Thursday, February 12, 2009

"What it means to be a real teacher": An effed-up code

Over the last weeks & months I've gathered what many educators think it means to be a real teacher, and I think it's effed up. In fact, many of my personal goals and beliefs directly contradict this code.

For example, Real Teachers Work in the Inner-City, to Improve the Lives of Disadvantaged Yoots.
Corollary 1: There is no Real Teaching to be done in the suburbs, because the suburban kids will turn out fine anyway.
Corollary 2: Teachers in the suburbs contribute to the institutionalized racism of suburban white flight.
(I'm from the suburbs. I like the suburbs. A teacher can teach in the suburbs, not just manage behavior all day.)

Real Teachers Do All They Can to "Save" Students.
(I believe that we are all responsible for saving ourselves, which is why I'm a Buddhist and not a Christian.)

Real Teachers Never Teach Grammar. The kids will pick it up on their own.
(Bullshit. There is nothing wrong with explicitly teaching grammar, as long as it's not the only way that language is taught. In fact, this leads me to kStyle's Newly Minted Theory of Education.)

kStyle's Newly Minted Theory of Education
Use a little of every approach. Find the unique concoction that works for you & your students. Ignore the Educrats.


Narya said...

I have many, many problems with suburbs, as both a concept and as executed in this country, but harshing on teachers who choose to teach there isn't among those problems.

kStyle said...

I would argue that the problems of suburbs are not the fault of the people who were raised there and are currently living there. The problematic issues are the results of past generations and institutionalized racism.

Also, I should clarify that I'm not even talking about the giant-development-sprawl kind of suburb. I'm really talking about small New England towns out to which the cities/population spread.

I like trees more than gangs.

Thank you for not harshing on the teachers. :) I really appreciate that you are the rare person who can hold subtle views!