Friday, August 14, 2009

Do we mature teachers have the strength to keep going?

Schools Need Teachers Like Me. I Just Can't Stay wrote Sarah Fine in the August 9 issue of the Washington Post, which I found quoted in The Week magazine:
I quit, said Sarah Fine. After four years of teaching at a public charter school in Washington, D.C., I’m walking away from my students and my profession. Armed with high ideals and an Ivy League education, I became a teacher because I loved the idea of making a difference in young lives in urban school districts.

Teaching was sometimes “exhilarating,” but my best efforts to engage students from troubled families often failed. It was painful trying to reach “students such as Shawna, a 10th-grader who could barely read and had resolved that the best way to deal with me was to curse me out under her breath.” But though I tell people I’m burned out, my reason for leaving goes beyond simple frustration.

I’m tired of giving my all for a profession that is widely viewed as “second-rate,” fit only for people who lack the drive and the intelligence to make it in business, medicine, or law. People like me are constantly asked, Why teach? It’s “nice,’’ but it’s not a real job. Largely because of that attitude, half of all new teachers quit within five years. Now I know why.
People like Sharon White and Lou Groner, whom you can meet in the videos that follow, (and me and some of my classmates at Claremont Graduate University, too!) are going to try to bring our life-long experience to the classroom. I'm hoping that we will be able to bring the ballast of many years experience to help us through the frustrations that ended Sarah Fine's teaching career. We may not teach many more years than the 5 she mentioned, but I do hope that we will be able to catch the students' attention with our life stories and show them that education is worth while. We don't need as much reccognition as Sarah needs, because we've already gotten it.

No comments:

Post a Comment