When did teachers become so afraid?

As we head back to school I would like teacher’s to seriously consider something. It’s not reviewing the latest scholarly article or their pedology.

When did teachers become so afraid?

When did we decide being micromanaged, marginalized and disrespected was better than the alternative?

When did we decide testing our kids to death, or forcing a curriculum on them that we know is developmentally inappropriate or doesn’t address their needs is okay as long as we have a steady pay check?

When did we decide that our silence was required and our opinions no longer mattered?

When did we decide it was okay to sacrifice times with our family and friends so we can work for free because the system gives us more than we can possibly do while at work?

When dd we become so afraid and all this became okay and is it all really better than the alternative?

I’m not saying we should throw up our hands and quit. Instead I am saying that if we stopped being afraid then we can make things better. The crazy thing is right now teachers have the power. Florida recently declared a critical shortage in just about every teaching position.

We need to stop working for free, from the first bell to quitting time give an honest effort but after that leave it at work. If enough teachers did that then this alone would send a big enough signal that things need to change.

Then we need to write letters to the editor and op eds, we have to let people know and I sincerely believe if they did that would demand better.

It’s also past time that people who were never in the classroom or were in it a long time ago dictated to professionals and that instead the people that know what is best for their kids ran the show.

To do that we have to elect school board members and state legislators that understand what it is to be a teacher and what our kids need and we have to understand that often these are the people who are going to get the least in donations and news coverage. We can keep electing people with the biggest bank accounts who often blame teachers and who would dismantle our schools.

Then we have to stop being afraid. The life many teachers are leading is not better than the alternative.

I will be honest there may be consequences for doing and saying the right things but if enough of us do it then there will be rewards as well. 

7 Replies to “When did teachers become so afraid?”

  1. Sadly, you're right. Too many teachers are afraid of retaliation. Maybe you won't lose your job, but you sure could be relegated to the worst assignment on campus. I work with several single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs or the stress of a horrible assignment.

  2. I've been thinking the same thing for awhile now, and asking what year are we living in? Teachers sacrifice so much…how is this even happening? It's like we don't even have a voice )-:

  3. The tag line here says it all. We became afraid in November of 2012. We have watched excellent people be replaced by yes people and lose the paycheck their families relied on to survive without a word from the super's cabinet members who made it happen so they could put friends in positions. We became afraid when we saw principals who gave their life to the betterment of Duval children put back into classrooms, because there was no good cause to get rid of them, just a group of people behind closed doors deciding they didn't like them. Then interestingly enough these same schools showed that the same principal improved that school when grades finally came out. We have witnessed people fired and untarnished careers destroyed because they refused to say yes to terrible curriculum and terrible ideas that would negatively affect children. Instead we stay in our classrooms, say yes Heir Vitti and do what we know is best for our students. Are we afraid darn straight and for good reason. It is what he wanted and why he has the bullies he has put in place working for him. Be afraid; very very adraid!!!

  4. Teachers are skilled to do a MILLION different types of jobs: Teachers are excellent managers, public relation specialists, announcers, coaches (of ALL kinds), caretakers, tutors, counselors, entertainers/performers, detectives (oh yes!, every day we are figuring out mysteries), writers, editors (excellent ones, by the way!), coordinators, time management and efficiency experts,…oh my, the list goes on and on….Teachers, Do NOT be afraid of speaking the truth!! You will probably find a MUCH HIGHER PAYING job if you are an experienced teacher!!!

  5. It's not just teachers that are afraid, school counselors are afraid too! Did you know that three years ago Vitti decided that every high school would have a 12 month counselor? So, almost across the board, the low man on the totem pole at every school was forced to move to 12 month or lose their job. Most of them are annual contract so they have no recourse. You either move to 12 month or you're relieved of your duties. It's so unfair! And no one cares! Not one peep from the union or anyone else to back us up. Counselors are on the exact same contract as a teacher. Can you imagine if they try to make a teacher at every school moved to 12 month? And guess who's fault it is if the kid doesn't graduate? You got it! Must be the counselor! Never mind that the kid never comes to school, or if he does come to school he never picks up a pencil. There is a tremendous amount of pressure and browbeating that is going on around the district for counselors to drive the graduation rate and post secondary readiness rates. The reality is that we have very little control over these things.
    It's a very sad time to be a school counselor in Duval county.

    1. I couldn't agree more. High school counselors will have to answer to district leadership at the end of the year about why Johnny didn't graduate. They will ask the counselor what he/she did to help the student graduate. Whatever we say, it won't be enough. It'll be our fault, not the student or parent. The student had no responsibility in the process. Don't get me started on the amount of time I've spent maintaining a spreadsheet with all kinds of data points instead of actually working with the actual student. Very sad. The students deserve better and the school counselors deserve district support instead of the bullying and fear that is coming out of Prudential Drive..

    2. AND we don't have anyone in our district school counseling office who cares! No one will stand up for us! With a new person at the helm who is not willing to rock the boat and a high school specialist who is supposed to help us but is useless. And the union doesn't know we exist.

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