Friday, March 1, 2013

An Educational Warning

I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value.

Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.

One of my pet peeves is hearing, from folks who have never taught a class, done a degree in education,  have children in school, or even have an immediate family member who's a teacher talk to them about the challenges they face, talk about everything that teachers are doing wrong and how they're singularly responsible for the failure of national education.

I've been on a plane many times, both domestically and internationally. Perhaps I should tell the FAA everything they're doing wrong and why.

I've been in restaurants many times. Perhaps I should tell the server how her boss is running the business badly.

I've even been in a court room (just the once, for traffic school). Perhaps I should tell lawyers why they're inscrutable and immoral and what's wrong with the legal system.

Unless you're actually ensconced in a particular field, you simply cannot know everything that's involved. This is not to say that one can't see some of the things that are wrong, but to presume that it's as simple as requiring more teacher training, or higher pay, or eliminating tenure, or or or or or...well, those responses don't address all the minutiae that teachers face. And telling us how to do our job that we've trained for and worked hard at, that you have absolutely no knowledge of, is condescending and dismissive. 

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