Saturday, June 10, 2006
I come from a lower middle class family, from the projects in the Bronx My dad worked two jobs and my mom worked too. The only college graduates I ever knew were either teachers or doctors. Since I didn't want to be a doctor, I became a teacher. I knew I had to find a job to provide an income for myself and didn't really think I had any other options. In the 70's there was no career guidance for girls. Luckily for me, I ended up loving my job and I think I do a pretty good job. Thirty years later, I am still teaching, I know I made the right choice for me but I hesitate to encourage young people to enter this profession. All of a sudden, teachers are responsible for all the problems our students have. We were told at a recent faculty conference to adjust our lessons to deal with these problems. So what if a kid is living in a car or his mother is HIV positive? So what if a girl goes home to a sexually abusive step father every evening? If they fail, we fail. Patients do not accept a doctor if that doctor cannot cure him, although I do know that many doctors face dying patients every day. Not every lawyer can get his client released either. When I started teaching, my job was to teach mathematics and to hopefully prepare my students for life beyond high school. Now the young teacher is expected to do this and to right all the wrongs that have been inflicted upon that child, no matter what. This is just too much for any individual to do. We are not Don Quixotes and cannot right the unrightable wrong and cannot reach the unreachable star. We should not be required to fight with our last ounce of courage to beat the unbeatable foe.