Statistics show that the number of teachers coming out of college programs is actually declining. There is also an alarming number of teachers leaving the profession. Much to our dismay, these are not the old-fashioned, ruler-wielding teachers we wish would step down. Instead they are passionate, ambitious teachers just beginning the climb of their career.
Starting out I was prepared for the time commitment teaching takes. I was aware just how hard my first year would be. I was prepared for an air of negativity that might infiltrate the teacher’s lounge. I knew classroom management had to be gained through experience. All of these things proved valid and I’m glad I knew them. However, I feel my college experience (and so many others) was severely missing one course.
ECE358 TEACHING IN A POLITICAL WORLD
Teaching in a Political World will explore the many outside influences on teaching including politics, racism & classism, and public perception. It will discuss the role of the educator as an advocate for individual students/families, communities, and teaching as a profession. It will explore the frequent conflicts of interest educators face in their classrooms each day.
I need help…and I do not think I’m alone. I want background knowledge on the political systems that influence teaching starting from the local school boards to the House and Senate. I wish I had known just what a huge part advocacy would be in my job. It is telling parents that they have a voice and should fight for what’s best for their kids. It’s being willing to go to the school board when discrimination is happening in your district. It is fighting for respect and realistic expectations as a member of the field of education.
I needed to be prepared about how angry teaching could make me (and I’m not talking about the kids). The expectations we are of kids are so far away from developmentally appropriate. What good are any of the graduate classes, teacher trainings, and new programs if I don’t have time to implement them. I have a battle of conscience knowing I’m not doing what’s best and may actually be doing damage to kids’ self-esteem and attitudes about schooling. Closing our doors and trying to make the best of the situation isn’t going to be enough. Nothing is going to change until teacher, parents, and students are empowered and take a stance for what’s right and wrong.
This class may be hard to teach while staying politically neutral. But, teaching isn’t unbiased and neutral. We are pulled from one side of the pendulum to the next by politicians and leaders who have no background in education besides their own experiences as a student. If we want teachers to stop leaving, we need to give them support. This starts by making them aware of just what they are up against and then teaching them what they can do. I’m 24, untenured, and inexperienced, but I want to know what my options are, if not now then later, for what I can do besides complain to colleagues, roll my eyes at one more thing being added to the curriculum, and close my door to make the best of things.
Check out this incredible teacher standing up for her students. The full article can be seen here. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/22/teacher-on-common-core-testing-i-am-a-broken-woman/