Ignorant: Lacking in education or knowledge. Unaware or uninformed.
A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook followers if they would advise a young person considering a career in teaching to forge ahead or take a different path. Almost all of them said to avoid teaching. Many said that they LOVE teaching, but that they get to do so little of it these days with all of the red-tape, standardized testing, and requirements that it is not worth it anymore. Add to that the low pay, continually decreasing benefits, and lack of respect and it really does get depressing.
So, in this month of thanks, although I am completely unauthorized to do so, I offer these words of thanks from ignorant people who would surely thank you themselves if they had even the smallest inkling of what you do for their children, families, and country:
From the ignorant parent:
Thank you so much for your amazing dedication to my child. Thank you for taking my calls and maintaining a polite demeanor even when I call you several times a week, in the evening, on your home phone. Thank you for promptly and patiently answering my long and often rude emails. Thank you for listening to my concerns and meeting my needs to the best of your abilities. Thank you for politely declining my suggestions when they are not actually in the best interest of my child or her classmates. Thank you for taking extra time with my child, even when he is part of a class of 36 other students. Thank you for doing so much more than the “babysitting” that I tell all of my friends you are doing. Thank you for spending your evenings and weekends grading papers, planning lessons, and creating materials for my child. Thank you for spending your money on classroom supplies that I should be providing. Thank you so very much for dedicating the better part of nine months of your life to my child.
From the ignorant administrator:
Thank you for continuing to take on more and more unpaid responsibilities that I continue to heap on your shoulders. Thank you for filling out all of my paperwork, meeting all of my requirements (even the stupid ones), and attending a plethora of endless and often useless staff meetings. Thank you for dealing with my surprise visits to your classroom. Thank you for submitting detailed, common core aligned lesson plans each week. Thank you for finding creative ways to deal with the extremely limited number of copies I allow you to make and resources that I provide. Thank you for continuing to treat me politely when what you really want to say to me would not be at all pleasant. Thank you for persevering in this negative environment, which I have had a major hand in creating, so that your students thrive and our school gets good test results.
From the ignorant politician:
Even though I myself have never taught in a classroom, thank you for implementing all of my policies, regulations, and tests, that in most cases, do not accomplish the goal for which they were created, and in fact waste your extremely valuable time. Thank you for forgoing field trips,eliminating recess, and dropping most of the fun, creative, and inspiring parts of your curriculum so that you can spend that time prepping your students for the standardized tests I am requiring them to take each and every year. Thank you for continuing to teach to the best of your ability, despite the fact that I have lowered your pay and cut your benefits.
From the ignorant tax payer:
Thank you for giving our nation’s children the skills they will need to thrive in our ever-changing world. Thank you for continuing to work in conditions that are less than optimal and sometimes downright dangerous. Even though I have demonized your profession and blame you (rather than poverty, abusive and neglectful parents, inner city gangs etc.) when children fail in school, I still appreciate that you are working to find new approaches and learn new strategies to help these children succeed. Thanks also for all of the things you teach our children that are not part of the academic curriculum such as accountability, perseverance, compassion, and citizenship. I appreciate that your influence has helped many at-risk young people to turn their lives around and become productive members of our society.
I want to wrap this post up by saying that I realize that I have written in broad generalizations that are obviously not true in every case. I also realize that some people may find this post offensive. But at this point, I am so appalled with the way that teachers are treated and regarded that I really don’t care. It should also be noted, that I myself am not currently teaching. Quite frankly, I don’t have it in me to teach in today’s climate. I deeply admire those who do.