Teachers: Stuck in the Middle ☆

| September 14, 2010

I think this cartoon says a lot.

As educators, we often find ourselves pulled between poles. There are students and there are experts; there are parents and there are administrators. In Texas, there are academics and there are school boards. In New Jersey, there are union reps and there are politicians. And in all of this back-and-forth, the individual educators seem forgotten.

It would be easy, here, to lapse into some scary sort of rhetoric about how easy it is to forget the real work while at Teachers College. This is certainly one of the most supportive institutions in the world. But I think we know that academics, scholarship, and even good will can only carry us so far. It strikes me that an array of groups in this country are positioning themselves against the classroom teacher.

When I look at that cartoon, I of course see a single teacher besieged by dozens of opposing forces. But that’s superficial. It seems there are over 8 million educators in the United States. That should be a powerful voice, but with our decentralized system, a potential voting bloc is broken into myriad smaller groups, all vying for recognition in their state, country, city, or district.

I offer you KDP, a society that currently represents over 48,000 practicing educators around the country (and in at least 5 other countries). In September of this year, we launched a new initiative to create a political voice within our organization. A single teacher has no hope against all those students, administrators, parents, and politicians. But, with a concerted effort, we might change the look of that poor cartoon teacher.