It is disheartening and demotivating to read and hear the constant barrage of negatives being heaped on our schools, our teachers and administrators, and especially our children and young people. As a teacher, I work with some fabulous teenagers who are smart, polite, personable and caring. They simply don't take life as seriously as we adults but they are getting the message and the knowledge.
Education is life at every stage. I love my job and the kids I work with every day. Most teachers are good people, very knowledgeable, and care deeply about the lives they touch each day. They spend a lot of time continuously educating themselves, taking time away from family. As a community of parents, professionals, taxpayers for public education, we really need to take a close look at what our public schools are accomplishing with less money, less time, and constantly more regulatory constraints.
The majority of employees in our schools are highly educated, in many cases with as much education and/or experience as their managers. A gas company can function with a lot of laborers and drivers and a few top educated or experienced managers; restaurants and motels function with a couple managers and a lot more servers and housekeepers at a lower wage. But if we try to run schools like business, we will fail.
In their pursuit of federal tax dollars, our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries. It is with sad reluctance that I say our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students by establishing testing and evaluation systems that are Byzantine at best and at worst, draconian. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.
After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession; in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates' hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered."
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom