Greetings from Seattle



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans

Today is the day set aside to honor the men and women who serve or have served in our armed forces. I do my best to honor them, while at the same time abhorring war. And I also honor those who wait at home for them, their loved ones who give up so much. "They also serve who only stand and wait." Veteran's Day is a good time to go shopping, as I can attest to, having just come from the grocery store. Whew! However it's our nation's teachers I am most concerned about right now. They stand on the front lines too, serving our country, and it seems like now nobody has their back. With all of the hoopla over the movie Waiting For Superman, we are casting a wide net to say that our schools are broken and our teachers are failing. I don't know what it's like in the inner city schools of New York or Washington, DC, but I do know what teachers deal with in a suburban elementary school with a high rate of poverty and and a high percentage of foreign born, ESL students. I heard recently a statistic claiming that our schools have a 7 to one ratio of students to adults. I don't know where this is, or who they're counting in the adult category, but our class size is 25 to 30. I have some Facebook friends who are former colleagues in my school. I have picked up an increased level of stress from them in their on-line chatter. I messaged one of them privately. Yes, indeed, she responded, you read it correctly. New curriculum, new principal, new building to move into mid-year, more pressure to perform, but no more sense of direction, very little support with student discipline, and a sense of always being watched and judged with a critical eye; all of these added to a very difficult demographic, are causing stress and low moral. It's creating a duck-and-cover attitude. Our teachers are veterans of a different sort, but every bit as important to our nation, and they are under fire.

8 comments:

  1. Teachers have to love to be with children and adults to be effective. They have to love to talk, too.

    That job was too difficult for me, so I quit and worked in a law office, instead.

    When you come right down to it, however, ALL jobs are difficult. I blogged about the stressful job my husband has as an accountant... Need I say more?

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  2. You know where I stand on this, Linda. Everybody does have their stresses, it's true. However, I noticed how much more aggravating it got in the last few years that I was teaching.

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  3. Thank you, Linda. And we have been for quite a long time.

    This is the only country in the world that tries to equally educate everyone -- even those who don't want an education. Couple that with parents who have abdicated any and all responsibility in the raising of their children and you have the dire situation that teachers -- dedicated and hard-working -- now face.

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  4. Bravo, Linda. I had to leave the profession early because the stress became too much to bear.

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  5. I agree with all of the comments, especially Kathy A! There are really two groups in this issue: those who teach and understand exactly what you wrote about, and those who will never understand the stresses that you wrote about. I want to see the movie, and besides getting someone to be with Mom, I am afraid it will make madder than hell. Perspective is everything.

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  6. The worst part of teachers being treated so poorly by the rest of the system as well as the public is that 'Teachers tend to treat students the way they are treated'. The performance of even the best teachers has to be effected by the negative climate they work in and as a result students are impacted.

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  7. Interesting comment, that last one. I guess I would have to counter that while poor morale on the part of teachers will sap their energy, and thus their creativity, therefore impacting their instruction, it does not impact the way teachers "treat" students. No, they don't take it out on the kids.

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  8. Teachers have such a tough job - seems like they're expected to be the silver bullet for kids.

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