It’s a Scary Time to be a Teacher

It’s a scary time to be a teacher.

  • Teachers in Wisconsin have just lost their long-held right to bargain collectively, and other states are considering similar measures.
  • Teacher tenure has come under heavy attack.  A surprising number of critics assert (foolishly, we think) that if only the worst teachers in each school could be replaced, student achievement would suddenly increase in spades and test scores would rival those in other countries.
  • Teachers are being told implicitly (and explicitly in many cases) that because they are ineffective, we need to look completely outside the fold of teaching and find alternate routes of licensing new teachers who can “fix this mess we’re in.”   We believe alternate pathways can be effectively designed, but let’s not forget there are tens of thousands of already-licensed teachers in our communities who are unable to find work in the field.
  • Teachers are forced to prepare students for a growing battery of standardized tests, tests that can’t measure the most important aspects of what it means to be educated.
  • Teacher pay systems across the country are being re-written.  While we agree that there is much to be improved upon in typical contracts, we are disheartened that so many critics think a better system involves linking pay to student performance on tests.
  • And all of the above-mentioned challenges come with dramatically increasing class sizes, decreased funding at state and national levels, and the list goes on.

We stand with all those teachers across the country who continue to do amazing things for and with the children in their classrooms, in spite of all the maddening developments.

But let us not forget that it is also a good time to be a teacher.

  • Every day our students look to us for help and leadership
  • Every day we get to invest our whole being in nurturing kids
  • Every day we help shape the future of our communities

Any day we have the opportunity to help, educate, mold, and inspire our youth is a darn good day.
Kyle Pederson & Joe Cotter, teachers and founders of Learner’s Edge

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This entry was posted in Edge-ifying, General Education, Inspiration, Interesting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It’s a Scary Time to be a Teacher

  1. Michael Becker says:

    Did you know that last year in Wisconsin, collective bargaining caused the Outstanding First Year Teacher to lose her job, one week after winning her award. Don’t sit and talk about how bad it is to lose collective bargaining, when you know it causes bad things to happen to. I bet without collective bargaining that first year teacher would have been able to increase some test scores, don’t you?

  2. Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. Our hope was not to necessarily rule in favor of or against collective bargaining, but rather to empathize with the anti-teacher rhetoric that has been happening in our country (which includes the collective bargaining being taken away in Wisconsin). No matter what, we want good teachers to stay in the classroom and to continue to make an impact.

  3. Tom Butler says:

    The same thing happened in California, Michael, with the outstanding new teacher – who was laid off after receiving the award. I don’t think this angst is directed so much at teachers as it is at the public employees union. Unfortunately the teachers are so closely identified with the union (or vice versa) that the angst spills over onto them. If you ask people, most would say they don’t want to be a teacher because the work is too hard (most parents have fewer than 20 children at home, day in and day out), hours too long, pay is too low, and the pressures too great. In this country, we fail to recognize the fantastic job our teachers are doing in forming our children. Instead we put more and more non-curricular requirements on teachers – high-stakes testing, teach anti-bullying, appropriate use of technology, socialization, say no to drugs, etc., etc., etc. It’s a wonder that teachers have any time to teach! God bless them all for all the work they’re doing.

    I can’t help but wonder, however, if teachers professional organizations /unions talked more about children and learning what impact would that have on our perception of teachers? Unions are focused on maximizing wages and benefits (that’s why they were formed, after all). Unfortunately that’s all we hear in these disputes. There is no doubt, none whatsoever, that teachers care about children and want to help them learn. They deserve all the help we can give them. But, sadly, they’re trapped in a conversation that doesn’t talk about children and learning. Until teachers stand up and reshape the conversation, they won’t win the recognition they so richly deserve.

    Again I say, God bless our teachers.

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