IN DEFENSE OF OUR TEACHERS.
Support Your Teachers.
Society today would have you believe that the quality of our Teaching Corps, and the commitment of our teachers are the reasons why our educational system is broken, and in need of repair. I beg to differ.
In defense of our teachers, they are not the reason why grades are down and student morale low. There is enough blame to go around, and I will start from the top with Government officials and School Administrators; after this, I will wind my way slowly to the home. Yes, the parents should share a big part of the blame.
I contend that teachers remain the cornerstone of our future, but they are handicapped, and lack resources and support that they need to do their job. These deficiencies have helped to fuel the dilapidation of our schools systems, and disenfranchisement of our youth.
Formal education in America has a long and storied history, it started with the arrival of the Pilgrims in the early 1600s and continued with the home schooling of children by many colonialist. It was not until 1635 that the first public Schools were opened in Boston, Mass. The Public schools were followed by the creation of “dame” schools and Latin Grammar schools for higher education. Massachusetts was the leader in educational “reform” and they enacted a law in 1642; the law stated that any child not being properly educated, would have to be apprenticed to a trade. Virginia enacted a similar law in 1646.
America’s Pioneers considered teaching an essential part of their young country, and their teacher appreciation was genuine and evident. This appreciation for the role and contribution of teachers continued well into 1647, when the Massachusetts “Old Deluder Satan Act” was enacted, requiring towns of more than 50 families to hire a teacher for reading and writing. Higher learning Schools were established in the early 1700s, and in 1749, Ben Franklin’s concept of an Academy of learning consisted of an English school and a Classical school.
Teaching continued to be a well respected and supported position in the 1800's; teachers were usually young, unmarried females, and they taught their students reading, writing, quizzes and dictation. Teachers were well loved and respected.
The conflicts that we see today about how, what, where and who to teach started in the 1900's. Disagreements surfaced and persisted between theorist and practitioners, about how to approach the education of our youth. The agreements that were reached at that time made it possible for teachers to continue to do their job, but with ever evolving hypothesis, theories and practises.
Parents got involved in the teaching debate in 1897 with the formation of the National PTA and the local PTA's. The PTA's revolutionalized the teaching field, and opened up the classrooms to more scrutiny and oversight. Parents swore to support the teachers and advocate for them to recieve the resources they needed to effectively do their jobs.
While the relationships between the PTA's and the teachers continue to be great and the support was tremendous, some PTA's were highjacked by parents who were more interested in self promotion, and scoring political points. As the support from these isolated PTA's waned in some districts, teachers became more open to criticism and subjective scrutiny.
Schools today are as bankcrupt as the economy that sustains them. Socio-economic crisis within our communities, and the lack of adequate resources has made it next to impossible to meet acedemic standards. Attendance is low in many School districts, and students that make it to school are preoccupied with the economic realities of their families. Divorce rates, bankcrupcies, and reposessions are pre-occupying the minds of our childern, and our teachers are struggling to manage all those pent-up distractions. Despite all they have to manage, and all the distractions that stand in the way of their tutelage, teachers get no recognition.
Society has chosen to label the teacher as the reason for all that's wrong. What makes a teacher responsible for the youth selling crack on the streets of Detroit, or the youth shooting heroin in the underground subway in New York? How is the teacher responsible for the student who sells sex after work in Las Vegas or the one who hangs with the gangs in the neighborhoods of Compton? Where are the Social Workers. the Parents, Law Enforcement, Government officials? Where is the responsibility of these groups to our youth.
The Teacher comes to work everyday and does his/her job; they do their job despite all the bureacratic impediments thay have to contend with. They use mostly outdated curriculum and they have to stay on subject. The teacher is allowed little room for innovation, change, adaptation or creativity, but they are now being evaluated on students perfomance? Should we evaluate parents, law enforcement, social workers and government officials based on same perfomance?
Teachers are heroes; they keep our kids safe, informed, educated and engaged. Teachers go over and above what is expected of them daily, and they do so with a smile; this despite their own personal challenges. Teachers are not the reason why our children struggle in school, society is; communities where students are faring well will tell you this. Student success is acheived through an effective interaction of all the resources the student has at his/her disposal. Parents, Administrators, Teachers, Social workers and the Community have to interact effectively to develop Curicullum that is both interesting and engaging.
Yes, I said it, the problem is not the teacher, it is the curiculum and other resources. Parents have to make themselves available to spend time discussing school work; they need to show more interest in what their children are doing with regard to school work. Whether you do one, two or three jobs, you have to do this, it is a responsibility. The Community, Law enforcement and Government have to come together to support students by creating after school activities; they have to encourage classes that promote knowledge and create an alternative to the street.
Lastly, please re-write your school curicullums; Curiculums should be designed to teach subject matter that is useful and relevant to students aspirations. Students ditch classes or tune out the teacher when the material is percieved as uninteresting or irrelevant to their aspirations. A student will be more apt to score well, when he/she cares about the subject matter. I am also advocating for students to be taught a trade, alongside any college prep courses they may be taking. Any learned trade at the junior and high school level will serve the purpose of keeping students engaged, and teach skills that they can use to augment their parents earnings while still in school.
In conclusion, I encourage all school districts to revisit their attitude towards their teachers; work to restore the prestige, respect and recognition due to the members of this, the worlds noblest profession. Teachers are a gift to us, and we have to cherish and appreciate them daily.
Here's an apple for you, Teacher.