Attending an education-policy conference recently, Cindi Rigsbee was amazed at the disconnect between what policymakers and academics say about teachers and the work that teachers actually do on a day-to-day basis. In her words: “It didn’t take me long to realize that there are very bright folks who don’t really know what’s going on in our schools.”
Part of the problem, she says, is that it’s easier for big wigs to make blanket (negative) assumptions about teachers than to address other, perhaps more complex factors that influence students’ academic performance. But Rigsbee also thinks that teachers do a poor job of marketing their professionalism and dedication - instead being given to (to use her examples) posting status updates on Facebook about spending long days at the pool and venting about work. She writes:
The teacher "venting" that occurs in our communities most likely indicates to others that we are not committed to doing whatever it takes to teach our children. It probably sounds like we're only committed to whining about how difficult our jobs are.
So teachers, it is up to us to change the thinking of legislators, higher ed representatives, and policymakers. It is up to us to market ourselves as professionals who can make a difference in the lives of children, instead of "bad teachers" who are uncomfortable with technology.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.