Teaching Profession

A Time of Reflection, Realization for Teachers

By Anthony Rebora — March 03, 2011 1 min read
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A dedicated Oregon teacher of 35 years, worn down by accumulating pressures and degradations, realizes suddenly that she doesn’t want to be a teacher anymore:

It wasn't a single thing that gave me this feeling. I'm hoping it doesn't last. Maybe it was the severely autistic boy who showed up at my door the first day with no notice, but I don't really think so. Maybe it was the rigid schedule the principal passed out for everybody to be doing the same subject at the same time of day, or the new basal reader we have to use that we aren't allowed to call a basal reader. Maybe it's the look in my student's eyes when we're reading the newly required dry textbook when I'm used to wild and crazy discussions about amazing novels. ...
Maybe it's the fact that I lost a third of my retirement when they reformed our Public Employee Retirement System a few years back and now I keep reading about how they want to slash it even more because of the greedy teacher unions and how this is the main reason for the budget problems in our state. Maybe it's that I haven't gotten a real raise in a really really long time, or that we had to cut eight days again this year to solve our state's budget problems. So I'm taking a big hit again, and nobody seems to notice or care ....

In reaction, Ariel Sacks, a young teacher in New York City, finds herself visualizing a butterfly’s struggle to break out of a cocoon:

Somehow it seems that it's time for teachers to find a way to leave behind the dark cloud that controls so much of our profession, and move into a new phase. In the new phase we become the vibrant professionals we truly should be. Like butterflies, we are admired, studied, and protected, but maintain our mobility and life force, as we do our most important work of pollinating the flowers. March begins butterfly season in most of the country. I don't know how, but it's time to break out and fly.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.