One of my interests, outside of food, travel, four-wheeling, books, sustainable farming, politics and whole host of other things is teaching and our educational system. As such, this blog will take many twists and turns based on what I am reading, currently interested in or just obsessed with for the day. Bear with me!
I have just entered my first full-blown, take a deep breath and dive, full-time semester as a graduate student seeking my M.S. in education and teaching licensure in Earth Science Teaching for High School. Hence the Blackboard on my banner. Most teachers that I tell this to that are working in schools shudder when I tell them this and proceed to tell me all the reasons why I should not be a teacher. I have noticed that I am the only student in my program who is seeking licensure in high school science. Most everyone is elementary or middle school bound, which I feel speaks well for my employment!
I have noticed a huge disparity between working teachers and professors of education. Working teachers are jaded, cynical, sometimes bitter and generally fed up with their profession. A lot of them are seeking early retirement and increasingly frustrated with administration and the ever increasing sense of scrutiny. The blame for grades is no longer on the student but is now placed almost entirely on the teacher. Is this right? I don’t believe it is, but it is part of our current educational system, which working teachers believe is largely broken.
I don’t know a lot of the politics behind teaching which is driving the growing resentment of teachers today, which I’m sure will change in a hurry, but I do know that the general consensus by Congress is that the No Child Left Behind Act is broken legislation which does not work. However, there is nothing with which to replace it at this moment in time.
The professors, on the other hand, are largely dynamic, interactive, excited and enthusiastic. They deliver a message of hope and seem to be genuinely excited about the potential for massive overhaul and positive change within our educational system. They are abreast on current readings, active in the educational community and their enthusiasm is contagious.
It’s hard, when you have your nose pressed firmly against the glass, to actually see what’s on the other side. For all you teachers out there that meet the description from paragraph two, I’d like to share this with you: You’re not alone. The entire U.S. with maybe the exception of Apple is jaded. Every profession is frantically seeking ways to be profitable and make do with less, which translates to added stress on the workers across the board. Everyone is stressed. Not just the educators. There has been a general commodification of basic professional services and we are in the grip of a conversely bizarre situation where common sense tells us to save our money even as our leaders are begging us to spend!
Will things get better? Of course they will. One thing that we have proven time and again in this country is our ability to rise over adversity and this recession, which has been intangibly linked to our educational system, will be overcome.