Monday, January 4, 2010

TFA, The Onion, and fodder

Teaching is like a white elephant gift exchange. One moment, you are completely satisfied with the box of gourmet hot chocolate mix. The next moment, you are left with a battery powered Santa figurine that lights up to look more like a grotesque, creepy clown and a stunned feeling of hopelessness through no fault of your own other than having a decent gift in the first place.

I'm not particularly a huge fan of The Onion. I perceive it as habitually patting itself on the back. But this article hit quite close to reality in The Onion's signature fashion.

I was a Teach for America hopeful at one point in time, and I am glad to say that I didn't go that route or else I would be an accountant by now. Not that accounting isn't a good job - I just prefer teaching. Yep, despite all the who-ha and do-dads of the system. And the fact that windows can come crashing down over children's heads at any given moment.

Something that did take me back about this article is that it was written in 2005. And things have not changed at all for the better. In fact, it has probably gotten worse.

There are a million and one real news articles about the state of American education. I'm not sure we need a fake-news article about how bad it is, or how hopeless it can get. Why on earth do we need to try so hard to persuade people to become teachers? And more to the point, why on earth are we doing nothing to keep the good teachers in schools now? The good teachers, like Cuellen in the article, who have so much potential and can grow to be someone principals fight over to get on staff with only a little bit of investment on the part of the system. The good teachers who end up burning out like a moth in a space rocket exhaust pipe.

Well, I don't get these moments very often, so I'm going to revel in it for a little while. I'm glad I wasn't 21 years old, straight out of undergrad when I started teaching. Because knowing me, I would have quit long before now.

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