Teachers are not the enemy of education reform

There is a very popular idea that teachers do not want their students to be successful. That educators are really at fault for what ails the failing education system. Additionally, there is the popular belief that those who have money have the answers. And finally, popular opinion is that newer, younger teachers are better than more experienced teachers who may or may not have tenure.

I am going to do something that I have refrained from doing on We of Hue. I am going to be blunt and direct. That is, I will sum up the above notions in one word:

Bullshit!

Because you see, I am a Teacher. An Educator. And a Parent, which encompasses both. I became a High School teacher through an alternative certification program and went back to the Bronx where I was raised to teach at Harry S Truman High School. While there, I had the pleasure of working with some amazing educators who are dedicated, exhausted, innovative, and frustrated. I have had the pleasure of dealing with some extremely compassionate administrators who, despite their personal ideologies, were forced to adhere to the guidelines put forth not by experienced educators, but by politicians who have never stepped foot in a classroom, yet alone a public school. Furthermore, I have had the spirit-crushing opportunity to meet with parents who were unwilling to actively participate in their child’s education in anyway. I have had my efforts to step outside the box and introduce new techniques of learning and teaching be hindered by the test-centered efforts of NCLB. I have been bogged down by administrative paperwork for five classes of 34 students each. I have taught students who had amazing potential but were forced to choose between being smart or fitting in- students who needed extra attention but had to compete with the extremely divided attention of their teacher. Students who needed more support and guidance than any school could possible provide as their home lives were not providing the support they needed outside the classroom.

The problem is not the teachers.

Read the rest of this article on We of Hue.

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2 comments

  1. Hi! I first “saw” you on the Secular homeschooling forums, where I found your link to this blog, and I want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog – this post especially. My partner and I both teach at community colleges here (she teaches English, I teach anthropology), and she’s also a union representative, so we’re both aware of and actively working against the current “blame the teacher” stuff/crowd. I also want to thank you for putting in 5 good years for your students in the system. I’ve started reading some of Kozol’s books (“The Shame of the Nation” and “Savage Inequalities”), and I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like to try to work in the Bronx in the PS system.
    Anyway, I’m glad to be able to read about your experiences and learn from them.
    And –
    😎 You Totally Rock!!!! πŸ˜€
    Best,
    Erika (Lucypith)

    • Thank you so much Erika. Your comment is quite touching and gives me way more credit than I deserve! I am awe of good teachers who continue to teach and rage against the machine while their jobs are constantly threatened. I praise you for your dedication, compassion, and willingness to explore the ugly truths about education. If you have not already, I highly recommend Diane Ravitch’s latest book (The fall of the American Education System or something like that). Teaching in PS in the Bronx was stressful but more so because of the admin and politicians rather than the students…. ugh, I could go on for days!

      I will definitely check out your blog too! Thanks for commenting and connecting with me!

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