Nancy Flanagan was a music teacher for thirty years in Michigan and a National Board Certified Teacher. She writes a smart blog at Education Week called “Teacher in a Strange Land,” which is an apt title for the disjointed and bizarre times we live in. Her perspective is rooted in her deep experience. I always learn something new when I read her posts.
Her current post is called “Sleeping with the Enemy.” She asks why can’t we all just get along? Can the lion and the lamb lie down together? She offers James Carville and Mary Matalin as a case in point. It can happen.
And she writes about the pent-up anger among so many teachers, who don’t understand why they are treated so abusively in the media and by the policymakers who have never taught a day or maybe taught for a few months or even two years.
Nancy is clearly conflicted. She can’t decide whether compromise is possible, whether there is a middle group between the corporate reformers and the nation’s battered teachers. Or whether compromise reveals a lack of moral conviction.
She ends with a story about a colleague who is attending a conference where he will display his best lessons, in hopes of being chosen to attend an international conference. And she wonders, as do I, why Bill Gates appointed himself to choose America’s best teachers. As do I.
She leaves us pondering that compromise, pondering what we give up and what we gain. And who really wins.