Valerie Strauss, on her The Answer Sheet blog at The Washington Post, often posts insightful perspectives on teaching that teachers and non-teachers alike should read. Her latest, titled “You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.,” written by a former teacher, now lawyer, Sarah Blaine, struck a chord in me as she so eloquently states in the following.
“The problem with teaching as a profession is that every single adult citizen of this country thinks that they know what teachers do. And they don’t. So they prescribe solutions, and they develop public policy, and they editorialize, and they politicize. And they don’t listen to those who do know. Those who could teach. The teachers.”
My comment on Sarah’s post follows. I made it to lend credence to her commentary from a complementary, and complimentary, perspective.
“Well said, Sarah. You nailed the primary reason so many people self-righteously judge teachers and teaching. I suffered from this affliction prior to transitioning into my second career as a teacher. Walking a mile in a teacher’s shoes for the past three years or so cured me from my woefully inadequate understanding of what it means to be one. My story is the reverse of yours: I worked for 25 years in high-tech as a respected professional with an electrical engineering degree and an MBA before following my newfound passion. Now, making only 20% of my prior income, while working harder in more emotionally draining ways for longer hours, I am viewed critically by students, parents, and admins alike simply by being a public school teacher: for some, it seems I am a public servant who needs to be subservient. If our country is to remain great, we must elevate teaching rather than denigrate, or debase, it; otherwise, new teachers, whether like you as a youthful entrant or me, as a second-career professional, will leave the profession in even faster rates than today. http://mathequality.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/i-wou…“
If only President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, congressional representatives, senators, governors, and others who influence, draft, propose, legislate, support, or enforce education policy recognized they lack the requisite insights before jumping on the proverbial bandwagon. One can only wish.
Let’s hope the following drivel emanating from these folks slows sometime soon. If history holds any lessons though, my hope will likely be unanswered.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS). No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Race to the Top (RttT). Teacher Accountability. High Expectations. College for All.
While these may sound proper and just, they are simply slick sounding phrases and names selected to evoke a positive association with complex legislation that benefits a select few over the true needs of the many. It is simply political and economic subterfuge at its best.