Throughout my life I’ve had people encouraging me (or pressuring, depending on how you view it) to become a teacher. They say I would be great at teaching history, a passion of mine.
Admittedly, I’ve been tempted. But not anymore. A while back I resolved never to become a teacher, whether it’s for grade school, high school, or even college.
Too many places to start. But if I could sum it up, it would be this: The State has its meddling fingers in the educational system and would never allow me to teach the way I would like – which is another way of saying I wouldn’t be allowed to teach at all.
Some of you may say that only applies to public schools, but this isn’t the case anymore. I have relatives who work at private schools and whether they like it or not the standards imposed on public schools carry over, whether it’s by parents seeking to make the school more secular or political correctness.
The truth of the matter is that I don’t want to be a teacher because I would hate it, because being a teacher has gotten to the point where it has little to do with teaching and more to do with babysitting or trying to maintain control of a classroom while balancing the fine act of pleasing the powers that be and ensuring test scores are high and union dues are paid. Having the disciplinary mentality of a drill instructor, I would also be fired after chewing out a student for giving me attitude. Possessing little patience, I would grow easily irritated by the ignorant, the uneducated, and the lazy and apathetic students who ruin it for those showing promise – the students who actually care about the subject.
I’ve heard too many stories about teachers either being incompetent or, inversely, attempting to discipline a student for their unruly behavior, only to be lectured by the parents who refuse to allow into their narcissistic world the possibility that their kid might be a little Lucifer in disguise.
But it really comes down to the government, whether it be state or federal, trying to micromanage classrooms, control, meddle, futz with, ruin, homogenize, streamline, whatever you want to call it. No Child Left Behind was a legislative travesty with an Orwellian twist, like most laws. Now we have Common Core and all the bundles of joy that come with that.
We are talking about bureaucrats who couldn’t teach a boy how to enjoy root beer and pizza with instructions written on both, but somehow they think they know what’s best for millions of children, whose talents, skills, aspirations and desires are entirely unimportant to them.
There are plenty of horror stories online, but one of them can be read here at the Washington Post that includes a letter from a teacher explaining why she quit the education racket.
I remember one Sunday evening when I received an email from the principal of my school letting me know that I was missing one particular document from my assessment site. The missing document was a photo of a math assessment recording sheet that I had somehow failed to post. If I could post it by 9 a.m. the following morning, I would recieve “exemplary teacher” status. If I did not, I would get a label of “needs improvement.” I remember at that moment thinking, “Seriously? It has come down to this sort of nonsense?”
This is the kind of chicken you-know-what nonsense I couldn’t stomach for a second. It has nothing to do with teaching or educating. The type of teachers who thrive in this sort of environment I wouldn’t want within two hundred yards of my (hypothetical) children.
The students are also something to watch out for. They may have the face of an angel, but behind it is a soul bound for the innermost circle of Hell and delighted about it. You never know whether one of them has it out for you and is determined to use the system to get you fired for no other reason than you have the nerve to tell them to sit still and shut up – or, God forbid, you gave them an A- in a class. The horror, the horror.
Understand that clearly. Education now has nothing to do with whether a child learns. The child is not important. The child is the means to an end, which is more funding.
Someone may tell me to teach at a college level. The trouble with this is it’s more schooling for me, a master’s, then a PHD, tens of thousands of dollars wasted when I could just pick up a book and learn it myself.
This may not be popular to say, but are too many kids in college today who have no business being there and wouldn’t be if it weren’t for student loans and an irrational national attitude that everyone deserves to go to college. Too much self-esteem and not enough passion or drive and absolutely no sense of direction in life. They’re worker drones who expect to do the bare minimum and reap the maximum reward without making any critical decisions. I took a high level class on the Civil War in college, which student reviews online said was impossible to get a 4.0 in because the professor was so hard. The problem is the kids didn’t expect to study the material, nor did they have any interest or grasp of historical context (at one point when the professor showed a political map of the United States in 1860 a student cried out something along the lines of “wait, I thought Southerners were all Republicans!) I got a 4.0 in the class because – gasp – I picked up the textbooks and read them.
The whole teacher certificate concept is complete and utter nonsense. I have no certificate, but give me a blackboard, a piece of chalk, and kids interested in the subject, and by the time I’m finished with them they’ll know as much about history – whatever the topic may be – than most college graduates. And I won’t make it sound so boring they’ll record my lectures to replay on their nightstand in lieu of sleeping pills.
Really, that’s the problem. You can’t just teach for a living. You need the government’s permission. And, let’s be honest, the sense of community that is necessary to make an educational system work is gone. Students don’t live in the same area as their teachers, nor do the bureaucrats at the schools. The parents commute to work and spend little time in the bedroom community. They come from different backgrounds, cultures, values, traditions, attitudes, what have you. In 1950, if a teacher disciplined a student, the student knew their parents would also punish them at home. Now, a student suffering from latch-keyism knows they can get their absentee but financially well-off parents infuriated over the fact that they don’t have that A+ they need to get into Harvard or Yale or was told to stop passing notes to the girl next to him and learn how to count without using his fingers. There is zero trust and zero accountability because there is no sense of community.
Private tutoring is about the only option. But if someone, particularly a mom, wants to be a teacher, avoid the classroom and teach your kids.