In support of the hard-working teacher

September 14, 2020

Sometimes I talk about the education-industrial complex on this blog, rarely with kindness. I captured much of that in Stop Stealing Dreams.

Readers will see that not once have I criticized a hard-working teacher who meant well. That’s because it’s the bureaucratic industrial system that’s at fault here, not the teachers.

Now more than ever, with teachers scrambling with remote learning, personal health and the shifts in our culture, they matter.

Teachers matter because they have the guts to buck the dominant test and measure system. Because they show up with care and energy, and because they lead.

By time spent, what percentage of the typical school experience is spent on: tests, test prep, comportment, homework, memorization, the curriculum and the social pressure of fitting in?

And what percentage is spent on daydreaming, inventing, creating from scratch, doing it without a manual and finding new solutions to difficult problems?

I don’t think it’s an accident that we spend a fortune on high school football and almost nothing on creative writing hackathons.

Change is going to come from parents and from teachers who care. The system defends the system, and the system requires adherence and stability.

The massive shift to remote learning opens the door to slip in the kind of challenging problem solving and connection that we need right now. We have to hurry, though, because surveillance and more testing is probably right around the corner.