Getting close and closer to catching up with real time here.
After getting back from our latest overseas jaunt Sara and I took a day and a half to try and screw our heads back on straight and face forward in our home time zone. Then we hopped a plane – rented a car and presented a couple sessions at a wonderful literacy conference near Columbia Missouri. The Write to Learn conference is put on by the alliteratively named Willy Wood.
This Lake of the Ozarks resort gathering mixed us with top educator development folks and stellar teachers as well. While we were signing our books for some of the conference attendees I eavesdropped on a conversation a teacher was having with Cris Tovani author of I Read It, but I Don't Get It and Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?
Well this teacher was going on and on about all the work she was doing in the classroom – then about the extra things she was doing after school – she was asking deep questions about comprehension and reading and writing across the curriculum. Of course all of this is on top of the fact that she was here at the conference spending her weekend to get more ideas for her students instruction.
I finally got up and walked over to the pair and said how I wished all those folks who malign teachers – who spout the same old BS about teachers only working seven hours a day – getting the whole summer off – that they are coddled by unions etc. etc. – could witness how seriously and deeply this woman took her pupils education. This teacher is not an aberration by a long shot – the vast majority of educators I work with are dedicated professionals.
So why this need to malign the profession? Well, as a wiser man than me once said – follow the money. How are you gong to funnel public money into private institutions like charter schools or pre-packaged education programs touted by software gurus and politicians (folks with no education experience) unless you can tear down the real professionals already doing the work?
What would happen if we treated medicine in the same way. In fact we did at one time and snake oil salesmen and quacks travelled from town to town selling their magic pills and potions to hopeful but ill informed citizens. A whole bunch of these “treatments” actually did more harm than they did good. Patients would have been in better shape if they had done nothing rather than jumping at the promise of a miracle cure.
Maybe this is the real answer to the great education problem that is being hawked by business interests. Maybe we just need to get out of the way and let teachers teach.