I’m Human, I’m a Teacher

Ok I am not making this blog post a rant. I am writing this blog post from the heart. I can get mad and rant and post stuff to my facebook or twitter account (I started a small one after reading the article that sparked this post today), or I can collect my thoughts and share.  I am doing the latter.

So where do I start? Budget cuts or test scores or removing teacher’s right or firing teachers? How about I start here: The state of Alabama wants to change the tenure law.  Right now if a teacher has to go to arbitration he/she still gets paid during his/her leave. Ok I understand where they are going here, but the reports, the comments, the ideas behind it that all teachers are evil are upsetting to me. I hate that no one wants to protect teachers who are innocent, but the way this is written I understand why, just look at how the reporter portrays teachers.

I am sadden by the way people view teachers.  We are educated professionals.  Period. Education is a 4 year degree. You cannot do it with out. Not only a 4 year degree BUT a specialized degree that only focuses on our profession.  How many careers can say that?

It is amazing to see how the bodies of our government are treating the education system.  Why are people without teaching degrees making decisions about what happens in our school systems? Why are teachers having “rallies” to try to keep their retirement? Really?

We have test scores to hold us accountable. Well here is the deal, we are HUMANS teaching HUMANS.  Just like I cannot MAKE you jump off a bridge, I cannot MAKE a kid sit and try his/her best on a test.

We are humans. Period. I am saddened by the way media, community gossip, politicians, and interest groups draw a picture of us.  I am saddened that the education system is not respected enough that teachers get a voice in it. We are professionals who do teach because it is our life not because it is a job. Believe me no one would do this if it was just a job.

How are we supposed to get the best of the best to enter the profession if we make it sound like it is a second rate job? The future of our country in on the line here. We need the best to teach our future leaders to be better.

To my fellow teachers out there, I hope this is just a phase our country is going through (isn’t that the excuse we give to kids being disrespectful some times?). Keep your heads up, your students love and respect you, and eventually will be grateful for the impact you had on their lives.  Please keep fighting for reform, respect, and our children’s future. We are humans, I am not sure of a stronger more resilient species, are you?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. zeebe says:

    I am a former teacher, now stay at home dad. I agree, teachers are getting bashed, but I disagree with tenure. Tenure looks good on paper, but I know of teachers who are out there and should not be. I have seen the young teacher, first or second year who puts more effort into teaching their class than a teacher who has been at the district 15-20 years, yet when budget issues happen, who get’s fired first? The young excited teacher. Which is wrong. I think when good teachers hear of the bashing of teachers, they immediately think they are being bashed. No, the lifetime teacher who only cares about getting 3 months off in the summer, who only cares about making the next level for the MONEY, not to help the students, who only teaches for their own selfish needs, not the students. Those are the teachers that I think of when I hear people bash teachers. There might not be a lot of them in Alabama, not sure, I live in MN, and there are a lot of them here!

  2. Nancy Stuewe says:

    Good rant, one worth repeating!

  3. RKnsnr says:

    As a teacher, I see more and more expectation from parents every year, to teach their kids what those kids should have learned at home a long time ago. Schools in our area have been putting more effort on encouraging self-esteem than teaching self-discipline. It’s come to the point that our kids (and many of our parents) have a sense of entitlement and think that we have to find a way to make them ‘pass’ or we’re not doing our jobs. We cannot be blamed for everything. Where the heck are the parents? Are they teaching their kids anything at home? Don’t they feel some sense of responsibility in teaching their kids self-discipline and self respect?

    I think teachers need to realize that the way today’s kids think and learn has changed quite a bit since we were in their shoes. They have been raised sitting in front of TV’s, video games, and computers. That old saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” holds some weight here. Even the best of teachers lose interest in a lecture within the first 10 minutes, and if you consider how kids have been stimulated non-stop, with never-ending sounds and visuals and immediate response to the push of a button, they have GOT to be bored stiff sitting in desks all day, in neat little rows, with pencils in their hands and paper on their desktops. It’s like teaching some of them a foreign language. Teachers need to get on board. The technology train is not going to move backward. And schools that claim to be tech friendly by purchasing Smart boards and netbooks are taking baby steps. In actuality, smart boards are a waste of state money, unless the KIDS are using them.

    With that in mind, consider our tenured teachers. How old ARE some of them? Have they grown with what’s going on in the world? Are kids still learning out of books? Or are skills being applied to actual things that today’s kids do? If we’re not engaging them, it’s a problem. And I’m willing to bet that a number of tenured teachers are NOT engaging their students. They are simply going through the motions, because they’re not motivated to doing much else. Tenure makes it too easy to “get the job done”.

    I teach in a private high school and it is in the contract of every one of my school’s teachers that we can be dismissed at any time if we’re not fulfilling our duties. Add to that the fact that my colleagues and I not even close to making half of what the public school teachers in our area are making. And because we are a Catholic school, many of our faculty members are doing the jobs of 2-3 people. How motivated do you think we are?

    We actually love what we do. We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t. The reward isn’t about our salaries, or our health benefits (which we pay half of.) And it certainly isn’t the retirement package. (ha) It’s that we’re making a difference. Our funding is not provided by the state. It’s provided by our students and alumni (who are PROUD of this school) and it is spent on utility bills, teacher salaries, maintenance, and tuition assistance. I don’t use a textbook for any of my classes, (I have four preps every day.) My lessons are real world skills in my technology class, and the internet is our resource. It’s free, it’s real, it’s up-to-date, and it is application based. It might mean my work day is 10 hours long, but if that makes me a better teacher, it’s a fair trade.

    I just don’t understand the point of tenure. It just means positions aren’t opening for enthusiastic and fresh-minded educators because they’re filled with old ideas and “traditional” teaching methods.

    Teaching is NOT a second rate job. But for schools to do the jobs they need to do, they need to get rid of second-rate teachers. They need to focus their money on what the KIDS need to learn, and not aesthetics and athletics. And they need to accept the fact that their roles (and their students) are changing.

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