Those who can’t teach. You’ve heard it a million times right? How insane is that and why do we continue to accept it? Sure, there are lawyer jokes and accountants are boring stereotypes, but is any other profession in the world openly accepted as less-than or even worse, full of stupid people?
In case you’re not sure, the answer is no.
I felt it when I was both studying to be a teacher and working as a teacher. The worst part is, I struggled so much to earn respect of the outside world, I started to believe it. Maybe I wasn’t as smart or successful or driven as my friends in private industry. After all, I was paid way less and no one rewarded me with cocktail party interest for my job.
In fact, when I lived in DC, where the most often asked question is “what do you do?”, I was met with responses ranging from boredom to actual disdain.
What the heck is that all about?
Sure, not all teachers are Mensa scholars (some are!) and there are some that never want to be smarter than they already are, happy to settle into a routine year after year that isn’t ever challenging. But they are not a reflection on the entire profession. Just like there are doctors that finished last in their class and lawyers who get by on charm and lobbyists and Publicists that are successful because of their college athletic connections, there are outlier teachers who aren’t great at their job but why do the other professions still garner such respect while teaching is looked on with either pity or a proverbial pat on the head?
Most of the educators I know have spent more than four years learning their craft. They are Masters or Doctors. Some are even Nationally Recognized for their excellence. They are constantly studying research, always looking for the best way to help their students succeed. Not only does this require energy, time and dedication (no their hours aren’t 8-3) but it also requires the high level of intelligence required for problem solving-often under the gun.
I’d argue, the people who spend hours trying to determine best practices for and instructing groups of kids from various backgrounds with wildly divergent learning styles and ability levels all while battling administrations and unions that most certainly don’t put children first, might be the most intelligent people in our country. Should they be admired for their dedication and compassion? Sure, but they should also be respected for their intelligence and held in the same level of high-esteem that we hold other professionals. Perhaps then we’d get somewhere with school reform.
Those who can’t may teach, but those who teach can do most anything.
That is the truth about education.
This post was inspired by the book Mission Possible which I was provided for review. Mission Possible is from the founders of The Success Academy Charter Schools that run in NYC and the THINK Literacy program that they use at success academies. It’s a compilation of what these women have found to work in their schools, which educate some of the most needy students in New York. As a parent, it’s a quick and easy read if you want to know what may work in your kids school. As a teacher, it was nothing new (way to go MoCo, MD) but it is nicely put together in one place so I would have it on my shelf and recommend you do too. I was compensated for this post, but all (exuberant and frustrated) opinions are my own.
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