Teaching has changed. Apparently becoming a teacher is changing as well. I just saw an article out of NYSED saying so, I think. I have to go back and see for sure but I believe I got one of those widely spread, “from the office of…”, release/emails from the office of NY Ed Commissioner Rosa mentioning the Ed Department making it easier for student teachers to get into the classroom.
At the start of the most recent “reform” movement, when the intent was to present lack of teacher quality and education accountability as the critical issues in student outcomes, it felt as if the certification process was made more difficult. Maybe a pendulum is swinging in the other direction? I don’t want to lower standards for those educating the citizens of tomorrow, but overall I think making certification a more coherent process is a good thing. I think making it more honest is even better. For the sake of honesty: I don’t think the quality of educators and candidates for the field, or difficulty of getting into the profession is at the heart of the “why” in teacher-supply challenges.
I think it’s more a matter of purpose and lack of integrity in those who began pushing those reforms a little over a decade ago. The teacher shortage was a widely recognized concern long before COVID because the job is getting more difficult and thankless and has been getting that way for some time. Invaded by the consequences of a lack of political will outside of schools, educators are left to battle the fallout from inhumane policy blowing into schools.
If you’ve worked for more than a handful of years in the classroom, you’ve seen that fallout for some time. You know children are being neglected and left behind by “American Exceptionalism”, becoming harder and harder to engage and educate. They are more absorbed by the eye-candy found on screens and the sales of superficiality (i.e. being tick-tock famous, having lots of “hits” and “likes”, owning the latest model of this or that…). We are raising other people’s children first in order to teach them, and the ones who do come ready to learn get shortchanged in the struggle to meet the needs of all.
Education, as it is being mandated from above, is less about the value we are adding to humanity and more about competing on the playing field of standardardization, the “free market”, the statistics, and determinations of value within human beings as demonstrated by the data they produce. Educators are continuously tied to these numbers in this statistical paradigm which lumps the ready to be “proficient” with those who struggle to be so. In this manner, our attention is drawn away from the actual human beings involved. That we are just all victims and left with oh well, what can we really do about it, to me, is complacency and surrender.
That shouldn’t be acceptable for other people’s children any more than it is or was for my own. That all being said, with much more to say, I’ll get to the point. I am proposing that educators do Enrichment. With a capital “E”. Not as an intervention or an add on, but as a mindset and approach for all.