So… I folded and decided to start this blog. Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on punctuation, so all of my English teacher friends please forgive me! For a lot of my “friends” on social media, this may be extremely boring for you to continue to read: at least you don’t have to continue to see my rants on Facebook! Please refer to the “About” page to understand the background of the blog. I’m really stinkin’ busy, so I doubt I even update this blog very much, but who knows?
I decided that I can’t sit back and continue to let education get “reformed”, without voicing my opinion. At the beginning of this semester I started my M.Ed. in Educational Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision. As I began to write the enormous amount of papers about education, I had a professor that challenged the class to think outside of the box. Instead of solely complaining about the changes in education; I began to become a “student of education” and research the changes. I really have become a fan of a couple of blogs that are based in Oklahoma. Whenever I receive permission from these blogs, I will advertise them here.
As a second year teacher, I have really started to understand why there is such a high burnout rate for educators. The bottom line is that extremely important education issues, are being determined by non-educators. Educators are overworked and underpaid more than any other time. I’m not going to get into all of the legislation that has thumped us, but if you would like to know, please just ask.
I believe that one of the most discouraging aspects of public education is: the constant uneducated scrutiny from the public. I don’t mean “uneducated” in a derogatory meaning. Instead, I just mean that the public is educated by the wrong sources: media, legislators, and corporate America. As an educator, it is difficult to undergo judgement by those with no professional, clinical, or subject knowledge of your day-to-day operations.
While discussing this with my wife, I came to the conclusion that teachers are inaccurately judged by the public, because: 1)Individuals are referencing one or two “bad” teachers that they had in the past, and are generalizing that experience to the profession. 2)Every public member attended school, and this has created a “reference point” to create an illusion that the public has substantive information to place judgement. I would like to address reason number 2.
Every individual has been shaped by their experience in school. For this reason, whenever they think about the current education landscape, they reference their personal experience. This is a great way to start, but it doesn’t address the fact that education is a constantly evolving creature. If you step inside an elementary school classroom today, it would look VASTLY different than the elementary classroom that I grew up in the 90’s! For example, I was instructed primarily through rote memorization. Today, you would see teachers engaging students in instruction that entails every learning style. It truly is an art form to watch a teacher, so specialized at their craft, instructing a classroom of 15 students; while instructing an intervention group of 5 students at the same time! Likewise, the amount of specialized skills that secondary teachers possess is outstanding! I understand that there are some teachers who are not as effective as they used to be, but I truly believe that these are few and far between. If you don’t believe me, please just observe a classroom for 5 minutes, and you will be amazed!
Now back to the burn-out discussion. I was feeling so overwhelmed and furious about comments that were made from our governor and State “Superintendent” a month ago (I’ll save these for a future post), that I felt like I wanted to quit! I knew that I wasn’t going to quit, but I still had to complain to my wife. She lovingly looked at me and stated, “Look, you can quit if you want to, but I’m not. MY kids need me.” Talk about a foot-in-mouth moment! Please reread that statement and understand the ownership that this teacher has for these children. It really made me stop and realize that I’m tired of listening to our “leaders”, that aren’t educators, control how I am feeling about education. I am in this profession to do what the tagline of this blog says: I want to use my presence to change students’ lives.
I will go into detail about specific education topics later on, but for now please think about what the media and (some) legislators are feeding you. Remember that education isn’t what it used to be, and in the future it won’t be what it is now. When it comes time to vote, ask a couple of teachers about their opinions. Lastly, thank a teacher, because I truly feel that they are driven by what my wife stated: “MY kids need me”.