I’m honored to offer this guest post from Angelina Reed, a pre-service teacher about to earn her bachelor’s degree. She offers perspective and questions that push us all to pause, reflect, and offer practical pathways for proactive change. I look forward to this conversation as I believe there’s never been a more relevant post on the co-op.
As a pre-service teacher I would like to relate to you a little of
what I have seen in the many schools I have visited.
1) Some teachers are demoralized with constant criticism from the
media and are left with no self-confidence in their own abilities as
teachers. The political climate here (TN) is hostile at the moment
which also fuels the fire. ALL of the negative aspects of our public
education system have been advertised without any regard to the
wonderful things these teachers do everyday. This has left the public
skeptical of every teacher and their ability to instruct their
children. The media, politicians, and also some teachers are letting
the politics of: unions, teacher pay, or their own political
philosophy of what should be taught, cloud their vision of a better
education for everyone. No one is thinking or acting proactively.
Many are relying on politics to fix education….that is just not going
to work. Also, many are using education as a political selling
point. I know political issues must be confronted, but I believe the
process in which we approach issues around education need to be
changed. How do we build up teachers in the midst of such hostility?
2) Students in my cohort are now wondering if they really have what it
takes to go into a profession in which they will not be respected. I
feel many teachers and students are loosing the ability to empower
themselves and their students. There is no spark, no excitement to
keep them going! How do we keep students entering the field of
teaching optimistic, excited, and creative, when teachers themselves
and the public they serve are becoming increasingly pessimistic?
3) There is no plan of action. Many suggest ideas, improvement,
change, restructure, etc. with no positive plan of action. No one is
on the same page. Everyone is divided in their opinions without having
a setting in which they can come together in the areas they agree on.
I don’t sense a feeling of cooperative education, right now I sense do
or die. As I said in my email to Adam, this feeling may be everyone’s
panicked response to change. How can we unite teachers together and
evaluate these changes in a positive, proactive way?
I am only speaking in a generality as there are many teachers who
aren’t letting themselves be affected by the above issues…I have been
fortunate enough to be in their classrooms! I am sure there are many
other things I could say, but I don’t have enough time in the day to
Thanks for addressing these issues and offering your expertise to a
newby like me!