It’s not said, but it’s said: we’re supposed to be somehow better than the teachers in schools now. There aren’t teacher shortages at my school. My school hired me, an English major with zero teaching experience, over someone more experienced who was traditionally certified in social studies. Maybe it’s because they can pay me less, maybe it’s because principals like that we CMs are a known quantity (all picked, trained, placed the same), or maybe it’s because there actually is some meat to that argument that my brand-name school and youthful enthusiasm means something (ha) in a classroom.
But let’s go with it. I’m going to be so much better than those traditionally certified, far more experienced, leagues-ahead content-proficient teachers. Even suspending my giggles, here’s what I still don’t get: I’m still working in the same structures as the teachers that are the object of the reform movement’s disdain. We’re working the standards hard and backwards planning the heck out of the state assessments and… aren’t these the standards and assessments that (according to Kopp, Rhee, et al) have been screwing these kids over?
It just feels like some logical discord in the idea that I can have this transformative effect in kids’ lives when even if I’m the most capable, charismatic, and creative first-year teacher they’ve ever had, I’m teaching in the structures and institutions that are so broken. Can surface-level pedagogy really make that much of a difference?
Maybe I’m missing a step. But I feel like we’re inundated with a constant barrage of how the system’s broken right before we’re sent out to uphold the system.
Ravitch says we’re small potatoes, that it’s disingenuous for us, as an organization, to say “We’re the difference that’s going to change everything.” From where I’m lesson-planning, lady’s got a point.