In an editorial by Leslie S. Rush and Lisa Scherff titled “Maintaining Collegiality in Tough Times,” the authors note the joys of collegiality and community while being an English teacher and their fear newcomers’ mischance of experiencing those joys. They note, “Both the climate—high-stakes testing, standardized accountability, attacks on teachers’ unions—and the weather—adaptations of state and district curricula to meet Common Core State Standards, cuts to personnel and school budgets, increasingly prevalent use of value-added measures of teacher evaluation—are threatening the collegiality, collaboration, and joy that should be part of teaching.” With national news of strikes in Chicago, the “climate” and “weather” seems to be getting worst. It seems that new teachers have many standards to teach and many goals to reach. The newcomers are met with so much pressure that it is hard to maintain a collaborative environment that the authors seem to adore. With so much on their plate, how can they have time to worry about collegiality?
Ironically, the authors note how spending extra time to maintain that collegiality by attending seminars, meetings, and conferences would help take off that pressure of standards and goals and bring back the joy they had experience as teachers. Going to these events will bring about new ideas and new ways of teaching. This is a touch commitment to keep in this day in age. The authors failed to take account for the newcomers’ way of life, which is quite different from their own. We, as possible newcomers to the English arena, live a life that is at a much faster pace and at a much greater demand than our predecessors. We as a generation motivated by trends are not as committed as our previous generation. We are 21st century Jack Sparrows, constantly jumping ships and seeking greater adventures. Our life demands of this. But to become English teachers, to take extra time and care into a curriculum that meets tough standards and goals, to take even more time to attend these events to stay collegial? Is that even worth it all?
The authors do mention another alternative; social networking. They note the many social networks out there that can help teachers collaborate better. Facebook, twitter, or websites such as NCTE are gold mines for teachers to become more collaborative. This seems to fit more for teachers of a newer generation as it is an on-demand kind of resource. But when it comes down to it, the white elephant in the room is commitment. In a generation where commitment is a dying practice, be it marriage, religion, politics, or even careers, how will we, the new generation of teachers, face these problems? How committed are we willing to be?