One high school science teacher has asked me to post this open letter on the subject; they've asked that I not include their name, which is sad in itself. Not only is the legislature passing stupid laws, but the environment is so oppressive that the science teachers who are expected to implement it cannot speak out against it, for fear of losing their jobs.Regardless of what you feel about the actual topic, you have to recognize the atrocity occurring here. A teacher is a professional, hired for the purpose of providing instruction in a specific content area. They should be recognized, not only for their teaching, but also as an authority of their subject matter. At least that is how it should be.
Instead, this professional is compelled to hide their name when speaking as an authority on the subject because of the lack of respect for them and of their profession.
To some, I appear to be an anomaly because I do not hide my name. I speak out with my real name and real job because I believe that the people need to know what is going on (and, I personally need a way to vent in order to keep all the negativity and stress from polluting my home life).
Ever since this blog took off with the post on my intentions to quit I have noticed how people who have left IPS, even teaching, continue to post anonymously. I can not ignore this correlation between teachers and anonymity online.
Politicians, billionaires and bureaucrats are running and ruining everything in education. The only people that know what is really going on are the ones that have the most to fear from speaking out about their jobs.
I refuse to fear for my job.
Teachers need to stand up and speak out about the realities of education. If they don't, then who will? Our current system is being run by people with no educational background (Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, and others). Teachers are speaking out. They are speaking out all over the country, yet the public are blinded by those with enough money to cloud the issues. A post I made recently makes this reality very clear.
That should not discourage us. I speak openly, not only in an effort to show the public what is going on from a teacher's perspective, but also to show every teacher that they have a voice and need to start using it.
I remember being an idealistic teenager and telling someone that some principles are worth dying for. I am not saying that I am dying over this issue, but it is definitely an issue worth standing up for and not hiding in fear of my job. I speak openly because we should not have to hide the reality of public education.
I often read, online, complaints about teachers whining about their job. It usually upsets me until I realize that the only reason people think this way is because the only publicity teachers receive is negative.
If you must be anonymous, I do not lack respect for you, but you should speak out. I understand that administrators lack union protections, which makes it an extremely risky move to speak out. I also understand that teachers are extremely busy and feel no one is listening. Compared to the number of people in education, few people are making an effort to speak out. I became inspired by the efforts of Annie Roof when she began blogging about her experiences as a board member of IPS. Yet, when I look around on the internet I do not see many board members speaking out, nearly no administrators, and very few teachers.
If we are not using the internet as our soap box then who will hear us? Worse yet, if we are not speaking out then who are the public listening to?
I am not anonymous because I do not believe I am doing anything wrong. Quite the contrary, I believe I am doing something right by making myself accountable to my comments. I speak out and I leave myself open to be judged. And I take the risk that my speaking out may cause my district to reconsider my employment. I do not do it callously No, I do it because I am a proud teacher and believe in what I do. And if I am going to be judged in a negative way for speaking what I feel and believe then that is a principle that I believe is worth standing up for.
What principles do you stand up for?