Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Are There Bad Teachers?

What Do We Think of Our Teacher Colleagues?
By Jim Vail

Many teachers have been brainwashed into believing that there really are a lot of bad teachers out there when they read or watch the news. 

But are there really so many bad teachers? 

Didn't we all enter this profession because we want to help children learn how to read and write and draw and sing and become wonderful, responsible adults.

But some of our colleagues begin to internalize this teacher bashing and believe that teachers really are the problem.

A case in point was when teacher activist Tim Meegan posted the following note on his Facebook page dated March 28: 'Ashamed to be a CPS teacher today.'

Meegan wrote that there were teachers at his school who convinced the students to take the dreaded PARCC Test, designed to destroy the public schools and humiliate the children. Many schools, including Roosevelt High School where Meegan teaches, helped organize opt out so students did not take the test.

It is a fact that teachers, like everyone, are victims of the propaganda we read that is controlled by the ruling class. The rich business people who own the media have shaped the opinions of teachers who think if they do not give the PARCC test the school will lose funding.

Many lies out there, who is to believe what?

In Meegan's case, the administration at his school didn't even pressure the teachers to convince students to take the test. He wrote that their admin. was neutral on the subject, while other schools fought students who tried to opt out.

The following comment was echoed by several others: "Cowards. What does it say about a teacher who lies to her students?"

Interestingly enough, a round of teacher bashing was bandied back and forth on Meegan's Facebook page.

Here was one interesting comment: "Time to teach the students the truth. The liars and manipulators time is numbered. They might've won today, but students have a way of dealing with those who exploit them when they know the are loved in their struggle for justice."

Reading this I had to do a double take.

Were these the same activist members of the Chicago Teachers Union who showed incredible solidarity by going on strike in 2012 to save our profession? 

And now they are bashing their very own colleagues with whom they marched in the streets of Chicago to demand smaller class sizes?

Meegan agreed with one comment that he should organize a meeting and explain to his colleagues what's up with opting out of PARCC.

Another mentioned that teachers are in a "survival mode" these days and if they are only hearing the news about this, they can understand why they could fall into "the troupe of PARCC=$ + employment."

Questions were then asked why are teachers still seeing test data as the gravy of our profession, why the submission to authority?

The following solutions were made to combatting teachers' ignorance in these two comments:

"It's definitely true that the reformers' ideas hold sway over some of our own people since those are the mainstream ideas out there (for now). Do you have any thoughts about what we can do to get the right message out there? For the second round of PARCC we should be able to do another big push. CUT? CTU emails? HOD?"

"Found the same thing at my school. However, as a new teacher I haven't had a chance to build the relationships to fully bring up all their issues with my colleagues, although I have been trying to have lots of conversations, do a lot of listening about school and community concerns. Our colleagues are tired and many are scared about the future. The past few years after the strike have not been kind. I know my school went through closure and consolidation, losing dozens of teachers and staff, causing mass upheavals. Now our Network has been coming down hard on any form of dissent. It's important to meet people where they are. Instead of just dismissing people or going behind their backs, maybe we all need to remember our CORE roots of building-level organizing. With all the push for electoral politics over the past few months, I do feel like we lost our focus and ability to reach out and organize our colleagues. Maybe, especially with the upcoming contract fight, we need to reclaim that ideal."


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