Opinion | Face It; We Don’t Teach Out of Convenience!

Written by Guest Blogger Rachel Davis

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It’s summer break and coupled with the fact that I have been on medical leave for 3 additional weeks, I have been cruising the web, and reading too many Facebook posts.  The trend right now seems to be teachers bashing teaching.  The I Quit letter that recently made the rounds and today a 12 minute video of an elementary school teacher complaining about her job is what has put me to mind to speak from the other end of the spectrum.

I will start my 13th year of teaching, 12 of which were at a Title One magnet high school in North Carolina. Let me preface this by saying that I have thought about leaving teaching many times, but not because of the government cutbacks or their impositions on evaluation and curriculum; that’s another entry for another time. The point I want to make is that I don’t see everything about teaching as some dream job with easy hours and all sunshine and butterflies.

Teaching is not easy and if for a minute you think you are going to walk into a utopian ideal of what a classroom should be, then you’re in for a rotten reality check. But it can be as long as you are ready to hear “no” and enjoy hitting brick walls, but always rising to the challenge of getting what you want, or at least a compromise of what you would like.   Teaching can be rewarding, can be entertaining and can be very enjoyable.  I would teach for free if what I actually got to do was teach.  But I don’t get to just teach, I have to do all the other crap that goes along with it, so I take the meager salary that goes along with “teaching”.

Teaching is for the crafty folks out there (and I don’t mean paste and crayons crafty).  It’s about using your brain to make things work to the best of your ability, and remembering every day that you are not doing this for the money, but for altruistic purpose of helping others.  The End.

It’s crap when people say things like “the government dictates how I teach” or “what I teach”.  In the aforementioned 12 minute video, she claims that government doesn’t allow her to hatch chicks in her class because they have taken the money away for that.

Really?  You think that is a line in the state budget?

Bill 800.12: Cut funding for eggs that hatch chickens in the 1st grade classrooms.

Um, no.  It’s about the way your school is being run and the local importance of things like that.  Maybe it is more important to the school to have calculators than it is have chicks hatching in the classroom.

So, what do you do about it?  Make a 12 minute video crying about your job, bashing teaching?

How about getting off your ass and making a change within your school? Or leave your school and find one that is more to your liking.  There is probably a charter school out there who will let you hatch chicks in your classroom.  Ohhhh?! Did I say the C word? Yup!

After 12 years, I have left public schools for a charter school.  We’ll see how it goes.  I am optimistic. Hired by folks who have put their trust in me to teach what I know.  Folks who hired other folks who will do their job on a regular basis.  I didn’t like the way my school was run and it was time for a change.  And I found a place with the same basic teaching philosophy as myself.  That’s why we need charter schools.  It’s called competition.  Now get off of your ass, quit your whining, and make a change if you don’t like what you’re doing or where you’re doing it!

4 Responses to Opinion | Face It; We Don’t Teach Out of Convenience!

  1. Rachel, you make an important point about competition regarding school choice for both teachers and students, but I wanted to underscore the distinction between a charter school vs public school. A charter school, according to Wikipedia is still a publicly funded school (that also accepts private donations) except in exchange for having the flexibility to focus on certain aspects of education (such as chick hatching) it receives a little less funding than the usual public school does.

  2. I completely agree with you. If you’re a teacher, you make things happen regardless of the situation. Stay and change it or just move on

  3. misrache says:

    Agree Peyton, however, the autonomy of that school is improved due to the way it is run and funded. There are, for instance, Wiccan charter schools, who can spend the money, both donated and gov’tmentally funded, as they see important. Additionally, amongst charters, there is competition, and within the charter there are merit raises that encourage a teacher to do their best because there is no guarantee that they will have a job next year. Good or bad, I am not sure… I can see either side of the argument, but then as a teacher, right now, I wouldn’t be too concerned about keeping my job because I DO my job… and I do it fairly well, IMHO! :)

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