Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why So Many Teachers Are Claiming the Label "Badass"

Why So Many Teachers Are Claiming the Label "Badass"

Many people, including some teachers, are confused as to why so many teachers are proudly calling themselves "badass" and joining a group which calls itself "The Badass Teachers Association, ' which was founded in mid June2013 and now has nearly 29,000 members and subgroups in all 50 States

While I cannot speak for all, or even most, of the people who have taken that step, I have been in communication with enough of these teacher activists to offer an explanation.

How would you feel after working hard all your life, and putting your heart and soul into a helping profession, people in influence have identified you, before the entire nation, as responsible for some of our society's worst failures and said you were spoiled, lazy, overpaid, and incompetent?.

Worse yet, after subjecting you to this public demonization, they ram through policies which undermine your job security, subject you to evaluation procedures which violate both due process and common sense, and seek to script and micromanage what you do in the classroom as to make it virtually impossible to inspire and motivate your students, and in some instance subject them to levels of testing that reach the proportions of child abuse.

Then to pile insult on injury, when you protest against these policies, in the most reasoned and respectful tones, mount petition drives, organize marches and demonstrations, political leaders laugh at you, disregard your complaints, and systematically exclude you from every policy making body or forum that shapes what is going on in the nation's schools. ( The most recent example of this is NBC's "Education Nation" which doesn't have one currently employed public school teacher on its panels).

No matter what you do, it seems, to politicians, businessmen, billionaire philanthropists, your comments will always be rendered irrelevant because they have convinced themselves, without the slightest real understanding of what you do that you are a "Bad Teacher."

Given that, it is a logical step to take a label of opprobrium, flip the script and turn it into a mark of pride. Yes we are Bad, but not Bad in the traditional sense, but "Bad" in the way that African Americans flipped the script in the 60's, Bad as being not just good, but GREAT!

So Badass Teachers are teachers tired of pleading for respect. They are demanding respect and demanding the right to redefine the language used to talk about them

And that is a first important step to demanding a BIG place at the table in shaping education policy

Watch for us in late July when we bring 50,000 teachers to Washington to surround the US Department of Education to demand an end to Race to the Top and the incorporation of teachers into every policy body and forum debating the future of the nation's public schools

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