Last week, someone asked me if I could gather a bunch of teachers to participate in a political action/event. It’s an important cause, and it would be worth my time to rally teachers and worth their time to participate.
But I said, “No.”
Most teachers are already in survival mode. They’re already doing an impossible job.
Seriously. It’s an impossible job.
How can a teacher meet the individual needs of 170ish students, who have varying degrees of skill and knowledge, who may have behavioral or mental issues that even their own parents struggle to handle, and who have vastly different needs? Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some kinesthetic….you get the idea.
How can a teacher possibly keep up with SIP, 504’s, RTI, PLC’s, FERPA (I could go on and on and on and on. And on), while still planning, grading and meeting with students who need individual help?
Try this on for size: a teacher who has 170 students and assigns just two assignments a week, on which he spends four minutes grading each assignment will have spent over 22 hours a week JUST GRADING STUDENTS’ WORK.
22 hours. Just. on. grading.
It’s impossible. Don’t ask me how I do it, because I have no idea. Don’t ask me why we don’t have an even greater teacher shortage than we currently do, because I have no idea.
So when people ask me if I can rally teachers for an event, I usually say No, because I know that most teachers will see the four hours that they would devote to such-and-such political event as four hours that they are not devoting to their students. I respect that: There’s nobility in the desire to devote every possible moment to their students.
The fact that teachers now have to consider getting politically active in order to advocate for their students and their profession is just criminal. It’s already an impossible job, and most people in power seem intent on making it even harder.
People in power are trying to “fix” teachers and “fix” schools. Teachers have somehow become the bad guys that legislators think they need to legislate.
What teachers really need is help. We need our jobs to be made possible, rather than IMpossible. And that is possible, because I have taught when it was a possible job.
We need people to vote on behalf of teachers and students. Why does that seem so impossible?
Or go ahead and drive out the teachers. Break them down. Force them to quit (which is already happening).
But when that happens, who’s going to do this impossible job?
Good luck with that one.
And I mean “good luck” in all sincerity, because our children and their future are at stake.