Teachers used to be seen as important members of society. Today their profession is one of the most devalued in the nation.
Randy Turner, a Missouri public school teacher, would certainly agree. Last month he wrote a blog titled “A Warning to Young People: Don’t Become a Teacher.”
Turner discusses several controversial issues, including standardized testing, tenure and virtual learning. He also briefly touches on a proposed bill in Missouri which would “eliminate teacher tenure, tie 33 percent of our pay to standardized test scores… and permit such innovations as ‘student surveys’ to become a part of the evaluation process.”
He also touches on No Child Left Behind, which was signed into law in 2002. There have been debates as to whether the act has actually helped students. I think the problem is students are only being taught how to test. Students are not actually learning for the purpose to gain knowledge, but to meet a desired result. It’s essentially a money-making scheme for the administrators and testing companies. If students are able to meet certain scores, the government grants more funding to the testing companies. It’s a vicious cycle that does not have the best interest of the children in mind. In fact, in a 2012 survey conducted by Gallup Polling, 29 percent of those polled said the law had made public education worse, while only 16 percent said it improved public schooling.. It is not just the students this is affecting, but the teachers, too. This ridiculous law has cost several great teachers their jobs.
Turner explains teachers are being told not to teach but to guide students to learn on their own. He agrees students need to be actively involved in their own learning, but also believes teachers can be a great aid to students. I understand this. I’ve had teachers who clearly did not want to be involved, but I was also lucky to have a few that sincerely cared for their students. I remember the ones that would willingly go out of their way for their class. It’s those select teachers that made my decision easy to go into education.
I grew up with a parent in education, so I realize how difficult the profession is. You’re basically “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” Teachers are constantly being ridiculed for one thing or another. Granted, there are many who get away with the bare minimum. For those whom give their life to it, it’s a neverending battle.
Since the blog post, Turner has been suspended from his position for supposedly distributing a book to his students that he wrote which contains sexually explicit material. Turner denied these allegations and claims he never forced his students to read the book. Whether or not Turner actually made his students read the book is still being debated; however, I feel it was unfair for him to be let go from his position before the truth could be revealed. ”
Turner may have lost his position, but he has gained respect from fellow teachers around the country, and certainly from this columnist.