When I still practiced medicine in projects and homeless shelters in Newark, we had a parade of folks come visit us on our medical van. Administrators, politicians, potential donors, medical students, local community groups, pediatric residents, the press, and an occasional NBA star or two (one of whom gave away OUR toys while showing off to ESPN).
Most had good reasons to be there, but many gawked with a look-at-me-I'm-actually-in-the-'hood, and my occasional offer to tour the neighborhood was usually turned down quickly, as though I'd just asked them to step off a cliff.
I grew a bit weary of folks observing us as though we were some sort of archaeological dig site, gawking at a bullet hole, taking photographs of cute children dancing amidst the rubble, then (people just can't help themselves) offering advice on how to improve things.
So now, after teaching for less than three years, I'm going to be one of those people....
I stumbled upon Teaching in the 408 a bit late--TMAO's profile ends "I am no longer a teacher." In his latest post, he notes that:
Instead, I’ll get to do a wide array of work in both practice and policy realms, straddling that great divide, and harnessing the experiences of the last six years in countless new ways.Ayep. Beats harnessing the colts in the classroom. I'm not being fair--TMAO did wonderful things in a tough environment with a ridiculous commute, and he showed what's possible. But...(come closer, I need to whisper)...he doesn't teach in public school anymore.
I recently read Erin Gruwell's "Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from The Freedom Writers." I haven't seen the movie, and likely won't any time soon.
Ms. Gruwell did good work, but the dog and pony part led her to leave. I don't want to jump on the Stomp Erin Gruwell bandwagon. She did wonderful things, changed lives, and has been knighted by Oprah. But...(come closer, I need to whisper)...she doesn't teach in public school anymore.
For every Erin Gruwell, thousands more struggle in classrooms, fighting the good fight, doing what they can to improve a life. Quiet miracles occur daily.
And as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I smugly tossed all the erstwhile educators out of the Dawghouse. Let them spew forth in books and on blogs and on Oprah how to improve education. Let them be rich and famous, free from the red pen--they're not true Dawgs.
So this morning I was ready to fire up the puter, write a smug treatise on Dawgs while drinking my smug coffee from my smug mug, creating a list of requirements, bulleted and bold, the first of which is:
- You must be a teacher in a public school who actually faces gobs students every day, every week, every year. ("Day", "week", and "year" are loose terms in this industry,but you get the idea.)
Clay Burrell stopped me dead. He has a very interesting blog Beyond School,
I would love to get John Gatto and Clay Burrell in the same room, and just listen.