How Committed Are We Willing to Be as Educators?

               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?



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2 responses to “How Committed Are We Willing to Be as Educators?

  1. jorgegarciae

    This post actually gets at one of the most important things I think we need to remember as teachers: we do not need to do everything ourselves. Our fellow teachers can give us advice, can help us, and can listen to us. We can work together with our fellow educators to achieve better results, as seen, for example, in the Chicago Teachers Union Strike.

    Our society places alot of emphasis on individuality, but when it comes to changing things, change comes as a result of communal action. Problems tend to be the result of social dynamics, and can only be tackled by groups of people working together. That to me, is why “collegiality” is so important *especially* in the context of the current changing school environment.

  2. brendagonzal

    I have to admit that the title of your post is what drew me in at first! It seems every corner I turn in the process of becoming a teacher, this question of my commitment to becoming a teacher is asked of me by any one of my professors. I find that it isn’t a simple question to answer; in fact, it is rather difficult to explain how committed one is to this field especially when everyone defines commitment levels differently. This becomes increasingly difficult when talking to seasoned teachers. My answers seems laced with niaveness.

    Your post brings another point of view, what do seasoned teachers feel about us? Apparently, for the article you posted on, they, too, are questioning our commitment to the teacher community. You also make an excellent point that we are indeed a much faster paced generation. I agree with you that commitment seems to be a key factor, or moreover proving our commitment.

    Finally, I think the fact that we have committed (one way or another) to becoming teachers speaks volumes about our commitment. It is a career that gets much criticism and I am constantly questioned about why I want to become a teacher. This questioning always includes: it so stressful, pay is horrible, teenagers!, etc! Not sure if you have read this, but I think it is great!!

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