What does it mean to be a teacher in 2011? The truth to this question is perhaps part of the reason our legislators are fighting so hard to re-design education.
In 2011, our students have become a cross breed of apathetic and mediocre. The fault of this is not simply the teachers; it is my humble opinion a fault of our individualistic nature. Parents are too busy to help out at home, and the social structure surrounding our youth is so devolved that for the most part, teamwork is removed in favor of a "Me" first mindset. When it comes to growing up, the teachers is placed in the role of responsibility to help foster growth for a child, and at this point, quite often a parent removes themselves from the process. Many parents believe they are doing the child a favor, by allowing a child to gain independence, when in fact the child needs the strength and guidance of a parent even more.
The role of the teacher should be to develop a child that is within their classroom to the best of the Childs ability. This concept is great, yet development takes a team, and as stated prior a pillar of this team has been misguided in its approach for development. Children often lean toward their parents for first support, and when/if that is not there, then their friends are next.
The problem with this process, is that it gets even more clouded as to the direct responsibility of a child, when we learn that a teacher is not normally in a child's top 5 of people to come to for help. Is this the fault of teachers, no, this is not their role. The older a child gets, the more the role of teacher becomes educator, and less supporter. Simply put, by the time a child is out of Elementary school, the function of a teacher changes extensively.
The role of an educator in elementary school is to facilitate the change and future of a child. Perhaps this is the environment that a teacher is most needed to be hands on. From learning how to adapt to change, read a book, workout math problems, understand logic and quite simply to learn responsibility is in the hands of elementary school teachers. In 2011, an elementary teacher is forced to do everything that was designed throughout introductory education, and add to it, test taking skills, competition management, technology abilities and at times hygiene. Not too bad if you have the time do all of this.
If a person is to believe elementary teachers have it easy, the middle and high school situations just get worse. The goal of education used to give people the knowledge they needed for their chosen career field. As children in our modern days advance, the aspect of education needs to be ahead of them. It is my opinion that the field of education needs to consider that middle school is a place to teach students to advance, and not just to hold hands and allow them to move on. Middle school was setup to help with emotional needs, while development of the teenage body occurred, while still learning. Today, it needs to redevelop into an institution that focuses on fostering learning as a priority. High school is another facility that is placating to the student, and not allowing for teachers to do their job.
What does all of this mean? Simply that in order to be a teacher today, there needs to be a redevelopment of education. To be a teacher in 2011, it really means to be a person bent to the will of an environment that is closed off to the advancement of our students, yet it loudly says that this is what it wants. The institution of education is designed to facilitate mediocrity, rather than be brave and aim to be the best it can be. Rather than pay for the service of an educator, the system in place offers minimal reward and expects more. As you read this, perhaps you say, wow another teacher whining.
This is not the case. In 2011, it is my desire to finally be the teacher I always wanted to be. I would like to be a teacher who has students that desire to read the material I give to them. I would like to have parents that help out by enforcing the advancement of their child. I would like to offer to my students the ability to reach all my notes online prior to entering my classroom, and then for them to be able to access their tablet to enhance their learning. I would like to be able to teach my students how to develop research papers, not just have to teach them from scratch….and above all, I want to do all of this despite how the legislators are treating me. To be a teacher in 2011, I feel it is important to know that technology is far beyond what we offer in the classroom and we need to adapt this to our skill set. For teaching in 2011, we currently test test test our students. What happened to learning? We need to change education and how we advance students. We also need to create a system that involves the community. Enough of this individual model which says that no Child Can be left Behind. There is nothing wrong with this statement, yet in 2011, we need to develop a community of education or this failed experiment will continue. Race to the Top..of what? In 2011 rather than pay teachers based on a test score, or fire teachers for the same reason, create a system which allows for the picking up of our youth, and developing them so that we are competitive in the future. We need a global model of education, and we need it now. If we wait till 2012 or further, we continue to leave everyone behind.
Education has a great opportunity for change now, let's make it happen. A teacher in 2011 needs to be developed as a portion of the system, not the sole person responsible for fixing a problem which began years before they ever met the child. I am ready to find a way to make this change…are you?