To start a series of posts today about teaching, I would like to point you to this Op-ed piece in the New York Times, written by Charles M. Blow. In the piece, titled “In Honor of Teachers“, Blow talks about the low regard for teachers, the hard position they are in, and relates a personal story of the teacher who lit a fire in him that turned him from a student who had been labeled “slow” in early elementary school into the valedictorian of his high school class, and a student whose IQ was high enough that his school hired a part-time teacher to tutor him (and one other student) in a new gifted program. Here is the beginning of his piece:
Since it’s back-to-school season across the country, I wanted to celebrate a group that is often maligned: teachers. Like so many others, it was a teacher who changed the direction of my life, and to whom I’m forever indebted.
A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll released this week found that 76 percent of Americans believed that high-achieving high school students should later be recruited to become teachers, and 67 percent of respondents said that they would like to have a child of their own take up teaching in the public schools as a career.
But how do we expect to entice the best and brightest to become teachers when we keep tearing the profession down? We take the people who so desperately want to make a difference that they enter a field where they know that they’ll be overworked and underpaid, and we scapegoat them as the cause of a societywide failure.
A March report by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that one of the differences between the United States and countries with high-performing school systems was: “The teaching profession in the U.S. does not have the same high status as it once did, nor does it compare with the status teachers enjoy in the world’s best-performing economies.”
Check out the rest here, it is worth the read, and especially encouraging at the start of the new academic year for those of us who teach.