The disrespect for teachers goes all the way to the top in this case. And it is not new. Secretary Paige called teachers terrorists and thugs, other secretaries of education had or have no classroom experience despite having names that indicated they might have taught spelling, maybe. Some can dribble and shoot but have not demonstrated their teaching prowess off the court. The disrespect is at the state level as well with pensions raided, unions busted, and schools closed. Teachers have been fired at the same time districts are signing fat contracts with TFA.
Well, I am tired of the disrespect, folks. I hold teaching in the highest regard. I value what all of you do each and every day to reach out to every single kid in your class. I appreciate how you worry about the one or ones who seem to have left your care (not just your class, but your care) unchanged. I know that you spend so much of your "vacation" preparing for the year to come, taking classes, reading, talking with colleagues, attending conferences, etc. I revel in your goals for the year to come. I enjoy your discussion of how to find just the right book to read aloud on Day #1 to set the tone for the school year. I love how we all have trouble sleeping as the new year approaches: getting up in the middle of the night to plan some more, to revise and edit what we have done.
And I wonder still how those who show such disregard and disrespect came to possess these feelings of animosity and superiority. Did they not emerge from our classrooms? Were these the kids we feared we had not reached? You see, I doubt that and here is why: some of the most vehement critics of teachers are folks who hold elected or appointed offices. Surely they are there because they are well-educated? Certainly they were elected or appointed due to their skills and expertise? Did these folks not come from classrooms? I am perplexed, then, at how they can stand outside our doors and criticize when we were the ones who welcomed them at our classroom doors, who helped them open some new doors, who threw up shutters, flung open windows, shone lights down darkened hallways, and then waved at them as they left those same doors at the end of a year.
Maybe we need to play a little Aretha for them all as school approaches?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Give it to me (or sock it to me if you prefer).