The Road to Perdition
It must be hell hate your job. That hate must cause an absolute decay of spiritual strength. Luckily, I don't hate my job, but sometimes I look up from the road to find myself deep in wicked forest brimming with Rodents of Unusual Size.
This afternoon while helping an administrator prepare for our state exam, I commented on how no one will read any of the directions we're creating for them. "You have a little jaded old teacher in you," he joked. I laughed because it's true. Tucked away in my cynical mind is an old man ready to sit on the porch and yell at kids to get off my lawn. Of course, I will text my other old buddies who are doing the same and laugh about who scared the most children.
In my daily reading of the WAPO online, I stopped to read Jay Mathews' article, which provides 7 ideas to improve schools without spending money. The old man in me came out. I'll grant that the following ideas are worthwhile:
2. Unleash Charter Schools
3. Have teachers call or e-mail parents with praise every day. (He clarifies that he meant at least one parent per day.)
4. Have parents call or e-mail teachers with praise every day.
5. Have high school students read more non-fiction.
6. Encourage every teacher to call on every student in every class.
It was number one and seven that the old man showed up.
1. Replace elementary school homework with free reading.
--What is this crap about not giving homework to elementary aged students? Every other day someone writes about how far behind the rest of the world we are in education, but they want us to take away what should be a valuable practice time. Not to mention the good habits homework forms. I'm not talking about three hours a night, but thirty minutes of math practice isn't going to hurt students. Heck, in fourth grade I bought into the no homework theories and just didn't do my math homework for a quarter. I didn't learn much. We'll let kids have insane music and sports practice schedules, but freak out if we ask them to extend their learning beyond the classroom.
7. Furlough everybody.... (He uses his wife's upcoming two week unpaid furlough to help the company as an example.)
--I rarely complain about teacher pay. In fact, the only time I do is when outsiders suggest teachers get paid too much or should take a pay cut. Teaching is not charity. It is a profession that receives little monetary respect considering the task the public is asking us to accomplish. "Shape our future," is what they ask of us. That seems a daunting and important task, one that deserves more money (because that's what society has deemed an appropriate show of importance) than what most teachers make. I will challenge any outsider to come be successful at what we do, for the pay we receive, and not believe that financially speaking we do not value teachers enough.