I am an avid sports fan as well as a passionate educator/edupreneur. I played sports all of my life and today remain very active. It seems to me there are 2 professions in the US that almost everyone thinks they know how to do better than the individuals actually doing those jobs: coaches and teachers.
No matter the sport, or the level, someone is always criticizing the coach and their decisions. People think because they have played a sport or are passionate fans, they can make the best decisions on behalf of their preferred team. Now granted, most have never actually “coached” anything but still, they seem to always be second guessing the coaches decisions, especially if the outcome is not the desired one. I am not saying coaches always make the best calls, sometimes they make bad decisions, but don’t we all? And who is to say if they had made a different decision, the outcome would have turned out differently? Maybe, maybe not.
Education appears to be going through the same kind of constant criticism. Again, most of the individuals criticizing the education system don’t know anything about what it takes to be an “educator”. They have never actually stepped foot into a classroom as an educator, but because they likely went to school and hopefully learned something, they think they know best how to educate. And it is a constant barrage of negativity regarding the education system. It’s the teachers, they can’t teach. No wait, it’s the teachers unions hindering our children’s ability to learn. No, wait, it’s funding. No, it’s class size. No, it’s teacher preparation programs. No, the parents should be able to charter their own schools, you know, because they are the education experts. No, there should be waivers for those that want to go to private schools.
No, the real problem is lack of clarity. Where do we get clarity? How about from the actual educators? I am a university professor, with over 12 years of teaching experience. My mother, sister, aunt and partner are all public educators. Yet our voices are never heard. When I ask why, my sister replies: “teachers are too exhausted to fight back”. Having been around educators all of my life, I believe this is true. I have been complaining about this for years, so finally, I am going to fight back. I am going to talk about the educator’s perspective; my perspective as someone who is passionate about learning, who wants my students to be actively engaged, who wants them to be able to critically think and evaluate information and as someone who sees problems with the education system but can approach it from the inside, instead of from a perspective external to the system. I might not always be right, but I am willing to learn, listen and reflect upon other perspectives, and that is what it means to be educated.