As a Middle Grades teacher, Teacher Appreciation Week usually comes and goes with a couple of hugs, a thank you breakfast, and a gift from my school. I don’t get the big “Hurrah” Elementary Teachers receive but the occasional student gift has always made me feel I’m just slightly higher on the totem pole of appreciation than my High School Colleagues. It came as a huge surprise when I received candy, flowers, and cards this year.
I was reading through the cards when I discovered one by a particularly difficult student I’d taught for two years. Difficult, because she knew exactly what to say to get under a teacher’s skin. She had mentioned once that it was easier to be in trouble instead of doing the work. Her card thanked me for making her laugh instead of argue, for making her work, for helping her learn.
Her card, and everything that her and I had gone through in the last two years, made me think of the fights going on today in education. Mention Common Core and the verbal weapons are quickly drawn. I’ve been called an indoctrinated teacher with no training, a naive socialist, and an idiot.
Okay, sometimes the last one is true. I’ve slung my fair share of insults. But, in a world where we teach our children that everyone’s opinion is valid, and that we should back up our arguments with logical facts, when did it become okay for the adults of the world to say, “Do as we say, not as we do.”
I believe in Common Core. Do I believe it will work for every child? No. Do I believe it has been rolled out to teachers in a helpful and effective manner? Not to everyone, although I think many have given it the good ‘ole college try. Do I believe this is a government taking away states rights? No.
Feel free to argue with me. Bring facts. I want to hear where I might be wrong. I will argue back with my own facts and together we can grow.
Together, we can show those who sling insults as their weapons that we are working to create the future for children.