More, Teaching English

Food for Thought

This New York Times article, Toward Better Teachers, is a brief, well-balanced, thoughtful piece on some of the complexities and challenges of teaching. I most strongly agree with Bruni’s final point that, although teachers deserve greater support, compensation, and respect for their work, they also owe the people from whom they’re demanding those things a “discussion about education that fully acknowledges the existence of too many underperformers in their ranks.”

What do you think?



2 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Thought I’d check in on your blog with a thought-out response, Nathan …

    I definitely agree with that final thought. While I’ve had some great teachers, I’ve had at least as many bad ones who seemed only interested in the job because of the mostly desirable schedule and job security that seniority affords. And that does reflect badly on the profession as a whole.

    Teachers are pretty entrenched these days because most American political issues have become an us-vs.-them dogfight, and often a Democrat-vs.-Republican thing. Public education is caught in the middle, especially in a fragmented society as the U.S.

    I’m sure teachers unions feel that any concessions will undercut their own position and embolden their critics, who will sense vulnerability and keep trying to take more of the pie. “Discussion about education that fully acknowledges the existence of too many underperformers in their ranks,” to many, translates into unreasonably holding teachers responsible for students’ failures, eliminating seniority (flawed as it is), and settling political scores via non-transparent reviews that lead to firings.

    It’s too bad politicians don’t seem to care whether education works, but rather just to win fights. Otherwise, I’m real progress could get made on this starting tomorrow. I’m not sure America is capable of reasonable debate anymore!


    Posted by Patrick | October 30, 2014, 11:46 PM
    • Well said, Patrick! Yes, like so many (really, every) other issue in America, people insist being completely right or someone else being completely wrong, leaving no room to come together somewhere in the middle where any sort of real progress can be made. And with education being affected by so many different social, political and economic factors, even if a plan for change/improvement came about it would be a long, hard journey towards achieving it.


      Posted by magyarn | October 31, 2014, 8:35 PM

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