In anticipation of National Teacher Appreciation Week, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote a column for yesterday’s paper thanking his mother for teaching him about teaching. Thanks to Ms. Blow, here’s what Charles gets about one of the most demanding, yet disrespected, professions.
She showed me what a great teacher looked like: proud, exhausted, underpaid and overjoyed. For great teachers, the job is less a career than a calling. You don’t become a teacher to make a world of money. You become a teacher to make a world of difference. But hard work deserves a fair wage.
That’s why I have a hard time tolerating people who disproportionately blame teachers for our poor educational outcomes. I understand that not every teacher is a great one. But neither is every plumber, or every banker or every soldier. Why then should teachers be demonized so much?
I won’t pretend to have all the policy prescriptions to address our country’s educational crisis, but beating up teachers isn’t the solution. We must be honest brokers in our efforts to fix a broken system…
But is it just as important to address the poverty, stress and hopelessness that some children bring into the classroom, before the bell rings and the chalk screeches across a blackboard? Yes…
Do we need to lift them up a bit more than we tear them down? A thousand times, yes!
As Gov. Malloy and state lawmakers debate teacher reform (let’s call it what is is), I hope our friends up in Hartford found some time on their busy Saturday to read that column.