Thursday, August 03, 2006

Teacher professionalism vs. appreciation

I started to write all this in the comments section of this post, responding to comments by NYC Educator and Ed at AFT, but it got too long, so here we are.

I guess I wasn't referring so much to the massages and the gyms as to the stuff like what Explore Charter School is doing (see original Chalkboard post here). I agree that the massage idea is paternalistic and really isn't much different from traditional teacher appreciation efforts, which are often eerily similar to Secretary's Day and reveal how unprofessionally teachers are viewed in many schools. That's the kind of thing that really makes me think that these charter school operators are terrified of having another Williamsburg Charter situation.

I guess I was thinkking more along the lines of this book (which I posted about here). I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in both social justice and charter schools. Anyway, one of the schools profiled in the book (can't remember the name, but I think it's in Boston) is practicing real, true teacher professionalism -- massages and gyms aren't needed, because teachers are viewed as the professionals they really are. The entire faculty are teacher-researchers -- everything is about constantly examining your own teaching practice to make sure students are really learning, and then sharing your findings with others.

That's the kind of school where I hope to someday teach. That's the kind of teaching experience I want to have, and that's really why I want to be a teacher. Ed and Educator are right, no massage is going to replace that.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

I think your professionalism is within you, and you will bring it wherever you work. Kids can tell whether or not you respect what you do, and will treat you accordingly. They're often far keener judges of character than administators.

And sadly, the places you're treated the worst are often those where you're needed the most.

I teach both in high school and at college. Though my college classes are often more efficient, I'm absolutely certain I'm needed more in high school. And important rewards don't come from administration.

Wait till kids tell you they'd never actually read complete books until you browbeat, threatened, and tricked them into it.

And don't bother asking Eva M. about things like that, because she hasn't got the remotest notion of them.

Being an expert, she has no need to know things like that.