This Living in Dialogue post refers to the Metlife Survey of the American Teacher reporting a drastic decline in teacher job satisfaction.
On May 18, 2012, I’ll be one of those million baby boomers leaving the classroom for the last time. I have made the difficult decision retire, even though I know that’s exactly what politicians and reformers want me to do. I will take over thirty years of teaching experience with me - experience that allows me to fully understand how current reform mandates are perverting the teaching profession and hurting students!
I will turn the profession over to a generation of teachers who have only experienced:
My advice to those teachers?
- an education system that places increasing scores on high-stakes tests above all else.
- a working environment in which teachers, not students, are held accountable (punished) for student learning (test scores).
- having their professional ability evaluated by a punitive system, instead of a supportive one.
- teaching under increasing mandates with decreasing funding.
- a profession whose members are required to follow a mandated script.
- teaching as a job, instead of an inspirational calling.
- teaching as gathering student data, instead of building respectful relationships with students.
- an education environment that even students know is not in their best interest.
- Remain true to yourself and the reasons you became a teacher. When faced with a choice between your responsibility to your school or your responsibility to your students - always choose what is in the best interest of your students.
- Your teaching philosophy is your professional foundation - commit it to writing and make it publicly available. It should express your professional views about teaching/learning/education. Your philosophy will change with your experiences - that’s OK. Update it regularly. Your teaching philosophy should guide all your interactions with students, patents, and colleagues.
- You are a professional learner. The most important thing you can pass to your students is your love for learning.
- You are not your students’ friend - they have plenty of those and don’t need another. What they need is a professional teacher - an adult that consistently supports them, believes in their abilities, and makes it possible for them to succeed!
Speaking from a teaching perspective, this is so true!
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