Tough Times For Teachers, But Also Some Hope

18 Dec

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
― Thich Nhat HanhPeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

It’s a tough time to be a teacher.  It’s been a long year.

We’ve had major strikes by teachers all over the world: ChicagoVictoria (Australia) British ColumbiaOntarioZimbabweSouth AfricaUnited Kingdom, etc. Teachers have waged a battle against the encroachment of standardized testing and unfair teacher evaluations systems and public opinion of teaching as a professions seems very low. It’s led some to call this a “War on Teachers“.

Then last week we had the unspeakable horrors and incredible acts of heroism of Sandy Hook.

As I prepared to greet students on Monday morning I realized I’d not only need to reassure them that school was a safe place to be, but also confirm that school would be closed because of a strike. The real world was “shaking the snow globe” of our classroom and I didn’t like it.

Being an effective teacher is challenging, even at the best of times. When “the world” conspires to make it harder I question what we were doing and why. I’m good at looking for the light inside the darkness, but it seems we’ve arrived at a very bleak place.

Sometime today, as I walked with a picket sign, the clouds cleared and a path opened.

We need to make this world better. A place where people are respected and valued, get what they need and don’t live in fear. The most effective and honorable way I know to help make that happen is for me to be a teacher. To help my students to become the best they can so they can go out and create that world.

I’m rededicated to that. The hope that we can will sustain me.

5 Responses to “Tough Times For Teachers, But Also Some Hope”

  1. Royan Lee December 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Here here, brother.

  2. Fred Galang (@NomadCreatives) December 24, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Are we coming to a point now where if we’re gathered among friends, we’d “mumble” what we do for a living when asked? I refuse to hop on the soapbox and say that teachers have a critical role in society because it is best unsaid and quite frankly, that cliché bores me to tears. I will say however that teachers are as important as other members of this society. We are in danger of further stratification and the public don’t seem to care. My hope is to continue to reach my students in any way possible. My message to the naysayers, “Hate teachers all you want, but you’d want your kids in my classroom.”

  3. jenjilks January 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Give up hope, all ye who enter the profession. Shameful what the province has done.


  1. It would be easy not to care… « SheilaSpeaking - December 23, 2012

    […] staff, and principals who are so close and ‘in’ it.  I appreciated a subsequent post from Andrew about how he is staying hopeful and sustained as a […]

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