These days, it’s impossible to inculcate oneself from the seeming constant barrage of criticism against American public education and the teachers who serve it. Everyone knows how to teach except teachers – or so that’s what those who deride us would have you believe. We are up against seemingly immovable mountains like politicians and businesspeople – all of whom legitimately have a stake in our nation’s schools, but few with the professional experience in the field that would qualify them to speak so vociferously against it.
But I was asked to write what I love about education, and in a nutshell, it’s this: Despite the fact that such uncertainty surrounds me and my profession, I am still able to walk into my classroom each day and know I am doing something positive for my students.
They have no concept of the public dialogue surrounding their education. But they do know that their classroom is a safe place. They have no concept of the fact that people outside the room, many miles away, exist, much less that they are placing what they call “high expectations” on them without regard for the fact that they are unrealistic expectations. But they do know me, and that my expectations are high, realistic and differentiated for them.
Do I love the fact that people who never spent a day in a classroom once they left as students are now the ones calling all the major policy shots? I sure don’t. In fact, it’s damn near demoralizing to think about.
But when the anger, sadness, and frustration set in, I know I can just close the door to my classroom (both literally and figuratively), slap a smile on my face, and continue to do what I love, which is enrich the lives of children.
I was inspired to write this post at the request of Save Our Schools March, which you can read about on their web site, as part of their effort to get the word out about what we love about education.