Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Teacher Appreciation Day

Teachers have increasingly become convenient scapegoats of corporations, politicians, and technocrats. This can clearly be seen in the words and actions of those who have very little on-the-ground contact with classrooms and schools, and who think they know best about what is important in the lives of children.

Trying to micro-manage learning through top-down collection of data and prescription of artificial remedies unrelated to local cultural realities is deadly to our democracy and to the goal of promoting teachers and citizens who are inspired and motivated to create life-long learners and critical thinkers in our society.

While a day of appreciation for teachers is fine and dandy, wouldn't it be even better to give them the respect they deserve year-round? This President had it right:

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens. " ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Teachers need to continue to be more than just test-preparation agents. They need to be given the freedom to connect with students - where the students are at - within the bounds of available resources and energy.

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.” ~ Donald Quinn

I commend teachers - each with his/her own style, methods and philosophy - today and everyday.

Which teacher had the biggest impact on your life?

National Teacher Day

Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Quotes: 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 comment:


I come from a different school system. Its faults and merits are different in some ways, and its successes are sometimes its failures. An art teacher took me to the local (afterschool) art school, and suggested that I try out for it. There was a miniscule fee attached to the program, and it was mostly time (4 afternoons a week plus supplies) that I had to commit. That turned out to be the best time of my life, those 4 years of art school (художка, as we called it, or "khudozhka" in trascrption). Of course, I would be a different person without that experience.
Another side of that, when I was transferring to a high-end fancy high school, the vice principal there was more than dubious about my knowledge and skills (I was after all coming from an "ordinary" school) and more than arrogant. Of course, she was a different - very pleasant - person at my graduation time, when I was one of top students. But her attitude nearly drove me off from the school, and that too would have affected my life greatly.
So, yay for teachers!