Hi! It’s me! Yeah, that teacher who got way too much press just for quitting his job. What kind of world do we live in where a teacher leaves and is celebrated by his colleagues and several dozen parents for just up and leaving? Sheesh.
Well, we live in a world where teachers don’t really fit in anymore. You see, there’s a cohort of three groups of wolves dressed in sheep’s’ clothing (and school-bus-yellow superhero capes) that have decided that they know better than teachers how kids learn. In fact, they’re very good at spreading the idea that teachers are to blame for failing schools, teachers get paid too much, teachers have pensions that are crashing the economy, and teachers like to get a little too friendly with their students. Oh, and they tend to just up and leave when the heat of standardized test pressure gets too high (I was actually accused of that).
But let me tell you the truth. Teachers, by and large, do what we do because we love watching children grow mentally, intellectually, and emotionally. (Watching them grow physically is mostly kind of comical, especially in the preadolescent, clumsy years.) We are in the game to change lives and we care very deeply about our work and our students. So, when a regime takes over that refuses to let us be those people, it bothers us–sometimes to the point of physical illness and pain. You don’t need to hear my whole sob story, but I will tell you that my frustrations with the ways my students and colleagues were being treated made me physically sick, to the point of dysfunction.
I left because I believe that teachers live by that one magical line in the Hippocratic oath, just as much as doctors do. We refuse to take part in practices that might cause harm to our kids. I found myself to the point of tears a few times as I watched my students struggle and suffer under the weight of the new “ed reform” movement. It’s worse than we think.
So, I’m taking my action several steps further. I am now a full-blown anti-Common Core, anti-Race to the Top, anti-privatization activist. As a parent and a teacher, I refuse to do harm. Unless, of course, you’re a corporate stooge and your last name rhymes with “funkin’” or “pee.”
I’ll see you on the front lines.