Give Thanks for Teachers
School is out this week in celebration of Thanksgiving, which seems appropriate, because this year I am most thankful for teachers. If there is a teacher at your pilgrim celebration, please let them have the biggest drumstick, the last piece of pumpkin pie, or the preferred napping spot in front of the football game. This year, more than ever, they have earned it.
Education is in a cycle of dramatic change (thankfully) but in lieu of a better system, traditional schools are placing more burdens on classroom teachers. Administrators add accountability metrics, but take away autonomy. Districts add high stakes testing, but take away class time for teaching. States add new standards, demand new teaching methods, and require new paperwork, while reducing budgets, salaries, and benefits. Not exactly what most teachers signed up for.
The good news is, that while some are fleeing for other opportunities, most of the good teachers are continuing the fight for students. And I don’t need big data to tell me who the good teachers are. I remember them from my youth—the teacher that turned learning into an adventure, the one who surprised me with daily aha moments, and the teacher who continuously raised the bar and then pushed me up and over it.
As Lee Iacocca so profoundly put it, “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.” I would argue that some of society’s best are indeed teachers, at least for now. So when it’s your turn to say thanks this Thursday, please remind everyone at the table how important teachers are in shaping the future of our country. We need them in the classroom, online, in virtual reality, or wherever learning may take place down the road. Hopefully those in charge won’t put a bad taste in their mouth by force-feeding them education’s version of Aunt Mae’s onion casserole. I’d hate to see good teachers settle for something else.
Post by John Logan, Former Vice President of Curriculum Innovation for FLVS