Monday, July 7, 2014

Looking for heroes in all the wrong places? (#teachers #heroes)

I always find it interesting when I am thinking about a subject and find that someone else has already articulated my thoughts. It actually makes my blogs easier, so thank youJ

The majority of people in military uniform have not been or ever will be in combat. These men and women go to work every day and do their job, and often find it awkward when some random person comes up to them to shake their hand simply because they have chosen to serve. Even combat troops are not looking for glory, they are looking to do the job they were trained for, and to get home safely. Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter, the latest Medal of Honor recipient was very humble about the experience, and pointedly said he was not a hero, he did what was necessary to save lives not to be hero. By the way, we all know that these folks in uniform will do what is required of them if called upon, what I am talking about is the day to day regular stuff.

This is the same thing with teachers (educators). Teachers are professionals, and as professionals the only thing they ask is that, they are given the respect a professional deserves. The article I am going to share sums it up well:

“Teachers Should Just Say No to Cheap Talk & Lip Service”

“Teachers get lots of lip service, misty-eyed declarations of admiration, and cloying tributes. These blanket hugs are ritually offered up to three million plus teachers, without qualifiers or challenges. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has insisted, "I believe that [teachers] are absolutely the unsung heroes of our society." Actor Matt Damon told a Save Our Schools rally, "I flew overnight...and came down here because I really had to tell you all in person that I think you all are awesome." Or, as Michelle Collay put it in Everyday Teacher Leadership, "Teaching is not just another job. Choosing to work with children and youth on a daily basis is something elevated to superhuman status."”

“These platitudes are the junk food of speechmaking. They seem insincere, like the empty words of car salesmen (even when they're not). But there's a bigger problem. This isn't how we talk to professionals. It's how we talk to Cub Scouts or T-ball players, because we think they're cute and too fragile for tougher stuff.”

“You don't lard buckets of mushy sentiment on people you really respect. This verbal tic is the opposite of respect.  In fact, it infantilizes teachers and crowds out respect. Real respect is earned. It carries an edge. It's not given away freely or casually. It's a conversation between equals. And we usually don't feel obliged to shower banal praise on our equals.” 

“All this happy talk is insincere, anyway. We know this, because nobody honestly believes all of America's three million plus teachers are awesome or heroic.  As one decorated teacher told me, "I am so sick of all this teacher heroism crap, already. I'm a professional, not a hero." Saying this isn't meant as an attack on teachers: after all, nobody thinks that every doctor, lawyer, professor, or cop is good or noble, either.”

If you want to show teachers you respect them, treat them with true respect, not just words. Teachers know what is wrong with their profession and they want to fix it, but it is very difficult to fight a battle on many fronts as they are doing on a daily basis.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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