Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I Hate My Profession Sometimes

Look at this crap from the American Federation of Teachers: http://www.letsgetitright.org/cartoon/

Education is serious, and serious people do serious thinking about it. Legislative policy is serious, and serious people offer serious critiques. Issues of accountability and standards of excellence are serious, and serious people provide serious alternatives. Serious people do not create cartoons with animals singing show-tune style whinings about a law that, at its core, begins to hold teachers, administrators, and schools responsible for student achievement. Serious people do not substitute 1950s iconic imagery like red apples and one-room schoolhouses in place of nuanced, layered analysis and vigorous debate.

We ought not laugh this off. It is garbage of this nature that propagates unrealistic impressions of teachers as cuter-outers, paper-passers, sticker-applyers, bulletin board-creators and nothing else. It is crap like this that helps undermines teacher's role in our culture, deprive them of much needed respect. I wouldn't respect a profession that creates awful cartoons with flat-falling jokes and weak cheap shots rather than engage in intelligible discourse. And I cannot get past the esthetics of the whole thing. If we promote the archetype of the puppy-dog and Christmas-tree sweater wearing teacher who loves nothing more than watching kids move in a straightstraight lines, we destroy the archetype of the professional teacher who purposefully and systematically works to raise student achievement.

This is embarrassing and gross.

5 Comments:

Blogger Tom Hoffman said...

Lighten up.

8:14 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Do doctors do this, Tom? Do lawyers? Do bankers? Does anyone in a serious profession undermine their own professionalism in this way?

8:35 AM  
Blogger ms. frizzle said...

I received an email plugging this cartoon, as well. My question is, who is the intended audience? I'm not quite as incensed about it as you are, but I don't really see this convincing anyone of anything... and I'm definitely over the apples-and-crayons motif that is so over-used in education.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NCLB's criteria for labeling failure/success is misguided in that it sets benchmarks for declaring failure/success that are criterion based. Criteria developed by apdopting the results of the nation's most priviledged learners. It leaves no room for rewarding improvement.

It's desire to prompt corrective action is misguided in that it offers no means for schools to provide more resources and freedom from ed code requirements for those who are without the means to improve.

It's intention to weaken the democratic institution of free, public education for all is clear when its ultimate penalty is that of charter correction or a centralized takeover when these very cures have yet to produce levels of achievement superior to schools in the existing system.

Its clear reference to market based competition as a cure all to the traditional district/board centered standard for school administration and organization structure for increased achievement is misguided in that the market model has yet to eradicate gross inequity on its on turf--the economy of its citizenry (oops, consumers).

NCLB is serious in its desire to prompt a dismantling of the system as a whole. By offering that the solution to the criteria based failure they define is that of allowing schools to exempt themselves from state and union requirements, the authors of NCLB all but declare teacher unions to be a block, if not a actor to be eliminated, from the future of American education. Given that, why does the union counter such 'serious' acts with such sophmoric drivel.

Blogger boy, your point is not overly critical. You're on point.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous He Who Can't said...

I agree with you. Lack of seriousness abounds in this profession on every level above the classroom, administrative, union, in the universities, even. Just because we work with children doesn't mean we should think, and present arguments, like children. And I think the audience the AFT was looking for is themselves, unfortunately.
The cartoon reminds me (aplogies if I'm taking this too far) of all the cheeky protests that were going on during the RNC and the onset of the invasion of Iraq. It's nice to see creativity and humor, but come on! It just makes it easier for those who oppose us to dismiss us.

6:48 AM  

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