In the Mean Time, Just Teach Kids

tony-lays-it-all-out-on-the-chalkboardI loved the Nike slogan in the 80’s “Just Do it.” This is something we as teachers in negotiations need to remember. If you read too much of the news around education, it will leave you feeling left out to dry. For some reason the climate in political circle is bad toward teachers. It’s not warranted however. We in education have seen so much good happening in our classrooms, schools, districts, and regions. We know teachers are continuing to pass on knowledge and students are receiving it. There is an issue of economics that has center stage. The conservatives for the most part want higher test scores and they want the ability to produce them without traditionally credentialed teachers. They open chart schools, of which some are very good I must say, that employ low paid teachers that are not unionized. I assume they still must be credentialed but if they can save money I am sure they will find a way around that. We studied hard to get two degrees in college and we long to show our ability in the classroom. We work hard to see measurable growth in our students. Unfortunately, this is not being seen by some voices in our culture. 

This is where I have to put the blinders on. The road forward involves teaching kids. I need to guard my heart against epithets in the news that strike down teachers and call us lazy. I need to be ensuring my kids in my classroom are showing measurable growth. Even if my kids show measurable growth, the so called revolutionaries out to take apart public education will likely change the target. In a way this is an amazing opportunity to just help and not get caught up in the political games. Only we know how the kids learn because we are with them. With respect of course, we need to use all tools at our disposal to meet our self-made goals or our kids. We will weather the storm out and then our culture will ask us, hopefully, “How did you do it?”

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Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

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