Can’t we at least try?
Some things can never be colored pretty. It’s the thought of things like sending your child to school to learn instead of attending daycare. The thought that they are safe until a madman walks in and shoots them up, and the delusion that life is politic-free.
It’s the basic premise that people are good until you find out they are evil and life is blown up as fragments of bone fly like puzzle pieces and children fly under desks for cover instead of learning and playing games.
The thoughts of salvaging good in a broken society are lost in a downward circular slide motion as bubbles slipping down the bathtub drain.
At the end of the last school year, my kids felt the threat of a school shooting. As they enter school this year it is still on everyone’s mind. Not just as parents, but as administration, and as a community.
Education is a tough profession. Nearly a quarter of qualified teachers leave the profession within a short time. Let’s frame that clearly to say 31% of teachers who study, become qualified, and dream this will be their life-long profession quit within 5 years, according to the Guardian.
Those who think they have achieved their life-long dream of teaching, touching lives, and making a difference become disillusioned and build up angst.
Teachers never dreamed they would play these politics.
There are a certain amount of politics in any workplace. You want to play nice, make friends, build alliances, and network for the good of the kids, the job, advancement, and environment.
All that gets blown to pieces when a gun walks into a school and people fall in a bloodied crumbled state. This is part of the profession you were never trained to deal with. In the wake of another school shooting, we have to wonder how these politics came to meet this profession.
First responders expect to deal with these scenarios on a daily basis, but not teachers. Teachers should be safe behind a podium teaching lessons and life skills, not survival skills.
Fingers point in every direction to find fault. It’s the Left, the Right, the NRA, the Conservatives, the Lobbyists. It’s another mentally broken person. It’s the gun’s fault because it walked into school all by itself and started firing.
It’s all wrong.
Something we can’t explain is broken. Judging these cases must first require we clothe ourselves in a willing suspension of disbelief.
This term was coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 with the publication of his Biographia Literaria. The suggestion is to get shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which makes up poetic faith. Simply, the actor or literary work has a real possibility.
We know all too well that school shootings and blame pointing are real. We need sound minds to first disassociate ourselves from groups and beliefs in an attempt to find a plumb line of right versus wrong.
In this way, we can make real what is not otherwise possible. Then we can work together as people to find a solution. Wouldn’t we all be healthier if we at least try?
I remember in college how we could identify certain professors who hid under an umbrella of tenure. Some had quit. They came to class unprepared, sometimes drunk, sometimes as a slob. They had quit teaching, yet enjoyed a protection none of us could understand.
As a mom of two kids, I have to call out every teacher who quits teaching before the academic year is over. Each year I see teachers we have grown close to become tired and withered by year-end.
Some revered teachers quit as soon as the last metric gauge of testing is complete. As soon as the last bubble gets shaded on Istep, STAAR, or whatever test measures performance is over the teachers hit coast.
If you are accepting a full paycheck you don’t get to do a part-time job. I know you’ve worked hard. Sometimes jobs get tough and certain tasks shouldn’t fall under “other duties as assigned.” Shame on the administration that looks the other way while the last two weeks of school is a different party every day.
Students are wary, anxious about a new event, and bored because you push play on a movie instead of planning another lesson and pushing play on the button of educating a person’s mind.
My kids are anxious about events, their minds are not challenged, and my job as a parent gets harder at home because you have slacked off. I would like to be over-exaggerating the situation, but a teacher at my daughter’s school said, “it’s not much more than daycare around here.”
My daughter agreed and said she thought she would get in trouble if she made the same comment.
“Smart girl,” was the answer.
If checkboxes are medicine, we have to make sure all the right ones get checked.
- So many days
- The right number of hours
- The correct number of minutes
- Half-days that aren’t half-days, but three-quarter days
We party, play games and watch movies as soon as we’ve taught to the test. Our teacher grades are sealed with those test scores so we don’t have to work anymore, even if we haven’t issued final report cards.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Teachers can’t medicate students by giving them a cough drop because a cough comes back before school is over and the kid didn’t bring enough throat lozenges. Teachers and nurses cannot issue Tylenol to a child in pain, but allow them to cram themselves full of chocolate, candy, and soda at birthday celebrations and school parties. You are issuing medicine.
Children are medicated every day at school. Many are fed bad medicine at the hands of teachers.
You have choices. Teachers who have the will to continue teaching through the politics and who put money from their own pockets into their classrooms or who don’t quit are to be commended.
Some have already become a statistic and left the profession. Your dream job has been shattered into bits. The game of life does not deal kindly.
Some of you are excellent. Others should leave the profession.
You don’t have to stay in this job.
Unfortunately, some people are broken and illustrate their brokenness more loudly than others. One of them may walk into your classroom this year.
Put on Coleridge’s willing suspension of disbelief, I encourage each individual to get in touch with the basic idea of right and wrong and let judgments fall off.
We all have choices.
What are you willing to suspend to save lives and maybe even color them prettier?