Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The Downside of Making Teaching A Revolving Door Profession
One of the greatest thrills of my life as a teacher has been the relationships I have been able to maintain with my former students. I experienced this first hand during the protest BATS and the UFT MORE Caucus held last Sunday outside Education Nation. The person who connected me to the organizer of the protest- Laurel Sturt- was one of the first students I taught at Fordham when I came there in 1970, Kathy Palmer! Kathy, who is now a Science teacher in a Bronx public school, came to the demonstration with her grandson, and it felt just like old times when we attended anti-war demonstrations together "back in the day." And this is not unique. I still work closely with one of Kathy's best friends from those days, Sally Dunford, also a former student, who is now a housing organizer and advocate in the Bronx. And both Kathy and Sally often help my current students with their research projects. THIS is the kind of cultural and social capital you erase when you make teaching a revolving door profession. Teachers who love their jobs and stay in them end up becoming an important resource in the lives of former students, and build networks which funnel information and resources to current students.
But those teachers are being driven out of our schools by the toxic, test obsessed atmosphere School Reformers have created.