Thursday, August 6, 2015

After the Laughs...

This post was inspired by "Key & Peele's" Teaching Center video. If you have not viewed it, I highly recommend you to do so before further reading.

I find it interesting that the rest of the world, except most powers that be, understand, respect, and agree that the work teachers do is undervalued and they are underpaid. Key & Peele liken the realm of teaching and learning to that of the popular world of sports. As ESPN Sports Center details the latest in all major sports, the Teaching Center does the same. It provides the viewer with a synopsis of results from the teaching draft, a looming Union strike in Chicago, a highly sought out English teacher's decision to take her talents from Ohio to New York, and various highlights of the day, showcasing rockstar teachers from around the nation.

In our classrooms, we encourage good behavior and offer incentives in return. Wouldn't it be great to be featured on ESPN for not only teaching one of the most difficult CCSS, but executing it with 75% mastery? On Sports Center, rarely are athletes' major snafus reported on, the purpose of this platform is to celebrate athletes' agility, not hinder or shame them. It appears that over the years, competitive play rules have been adapted to promote freer, uninterrupted play on behalf of the players, all in an effort to make more points.

If you're an avid basketball fan, you'll know that over the years, the NBA Commission, as well as the NCAA Men Basketball, has adjusted offensive foul rules to promote more free and open play among the players. This way, offensive players can more easily shoot shots, without unnecessary intervention from the opposition. This came at a time when the average points scored per game were at an all-time low. Are you getting where I'm going?

Where is our "free play" card?  I'm not certain about your school, but results from this years' PARCC assessments were less than desirable. Even prior to test administration, instructing students on how to properly input an open response answer on both paper and computer based assessments was quite onerous.  It was once said by a student said, "It's like they want us to fail." My point here is not to lament the woes of testing, (I've done that, 'Tis the Season :)), but to juxtapose when and how our work is highlighted, compared to that of athletes. While both athletes and teachers operate under rules that have been created by a governing body, those for athletes, and in this case, basketball players, have allowed them to express their talent with flexibility, freedom, and creativity. For us, not so much. So often do I hear from colleagues that "they've taken the fun out of it". The professionalism of the profession is challenged, and more is expected with less. Yet even still, we are committed to our students and try the best we can.

Chances are, there will never be a Teaching Channel live on primetime television. But our work is nonetheless crucial to the sustainability and functioning of the present and future society. In no other profession are you allowed to have such a grave impact on the future. Understand without you, there would be no doctors, firefighters, nor police officers to save lives. Your strategies and objectives must be more intentional and gentle than the hands of an open heart surgeon. Though you may not be featured on cable television, continue to play as if the world were watching.

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