Merry Christmas: Reflections from a Tired Teacherby Marc Severson on Dec. 24, 2011, under Education
I was watching MSNBC the other day and a commentator named Brian Sullivan was talking about Wall Street and the attitude of people who worked there. He said, (and I paraphrase) “At the end of the day they go home and they don’t feel like the ‘Bad Guys’ that everyone seems to be saying they are.”
I thought to myself, “Well I haven’t lost anyone’s life’s savings through poor judgement or bad advice but, I can relate.”
Teachers have also been one of our nation’s current ‘whipping boys’ for some time now, so much so that many young teachers have given up and left the profession and many others have chosen not to start a career in education (see my previous postings, below). Three of my daughters all considered teaching as a career and eventually rejected it.
I still have one daughter considering the field despite what she has seen her parents live through all her life and I haven’t actively dissuaded her, yet. She is a whiz at math but very talented in the Dramatic Arts and I think that if she is to teach, the latter should be her area of expertise. I have suggested that a Masters degree and a focus on teaching at the college or university level might be best, although her personal Drama guru, who worked for many years as a teacher in public school in the field of Drama, and whose reputation as an educator is unassailable, still thinks she can carve out a niche at the high school level. That of course would most likely mean working in public education – where the ‘Bad Guys’ are. I know this is cyclic, that the attitude will change. So will this dismissal of teachers as overpaid and ineffective still be in effect when she enters the field as a professional?
Possibly, but like I said, at the end of the day I don’t go home thinking I am the ‘Bad Guy’ either. Point of fact by the end of a day as a teacher I am not thinking of much of anything. I am simply tired and grateful that I was able to accomplish some of what I had intended to do that day and was effective enough that I made a difference in how my students saw what it was I was presenting to them.
You see I have just learned that I am a mad scientist.
In a recent article published in EdWeek.org, (Teachers as Brain-Changers: Neuroscience and Learning 1), Wendi Pillars reasons that current research suggests that teachers actually ‘rewire’ students brains by making them do the most amazing thing: they make them think!
I can really hope for no more than this. It is my most oft stated goal. If I can just get them to think, use their brains for something besides a place to remember the addresses of their favorite websites, then I have to consider myself a success.
If the youngest of my four daughters, the last who is still considering a career as an educator, chooses to devote her life to the development of dramatic talents in children or young adults and in doing so is able to get some of them to think clearly and more ably reach the potential they innately possess; who am I to try to deny her that opportunity or threaten that dream?
To do that would truly make me one of those ‘Bad Guys’.