Proud to Be a Failing Teacher

I beg your indulgence and forgiveness as I step away from my usual topics and post about my other life…my passion for teaching.

Teaching has not been a fun place to be in recent years.  Don’t get me wrong…I love it and truly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.  But the public narrative has become one that vilifies all teachers and makes us out to be incompetent, greedy, lazy, and almost criminally negligent.  I hope that most of you know this cannot be farther from the truth.

In this video, Joshua Katz eloquently gives voice to the frustration that I hear every day in the teachers’ lounge.  Frustration that America has handed our public schools over to testing companies and for-profit charter schools while simultaneously attempting to completely sweep the far-reaching effects of poverty under the rug.  Poverty is too vast a problem, too fearsome to overcome. Blaming the teachers is all too easy.

I teach one block north of the border of one of the poorest cities in the nation. 100% of the students in my school receive free or reduced lunch.  Poverty is part of the daily routine of my life.  I am knee-deep in it every day and I see its realities, not the “welfare queen” myth of poverty that abounds among my suburban, middle class neighbors.

My school is a failing school.  By virtue of working there, I am a failing teacher. I must be incompetent, sayeth the pundits. More

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Closets

This is just awesome in so many ways.

This video is a TED talk from Ash Beckham.  She is discussing coming out of the closet.  But she points out that we all live in closets, they are just different kinds of closets.  Anything that involves a hard conversation is a closet–telling someone you have cancer, confessing to having an affair, admitting that you are going bankrupt.

Telling someone you have been raped. More

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