Respecting the Teaching Profession
I’m speaking tonight about the disrespect this SRC and administration routinely have for the in-school teachers and administrators on the front lines in this district.
Years ago, then School Board member Jacques Lurie decided to spend a day following an actual teaching schedule and curriculum at either Northeast or Lincoln High. He emerged from that day and spoke to the press about his renewed respect for the challenging jobs teachers have. And that was after just one day.
There’s a tendency to conflate the word “teaching” with imparting information. There’s a big difference between imparting information and having the skills, talent and tenacity to try different approaches so that the information is learned and retained, with the ability to apply it, by a diverse group of students, especially in large classes – moving fast enough to accommodate quicker learners and simultaneously finding alternative strategies to help those who learn at differing rates, who have different learning styles and even those who are just learning the English language. That doesn’t take into account students’ gaps in learning due to absences, how many times they’ve moved or have had to be “the new kid in the school”, much less the effect of developmental stages and hormonal changes on the behaviors of individual growing children and teens. It certainly doesn’t consider their levels of poverty, types of trauma experienced and personal insecurities which we know affects concentration and behavior.
There’s a famous saying on posters hung throughout schools: “All children can learn, just not on the same day or in the same way.” Do you realize just how complex that statement is and its implications for teachers? Think about it. No. Seriously, I want you to reflect on the depth of what that that one statement makes about the PROFESSION of teaching.
Teachers do more than “teach”. They enable children to LEARN! Enabling children to learn is more than just imparting a curriculum, especially one that emphasizes pre-determined standardized test data, and certainly more than just putting students on a computer for computerized programs. Those are tools. Enabling learning is a multi-layered, multi-pronged cooperative approach to help children understand concepts and how to think critically so they can continue the process on their own.
Don’t dismiss this profession with the smugness of people who think, “How hard can this be? I went to school so I know what it takes for teachers to do their jobs.
Show School District employees the respect that you expect for yourselves with your clients or staffs in whatever work you do to make your living. Just saying you honor teachers doesn’t cut it. Providing employees with the resources, compensation and incorporating what they tell you they need to do their challenging jobs would be a profound first step.