Sunday, February 15, 2009
Make New Friends
I was once a young teacher. I knew I had plenty to learn and looked up to the older, more experienced teachers to learn from.
On the other hand, the older, experienced teachers I worked with looked forward to working with they young, enthusiastic group the new teachers were part of. We worked together, shared materials and experiences and even partied together after school. Life, while hard, was good.
Things are different now. Administrators don't want the old, tenured teachers around. They don't want to pay our salaries out of their budgets and they don't want us speaking our minds, particularly when our minds are working differently than theirs. They assume that some of the kids are not learning not because they can't but because our teaching methods are stuck in the dark ages. It is easier to blame us than to accept reality. Experienced teachers are now being told that they are no good. They don't know how to ask questions. They don't know how to write tests. They know nothing about classroom management. Experienced teachers are being told to observe the young. They are attending workshops run by teachers just out of college. Experienced teachers are being pushed out of teaching.
Like Patterson, we were all young once. Like me, we will all grow old. If Patterson makes it to receive tenure, he will be grateful in a year or so when the administration of his school decides he is too old or too set in his ways to be worth keeping.
In my math classes I always say "make new friends" (in reference to learning new material) but "keep the old" (the stuff you need to build on) "one is silver and the other is gold." Patterson, the teachers like me are the gold of the system. Your value will increase with time, if you make it that long.