So, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week and in lieu of both inspirational pap and unrelenting snark, I thought I’d share some “observations” or “truths” (or whatever you’d like to call them) about teachers.
Before the whole budget crisis I wrote about in my last entry finally came to a close, a few people at work brought up the words “chalk flu.” I kept my mouth shut during those conversations because I knew that if such a tactic was called for Wednesday, I wouldn’t participate for two reasons: first, I am actually taking a four-day weekend so I need to be here to get work done; and second, I’m a professional.
That sounds flip, I know, but there is something to be said about taking the high road in times when you and those in your profession are being attacked both monetarily and rhetorically. I figured that if I were to go out sick on a day after a budget meeting that couple possibly cut my school district off at the knees, I would have demonstrated that I am not really worth the amount of praise that was heaped upon me and my fellow educators last night.
The word “professional” seems to be disappearing from our conversation about teachers in a few regards. The media–who always loves a sensational story–never shies away at any story where a teacher is shown yelling at a student or mistreating a student or engaging in criminal activity. I am sure that there are people out there who think that unprofessional and even criminal behavior is now the norm among public educators just because it shows up on the local news. I sure know that there are people who think that we’re in charge of liberal indoctrination because that’s what Fox News reports.
BUt most of us simply show up, do our jobs and do them well, even if there are some aspects of the job that we don’t like (*cough*standardizedtesting*cough*), because that’s what every hard-working professional does. We care about giving every student we have a good shot at learning and achieving and we do that to the best of our ability.
Why? Well, we want to and because of that we’ve gone ahead and made sure that we are knowledgable enough to undertake that task. We’re professional because we take the time to educate ourselves about our field, our craft, and our subjects. I have heard time and again that teachers “do not have a monopoly on knoweldge,” and I don’t think we ever claimed to. However, we make sure that we are fountains of knowledge because people have been put in our charge to learn both with us and from us.
You can talk about unschooling and flipping classrooms and making students the center of learning and whatever is trending this week, but at the core of the discussion is the teacher and what he or she is doing to stay on top of what’s going on and “in the game” so to speak. Because it’s part of what we do and who we are.