What’s Really Wrong With American Education?

‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The great teacher demonstrates. The superior teacher inspires.’ ― William Arthur Ward

Which teacher are you? Which teacher is teaching your children?

Summers off, paid vacations during the year, retirement benefits, need I go on? Those are all misnomers regarding the title of teacher. If you are a dedicated teacher, you spend your summers preparing for the oncoming year. And by the way, teachers have a 180 day contract spread over 12 months. There are NO paid vacations. My retirement benefits do not reflect the current inflation nor the cost of living. Need I go on?!

I’m Paula Baack, the author of Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!, where I chronicled my failures, successes and teachable moments. Teaching was my calling, not because of social status, pay or ease but because of the incredible experiences of watching children grow. I believe the call to teach has been replaced by the “I don’t know what to do so I guess I’ll teach” syndrome. I am sad to admit I fell into that category in college and this lack-luster attitude followed me for the first five years of teaching. Continuing with What’s Really Wrong with American Education: Teachers who choose the vocation for all the wrong reasons.

You can spot these less than dedicated teachers: they dress, act and speak like their students; their mantra is it’s more important to be “cool” than to have credibility; they perform the bare minimum of instructing, grading and creativity; you can find them rushing in 10 minutes before their first class begins and leaving at the end of the day when the students depart; parents seldom criticize them, for these educators fly below the radar when it comes to student expectations. Let’s not forget that lowered expectations charm students into picking teachers who give the easy “A.” How do you know if you’re cut out to teach? Here are just three guidelines:

  1. Do children intrigue you, make you laugh and genuinely bring you joy?
  2. How do you feel about working for less pay than your peers in the business world?
  3. Do you possess tough skin, enough to sort through unreasonable requests and criticism?

Solution? The proactive position: If universities can invest time and money to recruit athletes, they need to do likewise encouraging high school juniors and seniors towards a teaching pathway. Like the prowess exhibited in athletes, perspective teachers would possess: integrity, a great work ethic, gifted in their subject area, high grades and already demonstrated a passion to teach. This could not happen overnight but with collaboration between high schools and neighboring institutions of higher learning, this could have a remarkable outcome. What’s the reactive approach? Make sure subpar teachers are not allowed to gain tenure. This is accomplished with a well stated job description along with measurable expectations, timeline of completion of those expectations and consistent consequences should the instructor fall short.

TUNE IN TOMORROW. Here’s a tease: Political ideology, designed to change the fabric of a democracy through the captured audiences of vulnerable children, must not be allowed to exist in kindergarten through high school.

PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH ANY AND ALL . If you’re experiencing unfair practices in your teaching position, please reach out to me at rescuetheteacher @yahoo.com! Oh, and buy my book TODAY! Help a retired teacher survive the cost of gas! Better yet, invite me to speak. I do it for free!

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