K-12 practitioners remain trapped in a hellish contradiction created by the cult of personality driving edu-gurus and gimmicks: Teachers are simultaneously posed as the singular and most important factor in student learning (a verifiable lie) and then treated as incompetent technicians.
Teachers need to be relieved of edu-gurus and gimmicks; they deserve professional experiences that include the time, support, and conditions that are conducive to what is best for each student taking a seat in any of their classrooms.
Teachers must not be reduced to technocrats, must not be compelled to be martyrs and missionaries.
If we can resist the allure of celebrity and cashing in, we must ultimately acknowledge the humanity of teachers and their students, while admitting the ugly influences of sexism and consumerism that too often trump our stated goals of democracy and equity.
“The more focused you are on measurable outcomes, the more trivial your teaching tends to become.”
“Measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning.”
If we’re not careful, the very meaning of the verb “to teach” will be completely shifted until it no longer refers to guiding, coaching, helping ignite a flame, sharing mastery of material, passing on and adding to the collective understanding, helping understand how the world works, encouraging students to find their best selves, grasping what it means to be fully human in the world. None of that– it will just mean “get students ready for the test.”
Speak up. Mind the pipeline. Guard the future.