I have been a public school k12 teacher for what? All of five minutes. I have stood in my classroom with no students. I began reading books to prepare for my novels class I am teaching. I an working on the fine tuning like getting an email address set up and getting an id badge. But hey ya’ll I am a public school teacher. What that means apparently is I am open to the public critics, ridicule and even to blame for all the educational issues that exist in the world.
So we are clear, I have been a teacher in the public for approximately most of my life. I have always naturally taken that role in social groups and in life. Now I can do it with an official license which if I am honest is really just a license that says I can be really bossy when I need to be in my classroom because I know what I am doing in this subject. That is all that has changed. I have worked in a public university for the last two years. I loved every minute of it, but so the public knows I worked for them there too.
I can’t tell if the issue is because k-12 education is under attack or because I am working in a “new” environment that is being created which means change and change is hard no matter how you slice it. Yes I am a high school teacher, but what I bring to that position is college teaching experience and the knowledge and ability about how to teach about rhetoric and composition. I also have the ability to work within a community of university officials to ensure my students understand they have to meet high college standards so I can prove I do my job. If those standards are met, they get college credit. If they don’t that is okay too. Maybe the environment I try and create is not right for them. I am not expert but I am willing to try.
That is the red tape of my job that the state, the university and my bosses say I have to do, but what I do more than anything is take accountability for each and every student that will walk through my classroom door. Every student can do it, if they want to I will help them. If they don’t, it won’t be from lack of trying on my part. I don’t teach for the glory or ability to get a paycheck. I never did.
Therefore, those of you that think teachers are too blame, don’t. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what you are doing to fix it? Are you contacting politicians or standing for what you believe is right when it comes to education? If not, maybe you should. Are you involved in your school systems? If not, why not? Or let’s look even closer, “Are you an active parent and a responsible role model?”
Yes some may say I am a glorified baby sitter and others might just think I am a pain in their ass. And maybe I am both, who knows? What I do know is I didn’t break the education system. I am only trying to fix what I feel I have the ability and voice to do so. I ask then that you please forward any and all complaints to the appropriate channel which should translate into someone who can change them. Or get off your duff and change what you have the ability to change yourself.
What that means is as a parent I sit in PTO meetings that drag on forever. Or I go to school board meetings that sometimes put me to sleep. I make my kids do their homework and read their books. At all times I maintain open communication with those that teach them and that as a parent they have me as a supporter to them in the classroom. However, as a teacher I promise to be that dedicated as well. I will sit with your kid and help them understand Speak or a grammar lesson from English 9. I will show them insightful ways to think about writing. But I cannot do it alone.
The hardest part of being any part of education is just how unable you are to fix what is broke. And yes most of the time we can see that is it broke. It isn’t that we don’t want to fix it or that we ignore the fact that the public has so much misconception about what it is teachers roles truly are. It is that we need support from you, you and you. How do you support? You vote. You voice your concerns in to the people that are supposed to listen. You support education and the education of your children. You support your schools.
The best part for me is seeing the differences I make in those I teach. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t always work, but it will never not work because I didn’t try. Why does the same not apply to life when we want to see things change? I had a weight problem, so I fixed it by losing weight. The formula is easy. You just gotta commit to it. Now what are you doing to try and help? It is time to stop complaining, to stop ridiculing, to stop blaming and to step up and do something.
And if you come at me again wanting to tell me what you think of my job, my role in your life I will direct you back here and then we can talk.