Monday, March 17, 2014

A teacher's teaching moment

I was wrong about what I said yesterday - spring has not arrived.  It was only a momentary illusion followed by a forty-degree let-down.
Last night as I once again blasted the new fire logs that we bought to commemorate this unusual winter, my husband raised an eyebrow and asked, "Are you enjoying spending forty dollars on natural gas in a single evening?!"  I replied, "Yes I am.  It's a small price to pay for subtropical sanity."  
Given that you won't be spending much time in the frigid outdoors today, you might have a little extra time for elective reading.  If so, I recommend this op-ed by a recently-resigned HISD rookie teacher.

In the endless wrangling over public education, which suffers from hopeless distortion inflicted by polarizing duality just like every other debate topic in the American repertoire, that piece resonates and rings true for me because the author and I have a few important things in common.

I, too, put myself through university because my family did not have the means.  I, too, worked endless hours to support myself while simultaneously graduating from two of the best universities (top 3 in my home country followed by one of the top 20 American universities for graduate school).

The amount of work that goes into that kind of lifestyle choice is beyond the imaginations of most people.  Cognitive capacity for academics is not nearly enough - it literally takes an Olympic-level dedication to hard work - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (Edison's "99% perspiration" comes to mind).  

For this reason, when a self-made high-GPA Cornell graduate says that teaching conditions are untenable, chances are good that this is objectively true, because this is not a person who would be likely to have unrealistic expectations about what "hard work" does or does not entail.  This is not a person who would be likely to have problems prioritizing tasks, either.  

It's a good read.  Check it out if the state of our public education system is of concern to you.

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