The Unjustified Attack On Teachers

teachers

Written By:  Robyn Shulman

Please let me preface this article about teachers was not written from a political platform.  This article was written to provide a snapshot of the various roles and responsibilities teachers have.  Also, the goal of the article is to highlight how the reputation of the education profession has fallen.

An attack on teachers is simply not justified. 

It is ever so apparent that the teaching profession is under an unjustified attack.  These attacks begin from the preschool level all the way to the higher education realm.   What was once considered a highly noble and respected profession, now appears to be demoralized, belittled and disparaged. 

Still, we see vast amounts of students coming out of school today as teachers, and many cannot even land an interview. 

I am certain that the media, inner administrations and government policies have all played a role in steering this conditioned response.  However, whether it is by that of pencil, petitioning or demonstrating, we must rise to the occasion to help people who are not in education understand what teachers truly do every single day.  We must turn this negative thinking around, or we will lose one of the most valuable and needed professions in America.  The consequences are too great; as it will be the future generations who will not receive the education they are so greatly entitled.teachers

Here is just a sampling of what teachers do and/or feel on a daily basis:

  • Prepare lessons and activities for groups of 30+ students daily.  These lessons can cross over 6 or more subjects, and must be adapted to each learner’s level and need.
  • Teaches on stage all day.  There is no down time in a quiet cubicle.  They are ‘on’ all day, and then go home to grade papers and prepare for the next day’s activities.
  • Deals with bullying, behavior problems, and basic ‘classroom drama’. 
  • Support students who do not speak English, are gifted, and/or have learning disabilities.
  • Put under a great amount of pressure to pump out high-test scores.
  • Take the blame and responsibility very often when a student does not succeed.
  • Work with parents who are either over involved (helicopter parents) or are unavailable.
  • Manage to do all of the required pieces of the job, while staying on track with top administration and state curriculum standards and expectations.
  • Work with some of the most challenging situations with limited resources, time, and funds.
  • Take on extra responsibilities, such as coaching or running clubs, to make ends meet.
  • And now, some are scared to give out certain grades or approach students due to the raised level of violence and physical attacks.
  • Keep over-stimulated, medicated, and technology drained students on task.
  • Strive to understand and adapt to ever changing curriculum.
  • Keep the community happy.
  • Stay up to date for certification by taking more classes, workshops, etc., which usually means more money out of pocket

To get a better visualization, think about one of the challenging days you’ve had with your own child or a child you are close with, and multiply it by 20.  Seems a bit difficult, wouldn’t you agree?

Most people do not go into teaching for money, as they go into the profession based on their passion, the love of teaching, and supporting kids so they have a better life.  They want to give back.

We must advocate in giving the respect, honor, and great reputation back to the teachers, as this is exactly where it belongs.


 teachers.

  • Constance Fessler

    I have been teaching students for over twenty years, both in public and private schools. There certainly has been a shift in this noble profession, and clearly there are multiple factors contributing to this shift in respect, honor, and nobility both in and around the profession. Holding students to high standards while aiding them in attainment seems rather taboo in some circles for fear of losing students to other institutions where they will get the results they want yet not deserve, especially in higher education where I currently work.

    I personally carry many an arrow in my back for attempting to maintain a quality education. I have learned not to turn around too often for a look.

  • SchoolBoardLady

    As a graduate of Chicago Public schools BEFORE THEY WERE UNIONIZED, with children who have attended Illinois public schools, and as a former school board member of an Illinois public school district who fully understands the TRS system, I could not disagree more with opinions here.

    War on Teachers? All over the Western World? Try war on capitalism and teacher who have abdicated their primary mission to educate our children academically as citizens —in exchange for a mission to ‘change society by changing student’s attitudes…. “ Teachers are at war with America as an exceptional country and at war with western ideals as expressed by the founding fathers. Few teachers have ever taken an Economics course in college and are the least “educated” in how economies work—capitalism, regulated, communist—any economies. And I can imagine the socialist teachers in Sweden and France would agree with the nihilistic attitudes being spread in our public schools thanks to the radical union leadership and the teachers who re-elect the very people who are accelerating the financial decline of our country and all of western Europe.

    Teachers should look in the mirror and see who is ‘at war”.

