Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Does It mean To Be A Teacher?

This has been on my mind a lot these days.
This morning, listening to the radio, the Governor from WA state was interviewed about the current budget situations and how states were dealing with this 'so called crisis'. She mentioned how she worked with the teachers in her state where they could come to an understanding about the sacrifices that needed to be made. Gov. Gregoire said that when you choose to be a public servant, you are not doing it for the money, you are doing it for the service. That teachers must therefore sacrifice their benefits and wages for the greater good. Really?

I wonder how many teachers believe this? How many teachers are really willing (or more importantly able to) give up their dreams of a good life, of being able to support a family, of living in their own home, so that the greater good will prosper? And how do we define this greater good? Does it fall under the same economic principle that gave us the trickle-down theory? Do all those tax-breaks for the wealthy (both individuals and corporations) fall into this category? Where is the sacrifice from the private sector?

I just spent a week off from school, winter break here in NYC. I am excited to go back to school tomorrow, and am enthusiastic about the things that my students are doing. But this attack on teachers and unions and pensions and wages has been relentless of late. It wears me down to read about it and think about it. Maybe I shouldn't take it personally, maybe it is all politics and nothing to worry about. But it is an attack on my chosen profession and it demonstrates a lack of any understanding about what a teacher really does every single day of the year, whether in the classroom or on vacation.

One thing about getting back into the classroom tomorrow is I'll probably be too busy to spend any more time thinking about it...

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