The problem is complex, but the steps are simple. It starts with teachers becoming the very best.
This morning, I awoke just after 6:30, even though I am sick and had thought I would sleep longer. So, I put my time to good use and decided to watch “Waiting for Superman” before I watched my talk shows (that I never get to watch anymore because I am trying to be a successful teacher.
As I have been talking with friends, and with other teachers occasionally, I have said it (and I will continue to say it). The education system in America needs to be fixed. There are people that want to fix it. There are people that realize what the problem is. There are people trying to fix it. But it can’t be fixed unless everyone that is involved is committed to and ready for the change. And I don’t know if that will ever happen.
The first thing that the education system needs is teachers that are willing to become the best. Teachers that teach because it is their passion and it is what they want to do – not because it is a paycheck and something to do. I can vouch for this 100%. I am currently at a job right now that is not my passion, and I can feel myself just getting into a groove. I can feel myself wanting to give up because the kids aren’t willing to put the work in. That is not good. I am in a position where if I were a full time teacher, I should be fired. But I am just doing a job for a teacher until she returns. And I am doing the best I can to make sure that I get the kids through what they need to do.
With elementary school, however, I have a deep passion and I would do almost anything for these kids. It is who I was trained to work with, who I have worked with and observed throughout my college training and who I have a passion for working with. When I am in the elementary classroom, I don’t mind staying and finishing things well into the evening hours. I don’t mind putting in the extra work and calling parents. I don’t mind doing the extra and pushing it harder.
So, the first part is having teachers that are willing to become better teachers. Teachers that are willing to push themselves to be the best that they can be.
The next step is to have high expectations for the kids. The key is to make sure that the kids know about these expectations and are always doing the best that they can. If the kids don’t know about the expectations, they cannot meet them. If the expectations are too low, the kids will not care and will not push themselves. With high expectations comes hard work and progress.
School is not supposed to be easy. It will be hard sometimes. It will make you angry sometimes. You might want to give up sometimes. But if you push through and get past where you are – you will be better and you will be able to achieve anything you want to.
The education system can be fixed. Everyone can be educated. Everyone has the ability to become whatever they want to be and to achieve everything they’ve ever dreamed. It starts with the schools. It starts with the teachers. It’s all about the students.
I realize that this isn’t necessarily fixing the problem. What I have to say isn’t going to make things better. What Teaching Fellowships and Teach for America is doing is not going to make the school system better. What schools need are dedicated, passionate teachers that are going to stay in the profession and work to be better teachers. Dedicated, passionate teachers that are going to push their students to be the best that they can be. Dedicated, passionate teachers that are going to push themselves to help make the entire system better by helping other teachers become better teachers.
If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend “Waiting for Superman”. It isn’t the greatest, it doesn’t tell us what to do to fix the education system, in my opinion; but it does tell us where to start. Which is with the teachers. What do you think about the education system in the United States? How would you fix it?