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A concerned member of the human race

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If Teaching Is No Longer a Viable Profession...

As public education is driven ever more towards the realm of the business world and big tests, it loses much of its meaning for me.  My worth cannot be measured largely by the high-stakes test scores of my students.  Neither can the worth of my students be measured in such a way.  As to some charter schools, I  don't teach to make profits for someone else or pay the huge salary of a CEO.  I became a teacher to help kids.   Teaching to a test is superficial.  It does more to hurt kids, especially when Common-Core tests are designed to slaughter young minds.  It does not create the kind of lasting memories, we would we wish for our own children.

I first thought I might become a teacher when I was in elementary school.  It wasn't to prep kids.  I loved crafts.  In second grade, we made pillows.  Since I loved ice skating, I cross-stitched an ice skate on my pillow, not a #2 pencil.  I naturally thought:  How great it must to be paid to do things like this for life!  How great it must be to exercise your creativity and earn your living by making little children happy!

                        Out of the tragedy of 1961, a phoenix rose over the ice of Grenoble!

I gave that pillow to my brother as a gift.  For me, school and life seem to be so much about making things and giving them to other people.  As a teacher, I try to exercise creativity.  Now, I do so with higher-order thinking skills.  I would never teach someone else's lesson.  I share knowledge.  I encourage my students to do the same.  I try to ask the right questions.  I like to watch people think.  I like to watch people grow.  I don't like to watch people take tests.                             

I often wonder these days, if teaching had not been a viable option, what profession might I have chosen.  Where else can you be paid enough money to pay your bills and simultaneously exercise creativity with kids, craft things, share your knowledge and try to bring people together.  I'm not sure.  It bears further research.  Teaching seemed the obvious choice.  It is seems less so with every passing year of "reform."

Sometimes, I think there'd be no place in the world for people like me.  Yet, there are still children.  And as long as I can still shut my doors, I will do my best to survive this era of deform.  Children are not test scores.  Children need  caring teachers, not test-prep machines.  They need to learn how to think, not prep.  If ed. "reform" continues, we not only lose good teachers (fifty percent of teachers quit after five years), we endanger the futures of so many young people.  Public education is not a commodity.  Our children's futures must not be bought and sold.  The teaching "profession" is critical to the survival of humanity as we know it.  There may come a day when it is no longer a viable option...

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