    Illinois is corrupt and teachers continue to elect provide their union dues political support to the democratic politicians in Illinois and through out the nation–
    the corrupt politicians that are “responsible” for safeguarding the teacher’s pensions. The last time an honest man ran for governor, Paul Vallas, former Superintendent of Chicago Schools, the teachers unions mounted a character assassination campaign and rallied the Illinois –Cook County political machine to defeat Vallas, so in my opinion the teachers have made their own bed. The teachers union has quashed any possibility of reform or pension integrity. Vallas went on to completely transform Louisiana public schools.

    http://learningmatters.tv/blog/on-pbs-newshour/paul-vallas-in-new-orleans-the-full-series/683/

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=8647489

    http://www.teacherportal.com/salary/Illinois-teacher-salary

    If you are considering becoming a teacher in Illinois, you will make the third highest teacher salary in the country. The average Illinois teacher salary starts at $37,500 and averages $58,686 a year. Starting salaries are the fourth highest in the nation. This fact is especially attractive to new teachers who want to complete a masters degree early on in their careers; bumping them up the pay scale.
    The comfort score for this highest-ranked state was derived by examining average teacher salaries and comparing them to the average cost of living. The combination of teacher salary and affordability, alongside a plentiful teacher job market, makes Illinois a great choice for any teacher.

  • Marta Martin

    I have been teaching for 18 years and have observed the deterioration of respect for our noble profession. I must admit that teachers have created a lot of it. We as teachers are so focused on serving the children that we forget to stand up for ourselves. We continue to take on more responsibility without due compensation and do not get together and say STOP. Teachers in my county have not had a step raise or any other kind of raise since 2008. If we are to be respected, we need to demand it!

  • D

    In England we experienced this for many years until a concentrated effort from the Government to increase respect for the profession occurred. It was this and only this which enabled a cultural shift in the country’s attitude. The result was the emergence of a world class professional group who really began to impact on standards. Alas a change of Government is seeing a return to the ,old ways, which is frankly foolish and nonsensical as it will lead to a demoralised profession in which there are unfilled vacancies (who wants to join a profession which is constantly criticised and belittled?) and falling standards.
    We have seen it all before. What a shame if we haven’t learned the lessons of the past and see it all again.

  • Mary Kanter

    The problem stems from the bloated bureaucracy. There are too many administrators who take up a disproportionate amount of the funding. The work that they do is political which gives them the ability to suck more of the funding away to themselves. The teachers are left with too few resources to solve the many problems created by our modern society. It is amazing that anyone is optimistic enough to pursue a career as a teacher.

  • http://www.reminicents Jeff Byer

    I totally agree with your article and commend you for your insightful remarks about a profession that is getting slaughtered in the press and by fellow citizens.
    However,the administrators from many school districts in Illinois are taking your fine work and are abusing the pension system to the point of bankruptcy.By adding on inflated salaries at the end of their careers and getting paid for sick time that was not used they are getting rich from a system that cannot afford these abuses.
    You as a teacher are dedicated and deserve what you receive. However,until these school districts are combined and we can get rid of these free loaders the public will continue to bunch you with the rest of these people and will give you no respect.

  • Dan McGuire

    I wonder if organized teachers are perceived as the enemy by some political groups, which then justifies the attack mentality.

  • http://llwcontemplations.blogspot.com/ Laura Lynn Walsh

    And it is worse yet for substitute teachers, who can get called at 5:00 am to go to a completely unknown school, class, situation, and be expected to instantly know the students in the class and their needs, the class schedule and class rules and expectations, each different curriculum, etc., etc.

    They have to be able to decipher incomplete lesson plans, to know which kids have allergies, to know what to do in case of emergencies. They have to instantly figure out things that the regular teachers take for granted: when are students allowed to have snacks, use the restroom, use the computer, use the telephone? They have to deal with overcrowded classrooms, with too many kids to deal with, especially when you don’t know them, but deal with them, anyway.

    And, they have to do all this on pay that is nowhere near enough to live on. Hopefully they live with someone who can actually pay the bills. And, no, not all subs are retired teachers who have a pension. Many are new teachers or people who have moved to a new area, who can’t get a regular teaching job, because they have all been cut back.

  • Julie

    Thank you for this thoughtful and well-put description of a teacher’s world. There needs to be more awareness about what teachers really do and why there’s a need to attack and demoralize the profession–is there another goal?

  • Marie-Louise

    Hi!

    I am a Swedish teacher and I agree with everything you say – it’s exactly the same over here. What is happening seems to be happening everywhere in the Western world.

    It’s as if they are looking for someone to blame for the shortcomings of, well who? Students? It’s the politicians who make the decisions and if they are ever going to realize what we are dealing with, they would have to spend at least two weeks in a school, doing what we are doing. But, they never will. You could never run a company like this and expect it to be successful!

    We should go on strike..

    Marie-Louise