3. Educate yourself
It’s a new year and as is our custom here in the USA, we make resolutions which, while often broken, can be redefined as goals toward which we should strive.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #3
- Educate yourself.
BUT I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME
Teachers are overworked and overstressed. Often teachers go home after a difficult day at school and spend an hour or two on planning, assessing student work, or sifting through piles of mostly meaningless paperwork.
A few hours later, after a rushed meal, minimal time with family, and a night of not-enough-sleep, it starts over again.
Weekends are a bit better…time to catch up on everything.
It’s no surprise, then, that teachers feel like they don’t have time to find out what’s happening in the politics of public education. They only know that it seems like each year there are more and more restrictions on what and how they can teach, more tests for their students, fewer resources, and larger classes.
Meanwhile, the forces of DPE (Destroy Public Education) continue to move forward increasing funding for charter schools and unaccountable voucher schools by diverting public money from public schools.
THE ARGUMENT FOR EDUCATING YOURSELF
Make the time.
I know…I’m retired. I don’t have to get up and face a classroom of kids every day. It’s easy for me to say, “Make the time.” I get it.
But things have changed since I retired. Sure, I can still write letters and blog posts. I can still argue with legislators in support of public education and public educators, but I’m out of date. A lot has changed since I last had my own classroom in 2010. Today’s classrooms are different than they were ten years ago. Every school is different.
Teachers, this is your profession, and it consists of more than just the time you spend with your students. I would ask you to think of time spent educating yourself about what’s happening in education as part of your professional development — an important part!
The political world of public education will
- affect your students and your children, if you have any, as they progress through school
- affect you and your economic status while you’re working and into retirement
- affect how many more years you will be able to teach
- affect how large your class sizes are
- affect your academic freedom
- affect what you teach, how you teach, and how often your students have to pause their learning to take a standardized test.
Right now, legislators, most of whom haven’t set foot in a classroom since they were students, are making decisions that will affect you, your students, and your classroom.
This is your profession. You owe it to yourself, your students, your future students, and your community, to educate yourself. Be the lifelong learner you wish to see in your students.
[If you’re not a teacher, you owe it to yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, and students of the community, to educate yourself. What happens to public education affects your children – and all of the above – and your community.]
WHERE TO START
Here are some places to start (feel free to add more in the comments)…
- If you’re in Indiana, join the Indiana Coalition for Public Education and subscribe to Vic’s Statehouse Notes.
- Join the Network for Public Education.
Read Books (in no particular order)
- These Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon Our Public Schools, by Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi
- Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, by Diane Ravitch
Read Blogs (in no particular order)
Listen to Podcasts
- Read aloud to your children/students every day.
- Teach your students, not “The Test.”