Teacher Bashing

Posted: 2011/02/27 in Classroom Teacher, Education

Almost since I began teaching I’ve been troubled by the disrespect. I’ve never felt disrespected by administrators or colleagues or parents. Sometimes there’s a student who hasn’t worked through their anger at daddy and they may lash out in some way — but I’ve never felt disrespected by my students.

It’s politicians and businesspeople who go around bashing teachers. Don’t you know teachers are just lazy, in it for the long vacations, not willing to put in real effort for students? They only become teachers because of the job security, and unions are just there to protect incompetents. Right?

Here’s the reality, folks: I’ve never before had colleagues who cared so much about their work, who knew how important it was for them to succeed, who were willing to put in extra effort, go further, spend more time, and always worry that they haven’t done enough. Among the many things I didn’t expect when I became a teacher at age 50 — not only the dedication but the brainpower and smarts of my colleagues.

Politicians say teachers need more training. There is no other job that requires so much education for such a meager salary. Instead of teachers wasting time on rote professional development, how about having the politicians and “business leaders” job shadow teachers for a week to learn the reality.

Even Oprah Winfrey has joined the teacherbashing. She promoted the movie “Waiting for Superman” on her TV show and nodded sagely as one of her guests described the teachers and their unions: It’s like a building is on fire and at 3 o’clock the firemen say their shift is up and they’re going home.

No, Oprah, that’s not what it’s like. It’s like we’re out there sweating blood, doing everything we humanly can to put out these fires, but the hoses are falling apart the water pressure has slowed to a trickle.

BTW: I just read about teachers reporting on increased hunger in their classrooms. Sixty percent of those teachers then reported they had spent their own money to help feed some students. Just thought it was worth mentioning.

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