I hear it all the time: teaching is easy. Summers off, plenty of paid vacation days, six hours work per day, and great pay. Why are schools failing? Blame the teacher.
Why don’t the people who say teaching pays well become teachers? They could show us how easy it is. Teaching is one of the most stressful jobs there is. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility and teachers are given very little power to accomplish their task. For all the classes teachers must take, tests they must take, bookkeeping they must do, and responsibility they have, they are underpaid. Under the law of supply and demand, if teaching paid better, it would be no problem having great teachers because the pool to choose from would be so huge.
I have worked with both good and bad teachers, some loved by their students because they made learning easier helping them succeed. The best teachers were those who cared about their students and worked diligently until the day they died. On the other hand, I have worked with teachers would let students freely walk in and out of the classroom or teachers who would show videos of Hollywood movies that had nothing to do with their subject.
I still get indignant when people keep blaming the teachers. The media, the students, the parents, the administrators, the politicians, the public — they all rise up in the call — blame the teacher. There is enough blame to go around for everyone. Let us work on solutions.
As with anything in life, there are no absolutes, no best way or worst way to teach, no totally good or totally bad person. But, if we look around and try different things, there is always room for improvement. I have had lessons that worked great one day and would fall flat the next. Different teachers have different styles and different students have different “learning modalities”. Education must be flexible to reach as many students as possible.
The basis of education is a relationship between student and teacher. Everything else should be a support system for that relationship.
Good education is about cooperation: cooperation of the students with the teacher and cooperation of the teacher with the students. Parents need to cooperate more with teachers. Teachers need to cooperate more with other teachers. Administrators need to cooperate more with teachers. Everything should be done for the sake of the students’ education. There is no place for competition in education.
As for those buffoons who think teaching is easy, I’d like to put them in the inner city classroom where I really learned to teach. Let’s see them deal with society’s problems such as single mothers working two jobs, gang violence, transience, absenteeism, lack of linguistic fluency, disabilities, and social promotion. Then let them base their pay on those students’ test scores.