Thank You for Surviving Another Year

This is the conclusion of an editorial column written by Mark Woods for the Florida Times-Union.  If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous post, you may want to consider doing so.  That post is located here.

Mark concludes, “Are there bad teachers?  Of course there are.  But they’re in the minority.  And give me the choice of trusting a teacher in Jacksonville or politicians in Tallahassee to act in the best interest of my child, and I’ll take the teacher any day.  These days more than ever.

At some point during the school year, a reader from Penney Farms sent me an e-mail with the subject line:  ‘Proposal for a new reality show.’

Julie Pipho, who taught for nearly 35 years in three states, got the e-mail from her daughter, a sixth-grade teacher in Florida.  It was making the rounds among teachers, proposing a new version of ‘Survivor.’

‘Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped into an elementary school classroom for one school year,’ it began.

It went on to lay out some of the obstacles the business people would face.  The bureaucracy, the standardized testing, the mix of students in the classroom.

The teachers wouldn’t be allowed to fire students and get new ones.  And if all students did not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher would be held responsible.

The winner of this version of ‘Survivor,’ it said, will be allowed to return to his/her job.

So, with this in mind, I say to Mia’s teachers thank you–and congratulations on surviving another year.”

I’m passing this along to you, my fellow teachers, as a reminder that people really do appreciate teachers.  In spite of all the negative finger-pointing and the endless blaming, there are those who understand that not just anyone can be a teacher–especially a good teacher.

I think this would be a great variation on the TV show Survivor.  I think I would take it a step further however.  All administrators should be required to teach full time for at least two weeks of every school year.  During that period of time, they should be deprived of their ability to suspend students.

Even though two weeks is not really all that long, it would remind them of what it’s like to be in the pressure cooker of the classroom that contain students who are boiling over.

Administrators who haven’t taught for years need to be reminded on a regular basis that the needs of both students AND teachers are ever present.  Parents and most of the general public have NO idea of how much is demanded of each teacher.

As the saying goes, you never really know people until you take some time to walk around in their shoes.

Along with Mark Woods, let me just say thank you.

Thank you for preparing our young people for the future.

Thank you for being a survivor.

Coming Tuesday:  Is the KIPP School a Viable Alternative?