Response to 11 Annoying Things People Say About Teaching:
I was a teacher. I had a lot of good co-workers that I admired, but I saw a lot of teachers who were not trying to teach kids and just played office politics to get by. I hate it when people say that garbage about “teaching to the test.” The standardized tests we gave were basically just a test over the bare minimum that a child ought to know for a class or age level. If you were even halfway doing your job, your students were learning that bare minimum and did fine. I think my students liked the test days because they found it easier than what we were doing the rest of the time. The teachers who had problems and complained about being forced to “teach to the test” were the ones who messed around most of the time, and would then proceed to just do cram sessions right before the test. Once you start that way of doing things, it snowballs on you, because the kids are not learning and retaining anything and your cramming job just gets harder and harder. The tests weren’t the problem at all; the way these teachers approached their jobs on a daily basis was the problem. I always felt like we would all get more respect if we were honest about the varying levels of professionalism and ability in the field and tried to reward the good people and push the lazy ones out. The way it really happens is that many of the good ones get fed up and leave within the first few years of their careers. Even though I loved the kids, I finally left because I got tired of all the politics. I was always being expected to hand out grades, especially to kids who were good at sports or whose parents were friends of administrators. It was pretty clear to me that the kids’ education was a secondary concern to a lot of people there, and it was discouraging.