You want know what the hardest part about being a teacher in the US is?
It’s living in a culture where everybody thinks they can teach. Which is like saying everybody can be a doctor. Yet that is exactly what happens in teaching.
Everybody knows how to teach and they all get involved. They espouse opinions and beliefs. It’s like teaching is some mystic art that no one knows how to solve.
In the documentary, Waiting For Superman, Davis Guggenheim explores teaching like it is a mystical mess. He focuses on the system and how hard parents are trying. Why tenure sometimes gets in the way, etc. Not really anything different than what’s been said for 50 years.
Here’s something different. It takes three years minimum to become just a good teacher. Five years, minimum, to become a master teacher. Including the one year of post-grad that is six years to master the skill of teaching. If you are good. If you don’t have the right mentoring or curriculum help it could be 7-8 years. How long does it take to be a doctor, or a lawyer or accountant?
What would change if we all thought about teachers as equal to doctors:
– We might give parents and the PTA’s less input into schools (they’re the reason why we have tenure and it’s issues).
– The role of an “active parent” would switch from blaming schools and “watching” teachers to reading, helping with math, and going beyond the classroom to teach new lessons.
– The “business” of teaching would be more like hospitals. With an MBA handling the money, HR executive handling the hiring/firing/development, and master teachers handling the education.
– Lastly, and most importantly, we would all understand that our 12 years of being a student in no way makes us experts. Instead it makes us biased, bitter, and unable to help (at all) until we become master teachers (or at the very least learn something about education).
I really hoped Davis would explore these problems but instead he gave an uneducated “parents view” of education. Thanks a lot bud, you used ur considerable skill and prominence to just make things worse.
*I posted this in Facebook at 11:21pm on October 9th, just after leaving the theatre*