Friday, March 23, 2012

Confessions of a Teacher: A fictional story about a real fear

Podium Photo Credit: karindalziel

She sat in the same non-descript folding chair as the previous weeks.  She stared forward at the podium in the center of the non-descript conference room.  The meeting began and she gathered her courage to come forward and speak for the first time.  She stood behind the podium terrified of what she had to say.  She had been speaking in front of people for most of her career.  Today was different and she knew it.  It was more personal and more important than every other thing she had said in the classroom.  Today she wasn't just teaching about addition, nouns, and cells.  This was a confession of her part of the largest failure in human history.  Well maybe it isn't worse than Adam and Eve.

She cleared her throat.  She moved the microphone to her height.  "My name is Mary and I am grieving.  I have lost dozens of children yet I am not a mother.  I am a teacher.  I am a part of a floundering education system.  I am a part of a system that has routinely failed.  I am a part of a system that does more talking than working.  I am a part of a system that claims to have accountability, but never pays the price for its failures.  This system and I medicate these kids because their energy and excitablity is a bad thing.  Their need to do things and experience learning with their hands is a bad thing.  We have taught them that they can find success in a multiple choice test.  We have taught them that sitting for a worksheet is good, but sitting at a computer is better.  We have showed them that there is only one acceptable way to learn and the government are the only people for whom proof is necessary.  I have lost dozens of students believing in the system and dozens more believing I could do nothing to change it.  Today I grieve for a lost generation and fear for their future."

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