Sunday, August 9, 2009

heart breaking because it's true

this article is in the outlook section of the post today (ht: assortedstuff).

sarah fine, a former high school teacher in dc public schools explains why she decided to leave the profession. reading it filled me with frustration, sadness, and anger. everything she says about the profession is true, and it is an injustice to our students that we're losing teachers like her.

she describes being in the midst of an interactive writing lesson when an administrator entered her classroom and "told her to get the class 'seated and silent'" despite the fact the students were engaged and learning.

she discusses the long hours with little pay, the micromanaging of teachers, the lack of teacher voice in administrative decisions, and the difficulties of navigating the social "why teach?" questions from peers.

i hate that it's true. all of it. at my undergraduate college, filled with proud owners of ivy-league-rejection-letters, i was frequently asked, "why did you even bother coming here if you're just going to teach?"

all of us have heard that- the "that's cute" comments. "ahhh", or "you must have patience".

i hate we don't get the respect we deserve from outside the schools, but what upsets me more is that teachers do not get the respect within the schools, as fine describes. people who do not understand child development, and proven teaching strategies are given too much power and control of what happens inside the classroom.

i hope michelle rhee reads fine's article and spends some time reflecting on what it means. rhee is lucky that teach for america is ready to supply her with ample brand new teachers to the field every year, but that doesn't mean those teachers will stay, or that they will be successful while they are there.

i'm blessed to work at the think tank, where we don't face the administration verse teacher horror stories i hear from other schools. i don't blame fine for leaving, because after being blessed with respect at the think tank, i'm not sure i could stay long anywhere else. but losing teachers like her is not ok. and i hope the people that matter will take the time to read the article written by "just a teacher".

1 comment:

Sarah said...

She sadly represents the voices of many great teachers who are overtired and under-appreciated. I hope many administrators and policy-makers take her story to heart!