A veteran teacher in Pittsburgh explains what she does every day to serve and protect her students. She is a special education teacher.
Looking at the courage of the Newtown teachers, she sees in them the ethos that career educators share: we protect our students.
She writes: “Yet these same teachers are members of a profession that is increasingly being attacked for what we don’t do, for how much money we make, for how powerful some of our unions have come to be. After the dreadful tragedy in Newtown, it is time to reestablish our faith in our nation’s teachers.
“We need to remind ourselves why teachers do what they do, how they care for our children, how they are co-guarantors, along with parents, of our future. Far beyond instruction, fidelity to curriculum, Common Core State Standards and the like are the daily challenges of teaching children who come to school with a limitless supply of problems and struggles.”
The policymakers seem to have lost sight of the multiple roles that teachers assume in the lives of children and look only at test scores. “The press, public, legislators, government officials and those ever-important tests often seem to reduce teaching to standardized exams, using test data to drive instruction and then judging teachers based on how their students performed on one test on one day. It doesn’t matter if students have a bad morning, or were exhausted, or had a family crisis the night before or couldn’t read the test because of a learning disability.”
The teacher hopes that after Newtown, the public will have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced daily by teachers.