negative??” I mean, most of the things I choose to share publicly are really just your “basic teacher lounge talk.” Eh, maybe it’s just one of those things where if you’re not in the industry “in crowd,” then you just don’t get it.
Let’s suppose that it IS just “a teacher thing,” as opposed to a “me thing” and take an objective look at the current state of education. It is so incredibly dynamic right now. The #1 thing on the mind of people is how we can best reach out to our children. This is wonderful thing! But it seems everyone and their moms have their own take and refuse to listen or compromise. The egotism that is occurring on the political front of education does not farewell for the people on the REAL front lines… the teachers. And the students. Putting undue pressure on teachers to “use this strategy,” “collect this data,” “do it this way,” or “stop curriculum and review for the test” builds tighter and tighter coils of stress in the bodies and minds of teachers. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. For students, too. I’ve actually had students tell me about how this pressure is stressful to them, and it’s really affecting them in ways that general society apparently cannot understand. It’s physically and emotionally detrimental to both these parties alike, and people don’t care… it’s all about comparing one child to another rather than focusing on the WHOLE of each child.
Soooo… if you know of a teacher that comes off as negative, just remember that every person in every job needs a release. Every person can’t be sunshine and roses ALL of the time. That said, as working professionals, we know there’s a time and a place for everything which includes places to vent our frustrations. If we didn’t feel like it was a “safe” place or that it was “inappropriate,” we wouldn’t say it at all. Or, maybe I should just not say anything and keep it bottled up…
Oh, who am I kidding?! I can’t do that. I’m too much of a what David Suzuki would call a “shit disturber.” Sometimes it’s necessary to start the conversations people are most afraid to talk about. Education is definitely one of those topics that people are scared to talk about.
One of these such conversations that must be squared out centers on the real issues of education… and, contrary to popular belief, what/how teachers teach is not the biggest issue anymore. Bottom line, here’s the positive thing, standards of education and what we teach has drastically improved. This is what I wish people would realize. But, no, the biggest issues really lie in addressing those factors that inhibit or make a teacher’s job challenging. Many of these most challenging issues are centered around social reform; teachers in many cases are having to act like second parents because the kids’ primary parents aren’t around. Having to tend to such emotional needs takes away from already limited classroom time, thus taking away from academic time. Absentee parents (because they’re working multiple jobs to provide basic necessities), students taking care of their siblings, students not doing homework (because they’re possibly taking care of their siblings), inability to access computers/printers, etc. Folks, right now, it’s time to take a step back and let the trained, college-educated professionals do what they do best. Stop bombarding them with unnecessary student comparisons and just let them teach their content. And society? Time to take action and help teachers by making the changes to provide for students and their families, so that focus can TRULY be on school and no other worries.
I guess the question remains, are we ready for this?? It’s something that runs through my mind on a daily basis and it seems like there’s no fix in sight. I guess because of that teacher humor may be portrayed as cynical, but instead of judging just talk. That’s all we want. To just talk about.