Confession: I subscribe to dozens of educational blogs…and sometimes I get tired of the “education today is bad…” mantra.
I know as a progressive educator I should be passionately raising my fist in agreement that we have a broken system and fighting to change it. But sometimes oftentimes I get frustrated. So many blogs rag on teachers, “Bad teachers do this…”, “Teachers won’t change…” and I understand where they are coming from. Yes, there is a lot about education and teachers that needs to change, but what those blogs, videos and articles don’t show is that most teachers love their students and their profession and do not intentionally use outdated practices. I experienced this last year when I worked as our campus’ Technology Specialist. I started out the year frustrated with teachers for not wanting to change, but as the year went on, I realized that every single teacher wanted the best for his/her students and desperately wanted to integrate the technology and ideas that I was offering. The problem was they literally didn’t have the time in the day to learn how to teach differently. Some might paint these teachers as unwilling and stuck in their ways, but I saw a different side. I know how the world sees teachers, but I see something different.
This is what I see:
I see committed teachers who arrive at school early, tutor struggling students for an hour after school (with no compensation), then stay until 6 o’clock planning and preparing for another day.
I see concerned teachers who use their personal resources to make sure their students have all of their physical needs met at school (buying food, clothing and toiletries)–then worrying about them every night.
I see caring teachers who give up their lunch breaks, evenings and weekends to eat with students, go to their basketball games and get to know their families.
I see compassionate teachers who cry at the end of the day because they feel like they still weren’t able to do enough.
I see relentless teachers spend countless hours trying to figure out how to reach a single students and will not give up.
I see teachers who are putting their blood, sweat and tears into their students and practice, and still fighting an upstream battle.
I will keep on reading all those blogs and articles on education reform, and I still believe that education has a long way to go. I will continue to provide opportunities for teachers in my building to integrate technology and learn how to make their practice more relevant. But I will not talk down on those teachers, because I know what I see.