A Teacher's Journal

Personal observations about life in general and teaching in particular.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Reflections on Teaching

I wonder (as I approach the middle of my 13th year) if I am approaching burn out. I find myself reflecting on an offer to manage a B & B or I catch myself wondering about that management position that is posted at the local fast food joint. Do I want to take on that second master's degree and move out of the classroom or, perhaps, up to the college level? Am I really ready to devote the time and money required to make that step? Have I reached the end of my rope or is this just a passing phase?

How do we, as educators, address these issues? The public education system, administrators and teachers are (it seems) constantly under attack and sometimes, it gets personal. It's hard not to take offense when your character, your professionalism, is called into question by folks who have no idea what your job entails. Trying to enlighten those folks is often frustrating and, most of the time, thankless.

Sometimes I feel like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. I wonder what would happen if all the teachers just walked away from our classrooms and let those folks, who believe they have all the answers, take over. All those public "officials" who've only experienced a classroom from a child's point of view, but who believe that somehow we need their instructions in order to educate the children "the right way."

How many other professionals, doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc. would put up with the constant interference in their profession? Can you imagine going into the operating room and explaining to the surgeon, "Well, according to all the research I've read the first step is...." Perhaps, as you stood in front of the judge, taking your lawyer to task because you believe have a better understanding of the law and your rights?

What makes these folks think that they know more than the person who has devoted their life to learning about education? Those same people who are consistently taking classes to improve, taking part in conferences to learn about the newest developments, technology and tools to reach the students under their supervision and often returning to share that new information with their colleagues.

Many teachers have Master's degrees and there are those few who have more than one degree. The equivalent of 7 or more years of college (typical Bachelor's of 4-5 years + Master's) add to this the number of workshops, conferences and educational conventions we attend, in addition to the extra classes that are constantly added to the requirements for maintaining certification and you soon reach the equivalent of a medical or law degree.

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