It’s Not Going Away So You’re Going To Have To Deal With It

I’ve felt for a long time that teachers are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting for what they believe should and shouldn’t be happening in our schools. I’m not alone in this “feeling” and definitely not the most radical about it, but many feel it’s because people that tend towards education are often idealistic, and were “good little girls and boys” in school that were compliant and adverse to “making waves,” or bringing undo attention to themselves. You know – don’t be controversial.

In Nevada teachers are not allowed by law to strike, so the best we get is binding arbitration.

The other night my wife (also a teacher) and I were bemoaning how many education issues seem to have taken on the “no win” mantra of, “Well, it’s not going away so we’re just going to have to deal with it.”

My question is why do we just have to deal with it!!??

NCLB - “Yes, I know it has major problems, but it’s not going anywhere so you’ll just have to deal with it.”

TESTING – ” Yes, its done too much, and done poorly, and too often for the wrong reason, and too often generates unusable or poor information, but it’s not going away so you better just deal with it.

Funding  – Yes, schools are not funded properly and the wrongheaded perception is that they get more money than they need is prevalent, but legislatures and the public aren’t going to support more funding anytime soon so you better just get used to it.

Teacher empowerment / being in on decisions about how and what we teach  -Yes too often the wrong people are involved in making decisions about what happens in our schools, but that’s not going to change anytime soon so you better learn to deal with it.

Access to 21st century learning tools and new ways to approach and monitor learning  “”Yes, we need to move out of the nineteenth century in our schools, but change is hard and funding is difficult, so just be happy with any new tools you have and any new methods you can clandestinely incorporate into lessons, because these old methods and tools are not going away anytime soon, so just deal with it.

What else is not going away that we should not be “dealing with?”

Who is pushing this idea that we just have to deal with it? And why do so many of us seem to buy that thinking?

Learning is messy!

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5 Responses to It’s Not Going Away So You’re Going To Have To Deal With It

  1. Mathew says:

    I think parents , are the ones who hold more power than teachers and that’s why teachers may feel helpless. However, I totally agree with you and I don’t subscribe to a feeling of helplessness either. I think we have to keep working for change.

  2. Louise Maine says:

    I think we need to continue to yell and challenge even more. We won’t gain awareness and make change unless we do. We also have to model new best practices well enough to follow (or at least continue to get better in the practice through reflection). Sharing is key. We could all write a book, but we need to be out there.

  3. My husband has asked me several times what it is that the teacher’s union does if it is “such a powerful union.” I don’t have a good answer. I do agree that parents have a lot of power — but I think parents also feel helpless. I know that at our school parents are very generous with their monies and without those donations, we could not do all the wonderful things that we do. It is frustrating and . . . very messy!

  4. Maybe the problem is the structures that we accept as the norm. 8 disconnected periods, grading, student loads in excess of 150. Maybe blowing the whole thing up and starting again would be the best way to proceed.

  5. Brian says:

    Great comments,
    I had dinner tonight with a parent from my wife’s class. He moved here from Korea when he was 5. He was mentioning how when the Korean War was over they had to start all over again with their educational system and he feels that is why it has done well. Whereas we are saddle with an education system that isn’t that much different than it was 100 years ago.
    Brian

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