Monday, November 16, 2009

Why do we work?

I'm a teacher and after talking to a friend today I really started to wonder "why exactly do we work?". I know the generic answer is that we're making a difference or affecting the lives of America's youth, but I really wonder about that. I would love for that to be the case, but the current state of education has me believing that I'm in the classroom more as a glorified babysitter than an educator. Now granted, I go in and give it 100% everyday because that's my nature but overall the question remains. Why? Why should I give my all when the system is set up for the kids to "pass"? Why expect excellence and the kids only have to strive for mediocrity? Why be passionate, caring, encouraging and you are alone? I used to have answers to all of those questions. Now, I just feel lost. Sort of like being in a dark alley and you don't know whether to go left or right, so you just stand there for a moment waiting for something to guide you. I've seen student and parent involvement decline rapidly over my last 3 years in the classroom and it's tragic. I've seen students go from behavior problems to learning problems. The education seem to be so afraid of parents and lawsuits that they don't even take the time to get to the root of the problem that's tearing away the foundation of our education system. Instead they find the prettiest, most childish and consolatory band-aid they can to put on it until this school year passes and then we'll try again next year. The problem with that is that the band-aid hasn't been able to cover the gaping wound for sometime now and we're just now trying to find a way to deal with the bloody mess in front of us. The kids don't know what to do or how to react because they've always been told "it's going to be ok." but in reality it's not. This sweeping under the rug has left a large mound that we now have to find a way to beat back flat. That's not easy when you start to look at the stuff that has been put under there. A few examples are responsibility, accountability, resourcefulness, critical thinking, earning your keep, you reap what you sow, life isn't fair, you're not the best at everything, you're going to have to try harder/again, you mom isn't going to always be there, and many more. When those things start to get pulled from under the rug and aired out they become harder to deal with. Now that we are in the time of change and hope finally has the audacity to raise its head are we going to try to fix the problems that we have with education in this country? I sure hope so. If not, we can all sit back and watch the youth of this country go down and then shortly after we can watch our country do the same thing. I'm going to continue to do my part in the classroom and I hope you will help do your's. Let's not have more and more teachers wondering "why do we work?".
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