I like many have had this brewing for awhile. It is time to get it out.
I will not be going to see the new movie Waiting for Superman. The biggest reason is that I don't need to see the movie denigrate the awesome things I see every day. I am tired. I am tired of all the teacher bashing going on in the media and in general, particularly here locally. It seems like the national bashing is just catching up to what has been going on here in Utah for about as long as I have been employed in education (20+ years). The main reason that I am so tired of it is that so much of what is said is simply untrue.
I am in a unique position where I get to see several teachers everyday. In doing so, I get to see the heroic things they do with kids everyday. To public education's critics I say quit waiting for the superhero and go look at what thousands of them are doing every single day of the school year. They are heroes. The are doing the best they can with the material they have. They don't care what condition a child comes to them in, while that child is there they are working as hard as they can to help that child learn and grow and develop.
By the way, while doing so they are learning new things themselves all of the time. New programs, new tools, new technologies, new and more and more assessments. I'll be perfectly honest, I don't know that I could do it anymore. Teachers are asked to do more and more everyday, often times with less and less resources. There is always someone that doesn't like them, a parent, an administrator, a student, a fellow teacher so there is constant criticism. If what teachers do under these conditions is not the definition of heroic, then we need to change the definition.
So are there bad teachers, of course there are. There are bad accountants, bad cops, bad quarterbacks. But it seems like teachers are often get treated globally based on a few bad apples. I am not going to debate tenure, but I do know that if a teacher is truly not able to do the job there are means to remove them from the profession. My biggest fear though is that the current witch-hunt of teachers is going to cause so many of the heroic ones to leave.
That will be the saddest part of all of this. I would implore you, don't wait for Superman, go find that heroic teacher that exists in every town and city in this state and nation and tell them thank you and ask what you can do to help.