Sometimes you just have to vent…and this is the night. So I give you plenty of warning to go to another post. I’m not usually one to complain or focus on the negative. Life’s too short for that. And while this is not aimed at a specific political party, it does involve the goings on of our state and federal government. So again, warning. This is your last chance to escape.
I will never understand the lack of respect that our leaders give the teaching profession. There is much talk in my state about bills that will be considered this session. Since our legislature only meets every other year, we always share a collective sigh of relief when the politicians are done for another two years. Until now, we have managed to escape the veritable voucher, designed to make teachers and schools more accountable for their teaching by giving families choice. If you’re a teacher, I don’t have to tell you the potential harm this option could be for public schools. And with more talk about it and other education cut-backs, I cannot comprehend how any of these could be a good idea.
Last month, I attended a lovely dinner with some long-time friends. They know I teach in a Title I school and am constantly under pressure to take care of precious teenagers. When one of these lovely people, and then a second, third, and fourth lamented about how “the failing public schools need to be fixed”, I just sat there. Immediately, they realized the impact of their comments and back-pedaled, asking how my work was going, etc. I responded, unable to contain my frustration. “None of you sent your children to public school, so I get frustrated when I hear you say this. What exactly does fixing the public schools look like?” I won’t go on about the conversation, but it included questions about my salary, benefits, parent involvement. They couldn’t believe that our legislature was proposing cutting the state’s contribution to insurance coverage or the fact that the latest bill is to change our pension plan. “They can’t do that!”
Yes, they can. And with the temper of the times, I would not be surprised if they do. But it all cycles back to my initial question. Why does this profession get such little respect? How can we hope to retain our phenomenal professional, both young and old, when society sees this profession as something that has to be fixed? Who will speak up for all these young thinkers who deserve the right to a first-class education.
I know it’s my responsibility to speak up for myself, and I will- and more than just through my blog. And I challenge you to do the same.