Alternative Title - Perhaps You Should Holster That Finger, Mr. Duncan, It's Loaded.
So, unless there are teachers living under rocks out there (or buried neck deep in test preparation and unnecessary paperwork perhaps) everyone knows about the mass firings in Rhode Island, yes? (If you need a refresher, I posted about it once or twice - between fits of rage - here, here and here for starters.) To me, this tragedy signaled the beginning of a very disturbing resurgence of teacher bashing.
Last week, I heard a series of commercials that blame the laziness of teachers for certain states losing out on Race To The Top (Race To The Newest Test?) funding. No, they didn't say "laziness" specifically but talk about doing some heavy implying. This morning, I heard another political commercial that urges voters to "stop listening to teachers" and "do what they know is right." Now, I am all on board with parents being involved. Yes, you know your child better than I do. But to say that people need to "stop listening to teachers" when we're talking about SCHOOLS??!?
I mean, is everyone on crack?!
Are we really going to tell TEACHERS that they shouldn't be listened to when it comes to EDUCATING CHILDREN? Do we really want to silence the voices of teachers even more? Cuz if people want to go down THAT road, let me tell you, Mrs. Mimi has a real ugly side. Thems fightin' words.
So, considering all this recent negativity (If you're quiet, you can actually hear my spirit breaking! Shhh!), I was surprised to see this article in the Boston Globe. Basically, they are trying to recruit the top teachers to work in some of the most difficult contexts, hoping that these rock stars can spark a turnaround. (Does the word "turnaround" now sound like a dirty word to you too?)
Um, well first of all, they are SO RIGHT! Getting our best people on that job IS the way to go HOWEVER with all this "Fire the Teachers", "Blame the Teachers", "F the Teachers!" attitude going around, I'm wondering who is going to be up to this task? Do they really think we are going to line up around the blog saying, "Please, pick me. Fire me next! I want to be blamed for the consequences of poverty! Oooo! Judge me solely by the scores from a test! Me! Me!"
I'm having a hard time picturing that for some reason.
Will some of the best teachers be attracted to this? Probably. Because rock star teachers totally kick butt and want what is best for children. Rock star teachers routinely sacrifice themselves (and their wallets) for their classes. But in terms of a marketing campaign? I'm thinking mass teacher firings/rampant teacher bashing doesn't go hand in hand with recruitment. I may not have a degree in marketing, but I'm just saying. (Hours of watching Mad Men has to count for something, right?)
A website to recruit teachers to such underperforming schools in Boston has been created. It's called amazingteachers, but perhaps we might want to spread the word to other Powers That Be that we ARE amazing and should be recognized as such.
Like my grandmother always said, you get more flies with sugar.
The article also mentions the stigma that is attached to working at an underperforming school. I can get with that. However, some of our hardest working teachers are in those schools. I was in one of those schools. And to be in one of those schools as it begins to rise up is truly amazing. It is a feeling like no other.
For those teachers that will go and take the plunge, you truly are amazing. To those of you who are too afraid to touch that job with pole what with the recent hate thrown our way? Can't say I blame you.