In a heartfelt post about dropping his son off for his first day of school, education writer and activist Sam Chaltain explains that, despite his instinctive parental desire for his son to have a perfect classroom experience, he recognizes that teachers, “like the rest of us ... are works in progress.” It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that classroom teachers face “monumental, sometimes insurmountable challenges"—and that they are not in teaching for the money. He goes on:
We know this. Yet we also tolerate or participate in conversations about school reform that paint teachers into a two-dimensional corner—you're either an aging, selfish laggard coasting to a cushy, state-supported retirement package, or you're a youthful, sleep-deprived warrior willing to forgo any sense of work-life balance to personally deliver your students to the promised land. I've met and worked with both stereotypes—and I'd say they account for no more than 5% of the workforce.
It’s a unifying piece about what both teachers and students really need—which Chaltain contends is, above all, compassion. It also includes a description of a simple, faith-in-humankind-renewing moment between two preschoolers. Happy back-to-school reading.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.