I liken blogs to Radio Londres, free wavelengths in a world of media largely controlled by corporate interests. Over these free "wavelengths," one senses solidarity in opposition to teacher denigration, standardized testing, the Common Core, the corporate takeover of education, data mining and threatening charters with reams of data that tell a lie. An "Education Spring" seems in the offing, a time when the democratic voices of millions no longer count for less than the voice of one with millions.
Yet, I have wondered along with my colleagues, what if things don't change for the better? What if everything remains the same, or gets worse? What would I tell a child who wants to become a teacher some day?
Do I tell her, "you must be crazy"?:
1. You're not the measure of your students' test scores.
2. If you desire creativity, you'll be stymied every step of the way. In survival mode, teaching has become test prep.
3. You'll risk being replaced by a computer, or risk being sent like a P.O.C. (Prisoner of Closure, a.k.a., A.T.R.) from school to school.
4. You'll have to game the system.
5. You'll be blamed for society's ills by people with loose millions spilling from their pockets into the right hands.
...Or, do I tell her, "Fight the good fight!":
1. Let them put an APPR# upon you, if it pleases them. It is a brand of their own shame.
2. When the doors are closed, kick the review books a country mile and watch students shine, freed from the shadow of a standardized test.
3. The-less-than-dependable technology will surely fail. Your voice will be needed in the classroom. Placing fancy I-pads in the hands of students won't end their poverty, neither will firing their teachers.
4. Perhaps, you can game the system that games the system.
5. Turn a mirror at your foes and ask these modern-day Ethan Brands if the "unpardonable sin" doesn't lurk within their own breasts. Does a humble classroom teacher trying to help over thirty students succeed really perpetuate poverty in the United States?
6. Educate your students to ask questions. Soldiers are supposed to follow orders. Citizens must question them. You must fight the good fight and help win this war over education. "This story shall the good man teach his son"...or daughter (Henry V).
In the meantime, after I tuck the children in each night, I'll attempt to defy all constraints of time and energy, doing what I can with the resources I have available to make sure that we never need to have this conversation. Yours Truly, Bloody but Unbowed.