By Gary Chattman
I remember what it was (and still is) like to be a teacher. I taught in the New York City Public School System as a teacher/administrator for over thirty years. What a noble profession, even though it is treated on a scale today, lower than a sanitation worker. Respect for this profession in this country has declined; teachers are today are constantly blamed for the neglect of children’s parents. Teachers are blamed because the education ethic has disappeared from homes today, in all strata’s of society. I am not a sociologist; I cannot explain why parents don’t care what happens to the education of their children. I don’t know. All I know is that today’s generation of teachers works “in loco parentis” and is blamed accordingly for their students’ failures and lack of behavior.
I believe that all standardized tests are total b*****t; to rank a school based on the fact that a % of kids going there get high scores on these tests is ludicrous. Teachers today are mandated test teach. And the reason they do that is accountability: they must account to the assistant principals who must account to the principal who must account to the school chancellor. We all know that this chancellor never taught a day in her life. It’s like appointing a sanitation worker as head of the fire department!
Obviously, taking a test better does not make an educated student.
A good teacher is born, not made. People becoming teachers in 2011 are blessed with layers of exams to study for; to take. Please tell me when and how taking a test makes a teacher a “teacher”? In our society today, accountability is noted from “tests”. A teacher is born a teacher, not a test-taker.
If you have it within you—the empathy needed to teach—then you will be a good teacher. You cannot be molded and directed and taught on “what to do”. No, you will learn that by teaching. Teaching is for those who can, not those who only do. Talk is cheap; if you can impart wisdom and motivation to the young people of this world, then teach. If you can’t, then don’t. Education begins in the home. If there is none there, then the teacher cannot fill the gap with being the student’s “parent” as well as teacher. Somewhere in my soul, I had it in me to be a good teacher. And there are many individuals out there who are not so “instructive” to students. There are those who just don’t care, and then there are those who follow the narrow line as proscribed by a lot of bigshots who don’t have an inkling of the reality of the world, and who lack total empathy for their students. I have met many of these people.
The only saving grace today for a teacher is the ability to cut through the b******t and inspire and educate children to the world of 2011. And that doesn’t include testing. ********!
Read my book THE QUIXOTIC TEACHER: ONE
TEACHER’S QUEST, to be published this winter by TATE PUBLISHING,
about my career.