Tomorrow it starts all over again. My new class of third graders will enter a new classroom, bringing with them what keeps me coming back as a teacher. They bring enthusiasm, confidence (some more than others), wide eyed wonder, curiosity, creativity, and a wealth of values from a variety of backgrounds. I love being a teacher, and I can't wait for it to really start.
It was a rough summer to be a teacher. Mostly, I can blame Diane Ravitch for this. I blame her for writing a book that put education reform on its ear. That book changed the way I looked at education reform - forever. So thanks a lot, Diane (big, fat genuinely thankful grin)!
One thing led to another over the summer, and I found myself following people like Ken Bernstein on Daily Kos, The Answer Sheet, from the Washington Post, Teachers' Letters to Obama on Facebook, and a host of others as I tried to follow people not interested in trashing me just because I was a teacher.
The more I read from those learned sources (and clearly not ed secretary Duncan), the more furious, outraged, and ultimately, despondent I became. Lies and untruths were flowing from sources I thought I would follow forever: a liberal Democratic administration headed by Obama, and someone who was a supposed champion for technology in education, Bill Gates.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
I also followed ed-reformers like Tom Vanderark (know thine enemy). I sat around tables in Seattle with him, heads from Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Seattle Schools, and then superintendent John Stanford, as they drew up plans for the Seattle ed/tech plan. I was a teacher. I had differences with Stanford, but to his credit, he surrounded himself with admins and CLASSROOM TEACHERS (there was one other besides me). I spoke at that table of powerful folks as an equal. Stanford heard me. They all did, they all listened, questioned, and engaged. We had conversations.
That scenario is a distant memory from a bygone age - when teachers were not the cause of the problems in education, they were the answer. Now ed leaders are not looking for a conversation as much as the holy grail. This year the answer is bad teachers. The conversation is over.
I need to stop with the rant. In 12 hours or so, 28 fresh new faces will walk into my classroom, and I will know once again why I do what I do. Thank goodness.