A Thousand Reasons Why

So the big topic on Twitter this weekend is why are teachers thinking about leaving the profession? With the corollary, why has everyone ignored our complaints and suggestions for change for the last 3 years? The topic is hot and heavy. The topic is frustratingly real. The topic is getting on my nerves.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m not sure why some people became teachers in the first place. I would run a survey to see if these are the ones making the most noise out there except, I really don’t want to discover I’m right. One comment from a teacher though, sent me over the edge:

He didn’t want to be a teacher, his parents were teachers, he has always hated teaching, but because he loves to learn, he felt this was a great way to give back. (paraphrased) He’s been teaching more than 20 years.

What?

Can you imagine that? Someone who doesn’t even want to do this for a living, doing it because… wait, nevermind.

So, the thousand reasons why has me thinking. Before the pandemic, when those of us who wanted to innovate and use technology in creative ways and prepare children to be successful in life really made noise about what we thought would be important for a myriad of reasons were ignored, we simply kept plugging away. One of the complaints about why the last three years have been so hard is because a lot of kids just don’t learn well online. I WONDER WHY? When you fight innovation tooth and claw and some districts LITERALLY didn’t go 1:1 until the pandemic because they HAD TO GO 1:1 because of the pandemic what do you expect? When it was the TEACHERS doing all the fighting – “I just don’t like computers.” “I’d rather give them paper and pencil assignments.” “I love our textbook, why go digital?” “Create my own curriculum, why?” – where was admins incentive to innovate?

One teacher in one thread commented that some teachers become admins because they hate teaching or don’t like children. These are the ones that love it when teachers don’t want to innovate. Why would they want to lift up the profession, they don’t LIKE the profession! When the greatest thing since pea soup in a building is to use Google Forms to create lower level exams then you have a problem.

A thousand reasons why. I plan on leaving the classroom this year. Make note, I didn’t say I’m leaving the profession – I’m leaving the classroom. Why? Because I want to help those teachers who want to stay in the profession become proficient in the modern workings of the profession. Yes, not all students are good at learning on computers, but there’s a reason for that, and my dears, computer learning is not going to go away. Some of you reading this got your damned degrees online. Your students will also. Why fight it? Its time for those thousand reasons why to focus not on why one should give up and get out, but focus on finding creative ways to improve the learning process for students.

I know, preK through 4th grade should do mainly pencil and paper work but they are perfectly capable of exploring their world via computer based activities as well. By the time a child is a senior in high school, they should be so proficient at the ISTE standards for students that they can go out into the world and create a life for themselves without having to get a college degree – if that’s what they want to do. Most still can barely vet a website.

I know one of the big reasons why we’re failing our students is because we’re busy trying to save our own asses by hiding behind test scores. Everything is about the numbers. Everything is about whether or not WE taught them anything, not whether or not they learned anything. We must get away from that. This generation of students is so very different from any previously. They’re enthusiastic about exploring and discovery. They use the internet as an extension of themselves. No, we have no idea what that feels like, hell, I still own a phone book (makes a great door stop) and keep take out menus in a folder in my kitchen.

Why do we stay? What do we want to happen before we go? I’ve got 4 years left on my license and don’t intend to renew it. What can I do in 4 years to help the teachers that intend to stay find new passion for their work? What can YOU do to find your own passion? Let’s not let being cooped up for 3 years knowing there was little structure to any of our lives or the lives of our students all that time be the deterrent to our work. Smile at the admin who says the dumbest thing ever and remind yourself s/he couldn’t hack it in the classroom.

A thousand reasons why… we should keep pushing. Let’s finish out this year, regroup and come back ready to teach, shall we?

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