A Crossroads in Education

I have always been the teacher to share.  In fact, if you ask me for my opinion about something in education, you may never shut me up again.  As a Literacy Coach in my county, this was a wonderful trait, as you get the most "Bang for Your Buck" by providing meaningful in-house staff development.  I couldn't understand when teachers refused to share their fantastic strategies with other teachers.  I had been in their classrooms; the work they were doing with their classes was nothing short of phenomenal.  Sadly, now I see where that refusal to share was coming from.

The collaborative climate, where teachers freely exchanged ideas and tips, is turning.  Some teachers are starting to figure out that they can shine (in the eyes of their administration) by NOT sharing.  At all.  Not strategies, best practices, how they would deal with a behavior issue, community resources to help a student in need, nada.  In many school systems, teachers are being pitted against each other in order to get increased contracts (no tenure = no job security from one year to the next) and even linking the performance of the students to the pay they use to raise their own families.  Here's an amusing yet scary video from the North Carolina Association of Educators...  (Please note: this is not a union, or anything close.  In NC, teachers are not allowed to unionize.)



Why is this a bad idea?  Because it pits teachers against their team members, trying to get better scores on a test.  In NC, it is a part of our evaluation, whether we teach tested grades, kiddos with special needs, students who have been learning English for 3 years, affluent communities, inner city schools, etc.

The fact is, every child is society's responsibility.  Shouldn't we do our best to help every child in every classroom, even if they are not in our own?  That's why I have always been an advocate for the students in my school.  That's what I try to do with this blog, and through my daily stewardship in the public school system.  We are at a crossroads, America.  I assure you, teachers are not the incompetent bad guys we are (occasionally) portrayed to be.  Think back to the teacher who spent a bit more time to encourage you, who sparked an interest, who taught you to read, or write, or be creative...

{Source of This Amazing Infographic}
Here's a picture of the supremely awesome shirt my Kinder son made in class last Fall!  <<Swoon!>>  His teacher is amazing!!!  Love it!


2 comments

  1. I completely agree with you that teachers should not be put in competition with one another. I wouldn't be the teacher I am today without the help of many who have shared with me and encouraged me along the way. I would hate to think that in a few years some of those same teachers would be forced to hoard their great ideas so that they could stand out among the crowd. Thank you for being brave enough to share speak out about this.

    Casey
    Second Grade Math Maniac

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  2. I also agree with you. I am finding that this is more the case in many schools I have visited. Education reform and education policy is driving many good teachers out of the profession every day. There is no other profession in our government where a person's salary is dependent upon the success of their "customers" or "patients". It is mind blowing that anyone would have even allowed this to happen. These practices, along with many others, are creating a competitive teaching environment where the focus is on self-preservation and status instead of the students.

    On the other hand, there are still thousands of incredible teachers fighting a good fight to keep education safe and thriving for both teachers and students. I honor the brave teachers who are wholeheartedly taking a stand against some of the ludicrous policies in place that are tearing down real people and hurting our future generations. I used to always say that more teachers didn't fight because they couldn't afford to fight... NOW... there is no excuse. We can't afford NOT to fight.

    I would love to see a massive, national, peaceful strike take place where teachers, administrators, bus drivers, janitors, and any other person working in the field of education, walk off the job and in an effort to fight to get education where it should be. It would be a great way for the public to see that teachers are not hiding in their classrooms behind their desks, waiting for the government to strip them of the last remaining amount of dignity they might still have. Most of us hold Masters degrees, yet are treated as though we dropped out of high school and opted for a GED. I believe that it has to become bad enough for change to take place... I think we are just about there..

    Michelle
    The 3AM Teacher

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