Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Call

When I first went into teaching I had no trouble figuring out what I would teach or how I would teach it.  Granted, I didn't know everything, but I certainly had an idea why I wanted to teach and what my subject would be.  In fact, I prided myself in knowing a good deal about history, but soon realized after college that any real knowledge would require lifelong learning.
You could say I had the call.  It came about half way through high school after I realized that learning could be enjoyable and how much there was to learn.  My college experience only strengthened that knowledge.
A little thing like the Vietnam War got in the way for a bit, but when that dust up settled, and I could go about the business of getting certified, I couldn't wait to have my own classroom and get on with teaching the history that I was certain was rarely getting taught.  I was focused.  I found a great Department at a wonderfully diverse high school in an equally diverse community.  I stayed for 35 years.


Today, I read daily about more and more attempts by non-teachers to determine who will teach, what it will be, and how it will be taught.  To say these ill-informed reformers have taken much of the skill and joy out of the process would be an understatement.  So just what is going on?
My guess is that many in the teaching profession today have the call.  I've seen them wherever I go.  The one's that don't seldom stay more than a year or two and rarely make it a career.  Why would they?  Given the hours, the pay and the overall trituration mentally and physically, they'd have to be masochists.  
But why all this talk about what to teach?  Certainly the teachers we want could figure this out.  Unless...unless...unless...someone else has an agenda.  Unless some other interest group or industry or philosophical point of view has a stake in what is taught.  Because whomever determines what is taught also determines what is not taught.  There's the rub.  

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