Monday, September 26, 2011
On the upside, I have the best job there is. That's not because it's easy. It's not because of the summers off, or the incredible salary (that hasn't changed in three years). It's not because working for Michael Bloomberg is wonderful, or because the press is so kind to us.
It's because I get to meet and influence some of the most interesting people I've ever met. My kids come from all over the world, and I've learned a lot from them, even though what's expected is generally the opposite. But the opposite's true too--they learn English from me, and they get to see what to expect from our culture. Sometimes they come back to me and say, "I never read a book in English until you forced me to do it. I hated you at the time, but now I'm glad." I'm sure teachers of other subjects hear similar things (and if you have, please share them in the comments).
Does the appreciation of students make up for the abuse heaped on us by the media, by Bill Gates, by Barack Obama or his thugs Duncan and Rahm? Not necessarily--they're really not connected. But it's more meaningful because unlike these demagogues, kids actually know what they're talking about.
It makes me very, very sad when I hear teachers urging kids against our profession. I know they have good reason to do so, given the idiotic war against teachers, unions and working people in the US today. It's not easy to urge a young person into what could be an unrewarding and abusive job. But it certainly doesn't have to be one, and it's our job to make sure it doesn't become one.
All the more reason more of us need to stand up and rail against the corporatist bastards who demean and degrade what, maybe with the exception of doctors, is likely the most important job there is.