Saturday, September 01, 2007

Shifting Views on Education?

I just read, in the online magazine Slate, a fascinating article about teachers and the slowly changing perception the public has about them:
High-pressured and punishing—of such macho qualities is social cachet often built in the world of work. Nowhere in Tyler Heights or Stuyvesant, in Perlstein's and Klein's portrayals, do you hear anyone touting the familiar (female- and family-friendly) perks of the profession: the long summer months off, the seasonal breaks, the 3 o'clock dismissals, the heartwarming kids. Teachers' unions never get mentioned, nor do bonuses. The scene is more reminiscent of, say, the Union army, beset by struggles and squabbles within the ranks, yet striving to make slow headway on divisive home ground.

It is precisely the draining rigors of the job that are intrinsic to teaching's appeal, helping it shed its schoolmarmish taint, suggests Fortune in an article about TFA's popularity. "The program has been likened to a domestic Peace Corps, with long work hours and much emotional demand, so it's not for the faint of heart."
Read the whole thing--it's fascinating, and indicates that the exhausting, draining, but hopefully rewarding reality of teaching may actually start getting a little respect in the world.

1 comment:

Frank Staheli said...

What I thought was interesting is that other countries get the top college graduates (I wish the article had been clearer on whether they have teacher colleges like the US does) while we get the bottom third. In some countries teachers make a lot more money and in others they get a lot more respect.

No Child Left Behind has been a psychological drain on administrators and teachers, it seems from the article, because of the near-obsession with test scores and the inability thereby to be creative and spontaneous in teaching. That would stress me out too!