Carteret County, NC
Feb. 3, 2020
TO THE EDITOR:
Regarding the recent news, posts and conversations referring to the “proposed teacher strike” in some areas in NC, and speaking on my own behalf as well as that of teachers throughout the state, most of us DO our jobs, and we do them well. Most of us LOVE our jobs and above all, our students.
True teachers embrace the vocation as a beautiful calling, and we welcome the sense of responsibility inherent in our chosen careers.
The media chooses to focus on salaries, which honestly is NOT the pressing issue. Walk down the halls where I teach on any given day and you will not hear a single comment about salary. The abusive testing that results in elementary school children throwing up every day from stress, the increasingly government-mandated curricula and forced methods that take away a teacher’s educational gifts, the fact that our legislature attacks our profession at every possible turn with these policies, but can’t be held accountable for doing THEIR job... THESE are the pressing issues. Salary is secondary. There has never been a teacher who chose the profession to get rich.
We love our students. We love our subject matter. We WANT and NEED to be trusted to do great things for the children we teach. But we are increasingly vilified, disrespected, and blamed. And then when anyone tries to take a stand - for our children FAR more than for our wallets - those in power and those within most media start shouting about money. It’s a great way to hide the real issues and continue to undermine public confidence in what we do.
And, if we’re going to be really honest, it keeps many parents from feeling the need to step up and speak out in defense of and advocating for what’s best for their children, not because of their teachers, but because of a policy-making mechanism that cares nothing for nurturing educational growth and success in our young people, and everything for feeding itself at the expense of those it exists to serve.
And before anyone even says it, yes, of course there are teachers who have no business in the classroom for any number of valid, compelling reasons. They should be made to leave. That is equally true in every profession. But no number of standardized tests will ever identify those professionals.
They do, however, make it very easy for people to “measure” whatever it is they want the statistics to support. Until the general public accepts the truth and demands better from our state, the smoke and mirrors and skewed “data” will continue to provide a platform for those with NO regard for the state’s children or future, let alone their teachers. And they will do it while hiding behind biased perspectives and useless budget stalemates, and above all the designed perspective that we as teachers are no better than whining mercenaries.
For the record, most of us are neither members of NCAE, nor do we support their agenda, which has grown increasingly self-serving over the years, just like most political entities masquerading as well-intentioned and “for the people.”
We might just be one of the few defenses left against those who would render North Carolina’s children automatons who can only function within a multiple-choice, standardized, tightly-controlled fallacy.
NC Career Teacher