US News and World Report just printed an article that will do absolutely nothing to motivate anyone to go into teaching. Why?
Listen, US News and World Report: The most important job in schooling is classroom teaching. Everything else is periphery. Ask yourself. What if there are no more teachers?
I’m not saying that other education jobs aren’t important, they are. But teaching is the crux of education. It’s where the rubber meets the road. And right now more than any other time, we need to bolster the profession, not tear it down.
I’d say an apology is needed. But you won’t get it from this or any other mainstream media outlet who damn teachers often with faint praise or no praise. The mainstream media is not in the business of cheering on real teachers. For the most part, they are anti-teacher.
Can you imagine someone saying go into medicine but stay out of the hospital? Go into architecture but don’t go into any buildings? Go into cooking, but stay out of the kitchen? I could go on with this but will spare you.
What do they suggest one do in education? Almost anything but actually teaching children and adolescents.
- Technology. Of course. It is the age of class disruption and Competency-Based Instruction or “transformation” as it is being advertised. If you can design online games for children to play on the computer you are an instantaneous hit. Will students learn this way? Who knows? Also, they are encouraging young people to learn by going online. I do know parents who wish their children would get off their tech devices. They mention “digital badges” too.
- Speech and Language Pathology. No one can deny that this area is critical. But why highlight it this way? Why make it sound like an alternative to teaching? Why not encourage young people to go into the classroom too? Speech and Language assistance goes hand-in-hand with teaching. Teachers are actually those who often discover the students who need speech and language help.
- Education Leadership. Not only do they highlight going directly to management—no student experience necessary—they tout online learning to get there! Does learning online create a good leader? How many leaders do we need in schools? And how effective as a leader will you be in education if you have never taught in a classroom? Hint: It is usually difficult for teachers to respect so-called leaders who have not worked in their shoes.
- School Psychology. Like speech pathologists, school psychologists are critical to schooling, but so are teachers. Without teachers what point is there to have school psychologists? The whole point of gathering information about how a student learns is to assist teachers in understanding how they teach the student!
- Adult Learning. Teaching adults is worthy too, but let’s not make it sound better than impacting how children develop and learn in younger years.
- Health Education. This is not about public schooling or teachers in those schools. Go into health areas if you are interested in this area. It is ridiculous to go into any area to avoid teaching, if teaching children is what you truly would like to do.
- Policy and Research. Like all the other listed areas, policy and research is critical to good instruction. But again, why pit it against classroom teaching? And while we are at it, it usually takes someone who has worked with children, to come up with the best ideas for school research, in my opinion. The closer you are to the classroom, the better you are able to see what students need.
At a time when schools are being pushed to replace teachers with technology, the last message young adults need is to hear that they can go into all kinds of outside jobs to avoid actual teaching.
The implication that the classroom should be avoided is irresponsible at a time when there is a so-called teacher shortage and teachers are striking in the streets of Chicago to improve funding.
Certainly, things have gotten bad in so many classrooms that many teachers want to leave, but it shouldn’t be like that and a major publication shouldn’t be encouraging individuals to avoid the classroom.
Imagine America with no more real teachers.
Teaching is a beautiful profession. It is a career that needs support, not essays that mock it.
The classroom is sacred. We should fight for it.