If you really want to show teacher appreciation…..

Teacher Appreciation. I listened to an NPR show yesterday about charter schools, public education, etc. It was the typical argument – public ed is failing so charters are the answer (from one side), and from the other side, charters are causing public ed to decline. The problem with public education, and I feel very confident in saying this based on my 45+ years in public education, is that those who make policy are most often without any education experience. Like school boards and state governments – most of those people are making the laws, tests, etc, and their only experience with education is that they were once students! The problem is that these people in charge NEVER ask those who know what the problems are: it’s the teachers, stupid! They know, believe me, they know better than anyone what is wrong and how to fix it. I’ve seen administrators give lip service to the teachers by asking them something about it every once in a while, but they never acted on the suggestions they get. Why is this? I know why – because all of those who make the decisions, whose only experience with education has been as a student, have had a teacher they didn’t like, and thus use their illogical assumption that all teachers don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t trust teachers because of their own experiences with teachers. That’s very sad.

Even building administrators are too removed. While watching (binge) the current season of Homeland, Dar made a comment to Carrie that as soon as she walked out of the door of being an active CIA agent, she was out of touch with what goes on in the CIA. I posit that as a mirror reality with education administrators – once out of the classroom, you’ve begun to lose touch with what is necessary to create an environment conducive to learning. And this can’t be garnered by an occasional visit to a teacher’s classroom. This isn’t rocket science; ask and listen to teachers, and then do what they say.

You might say that parents and students are important in this equation. You’d be right only to a minor degree, because whatever you think students or parents know, the teacher has known a very long time ago by observing the student(s) in her/his classroom. So, if you really want to show teachers that you appreciate them, LISTEN TO THEM!!!