Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Who Would Want To Become A Teacher These Days?

No one in their right mind, that's for sure.

The president cheerleads the firing of teachers in Rhode Island and puts into place policies that promote the same around the country.

Celebrities who know nothing about teaching blog about how bad teachers are at Huffington Post and other places online.

Oprah holds teacher bashing witch hunts on her show. NBC dedicates a whole week of this crap on their nightly "news" program.

Hollywood puts out pseudo-documentaries about "bad teachers," and then follows these up with so-called comedies about the same subject.

Every newspaper editorial board in New York cheerleads a new teacher evaluation system that makes test scores THE determining factor in whether a teacher keeps his or her job or not, even though the evaluation system they use has huge margins of error and wide swings in stability.

Many newspaper columnist concur with their editorial boards.

The mayor says he wants to fire 50% of teachers, says he wants to close over 100 more schools in the next few years and proceeds to go ahead on both plans.

No one stops him.

The governor says teachers are selfish scum and puts in place a system that ensures thousands will be fired each year based upon the "science" of a value-added measurement system of test scores with huge margins of error and wide swings in stability.

No stops him either.

Indeed, the unions jump on board and help him destroy teachers.

They send out deceptive emails to their members that fail to mention how test scores are now THE determining factor in teacher evaluations.

Come up "ineffective" on the part of the eval based upon test scores and you're fired in two years unless you can prove you are not "incompetent."

This is the current environment we teachers face.

I meet with all of my seniors in the early part of the fall to find out what their college plans are.

This year, whenever anybody told me they wanted to study education or become a teacher, I related just how difficult it is to be a teacher these days, then asked them to watch for anti-teacher stories in the newspapers and on the TV news over the next couple of weeks.

Inevitably every student who followed my suggestion came back and said "Oh, wow, you're right - almost everything you see in the media these days about teachers is negative."

It sure is.

I have then been quite upfront about the following points to students:

Teaching is a wonderful career and you will have some amazing moments in it that you could NEVER have working in private industry, but these moments are becoming fewer as the corporate forces complete their grip on education policy and force schools to be come all-test prep all the time. It is difficult to have human moments in a job that now requires so much dehumanizing activity.

Second, teaching is no longer a calling or a career. It is now a service job no different than fast food worker or call center operator - you will be squeezed for your labor as hard as the corporate forces running the system these days can squeeze you, then you will be tossed on the ash heap.

Third, you have to be ready to hear constant denigration about your profession in the media every time you turn on the TV news or read similar things in the newspapers or blogs when you go online.

Fourth, the so-called education reformers do NOT really want to improve education. Rather, they want to blow up the current system and put one into place that they can control and profit from. So teacher constantly have to deal with reform ideas promoted by so-called reformers that are meant to destabilize the system and scapegoat teachers and schools.

Finally I tell them if after all this, they still want to be teachers, that's great.

But they need to go into this with their eyes opened.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Why spend all of the money training for something where you are tossed out like so much garbage after two or three years?

    These "reformers" don't see teaching as a profession perhaps more important than medicine or law, yet people still train for this. I see dozens if not hundreds of people not just applying for teaching jobs but also for part-time aide jobs paying little more than minimum wage with NO benefits and for what?

    These people have to realize education isn't about the kids anymore, if it ever was.

  3. Wonderfully important post. I often shake my head at blog commentators who look at teachers as selfish and not thinking about the "children first" whenever we discuss fair rights and salaries.

    What they foolishly ignore are the future rights and salaries of our children who may want to become teachers or aspire to have a decent living in another profession.

    NYC Educator often points this out, too.

  4. the Dust Bowl...people did whatever they could to feed the business world, the Bosses always say the same thing..."people need a job"...they'll always have someone who will want the job....even for a year or feed themselves...that's all it'll be in the future...this past week has sealed that fate...bye bye...

  5. Mever have so few been so many. This is not a career. This is punishment for trying to help people. Truly a dead end. Both societly and financially. In this corporate fascist state, no good deed goes unpunished. The way this is panning out gives is a two year window to find another way of making a living.

    Angry Nog

  6. You can fight back with other teachers against the government's assault and the UFT's sell-out of teachers with this evaluation system.
    Keep your eye peeled for announcements as to the time and location of the March 10 State of the Union Part II meeting launching a new caucus to oppose the union's scandalous leadership.

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  8. Retraining for another--third--career after being wrongly terminated from a second career--teaching--and over the age of 50 isn't really an option. I am in one heck of a position. It has been four years since that POS fired me over nothing, and I STILL cannot get back on my feet. It may be impossible to do so at 57.

  9. Excellent post. Your remarks about the human moments in teaching becoming rarer, as well as the profession no longer being a calling but just another service job, are dead-on. Watching this not-so-slow train wreck, gives one a window as to how in-part, civilizations and empires crumble.

  10. ...and believe me...they are reading this shit...and more than one champagne glass has been raise on The Upper east Side...BELIEVE me...this is a $500 BILLION a year bizzzzz....This is gonna make some people VERY wealthy...

  11. There may very well be an across-the-board teacher shortage within this decade if these evaluation plans go forward and are implemented. Who in their right mind, indeed, would ever want to go into this now-beleaguered profession? It was a difficult enough job before. Now, it's impossible and there is virtually no job security as tenure has been eviscerated by this so-called evaluation (more like a weeding out of anyone too old or too independent-minded) using the kids as collateral. You always ask the right questions, RBE, and as always, you hit the nail on the head. The nouveau-fascist state of New York, with its dictatorial governor, is headed for the educational dark ages.

  12. Definitely being a teacher should hold a proper way of responsibility
    To teach students should be a part of enjoyment
    Yaah, it is true
    Speaking English UK

  13. You are absolutely right, RBE. By the time these fools realize what they've really accomplished, damage will have been done that will take years to clean up. I worry though that maybe the game plan is to fill in the thinned ranks of teachers will distance learning.

  14. Thank you Dr. Paul . . . "U.S. slipping into fascist state."

  15. If there is actually a teacher shortage, they will merely lower the standards for certification or maybe abolish it altogether to allow high school graduates to "teach" students. Then you have serious problems in weeding out people with questionable moral character, especially when the people doing the hiring are cut from the same cloth.