Why would anyone teach?

My sister, Debbie, and me. Circa: the years I tortured her.

 When I was in second grade, I used to take the extra dittos out of Mr. O'Malley's trash can and bring them home to "play school" with my sister. She would always fail her work because she is about 3 years younger than I am. I would require her to get a parent signature, and my sweet sister would drop her head and shamefully head to the kitchen to get our mom to sign her worksheet. It wasn't long before my sister would run away from me and cry out, "I don't want to play school!" Many of us in the teaching profession tortured our siblings before we became real teachers who don't torture our students!

I think that many of us were born to be teachers. We recognized at an early age that we naturally have an inclination to lead a classroom. I imagine it is the way some kids pretend they are police officers, firemen, or doctors. My youngest daughter has wanted to be a teacher since she was in pre-school (She is now twelve). I was so proud when she told me this year after year, but now I worry about her in a field that has politicians and business people making uninformed decisions that impact students and teachers. In this article, California teacher, asks, "Why would anyone teach?"

He notes the highly reported teacher shortage in our country. Why the shortage? Perhaps parents, like me, are dissuading their kids from the field. I told my daughter that if she still wants to be a teacher, she will need to have a dual major. You just can't be limited to education in these times. It breaks my heart.

Crosby notes many concerns that I also have about the teaching field, as well:

“It wasn’t that long ago that the concept of site-based management was seriously championed as a way to involve teachers in the decision-making process at a school. But that grand idea vanished."

“So, education bureaucrats continue to mandate so-called reforms such as Common Core standards and standardized testing that teachers are expected to deliver with little input…."

“Let’s face it. We all hope that selfless people join the military to protect our country. We all hope that decent people become firefighters and police officers to protect our society. And we all hope that quality people join the teaching ranks to mold our future commodity — children."

“But hoping will only get so far. If schools expect a line outside human resources of people applying for jobs, then a major overhaul of the teaching profession has to happen. And it will take teachers themselves to blast the clarion call since those in the upper echelon of education show no interest in changing the status quo."

I worry about working conditions for my daughter, because I have seen mine decline with the overwhelming increase in state mandated paperwork, which my 8th graders would surely call busy work. We used to use our prep time for grading, dreaming up new ideas for lessons, setting up projects and labs, and other details that make the learning experience better for kids. Even though my district has tried to develop ways to help teachers manage this busy work, it is copious and demoralizing. It is not only statistically invalid, but it is shameful that we know this and still have to play along.

Why would a system be designed that would create a teacher shortage? Perhaps the bureaucrats who think that Teach for America's untrained, but well-intended volunteers, who give a 2 year commitment, are good enough for public school kids (Of course their children go to private schools, no doubt.) Perhaps they think that public school kids deserve blended learning, flipped classrooms, and on-line learning, while their children get small class sizes and a passionate, well-treated teacher in every classroom.

I don't want a volunteer corps of teachers for my future grandchildren. All children deserve the best, not a two tier system, where those who can afford it are Common Core and high stakes free. Make your voice heard if you agree. Since the citizens of the United States have NEVER been asked to vote on these ideas, our loudest and most powerful voice comes from opting our children out of PSSA's (or whatever state tests your state uses).

I think my sister has forgiven me for my inexperienced teacher torture, but there is no excuse for what our government is doing to our public schools today. It will take a long time for me to forgive them, but probably not as long as it will take for them to admit their mistakes and return public schools to the people.

So, why would anyone teach? Why do so many of us stay?
It is simple, we stay for the kids.

My daughter in my classroom after school... hopefully, she will have her own public school classroom someday.


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