Here is what prompted this post. I started thinking the other day about what I would say if a kid walked up to me and asked,
“Why should I not drop out of school?” And then my mind started to wander…
“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”
I have noticed a new trend building with many of the folks I have met at conferences, professional development, and on the ol’ internet. As teachers “complain,” there is starting to be a small push back from folks who are trying to inspire teachers to stay positive.
School officials tell us, we are all in it together. Do it for the kids.
Folks leading PD say we are going to have to do it anyway so we might as well accept it. Do it for the kids.
Other folks say the new reforms will be short term, just wait and they will soon be gone and replaced. Do it for the kids.
Of course, there are plenty of people who are saying that it is the teachers who are under attack, and we have to stick together because we have such a great opportunity to inspire and make a difference in a kid’s life. Do it for the kids.
Spend mindless hours learning how to do all the new evaluation paperwork because it is what the state picked to help me improve. For the kids
I should also be creative, motivate, inspiring, energetic, and smile. For the kids.
There have been blog posts written to folks (like me) who should try to “preserve happiness even in trying times.”
For the kids’…test scores.
For the kids…to be successful in school.
Teachers can do whatever they want, as long as they do not disrupt the system, as long as they do not change the system, as long as they are carrying out the common core agenda. But how many kids walk under doors that have “Be the change you want to see in the world” written above it? How many kids are told grow up and change the world? I suppose that we hope that by the time they have grown up they will just be too tired to change the world, because what would happen if they really did. If they had any energy left one of the first things they would do is come back to the place with “Be the change you want to see in the world” written above the doors and change it.
“…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..for the kids.”
Declaration of Independence
Garfield High teachers did not change and throw off the system, but they threw the first punch, and no other school came to back them up. In schools across the country teachers continue to give standardized tests and follow the common core agenda. Their kids will continue to ask questions…
Why do we have to take all the tests? Why do we have to walk in two straight lines? Why do we have to ask permission to pee? Why do we get only 20 minutes to eat? Why do we have to sit in rows? Why do I have to complete another homework packet? When will we need this in life?
Their teachers will inevitably respond with some variation of “suck it up kid.”
I wonder if I should just continue to do what the kids do and simply adjust to it, sit quietly, don’t complain, continue to get “good grades,” or is there anything I believe that is worth fighting for? I try to inspire the kids to change the world. I motivate them to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” The longer I teach the more I push that spirit in my class. Be the change…grow up and make changes. But I am starting to see a strong correlation between me pushing that spirit, and me realizing I am not the person I want them to be, and I don’t know if that is ok.