Teaching is fun and joyous but also hard as fucking hell, especially if you give a quarter of a shit, at whatever level you teach. You feel crazy, torn between your instinct and drive to care, push, cajole and scaffold and the occasional need, depending on your circumstances, to distance, withdraw, erect taller boundaries, or just stop for a while. I now think that all teachers, K-16, can benefit from occasional breaks and always honest but constructive evaluation. Sometimes, a teacher should be told, We appreciate all your service, your dedication and your experience but we’d like to place you outside of the classroom for a year/2/for the foreseeable future and ask you to serve and offer your gifts and experience in a different capacity. People outside of the classroom, from bus drivers to parents to school board members, wring their hands over “bad teachers” who “they” “can’t get out of the classroom” because of “unions” instead of worrying themselves with the real issue, concern and need—supporting effective, good and downright talented teachers and stopping the exodus from education. Because it is often the good teachers who leave. And what the public calls a “bad” teacher ranges from one who didn’t pass so-and-so’s child to one who teaches logic and argument rather than creationism.
The Bad Teacher Protected By Unions is more conservative myth than reality, like “widespread” voter fraud. The real problem is keeping who you have. And doing so with respect, support and carrots rather than contempt, projection and beating sticks.
I’ve had so far this year at the college level:
One of these weeks, my blog will be back up and running. Be forewarned.