I want to suggest another New Year’s Resolution: Speak up for teachers! The bashing and the budget cuts continue, the new tax bill undercuts public education in a major way, children and teachers in Baltimore City are forced to spend their days in unheated public school buildings, and teaching is–understandably–losing quality women and men. We can fight back in lots of ways, starting with organizing to see that schools are adequately supported.
Please take a moment to think about the teachers who helped make you who you are today. I’m sharing memories of two teachers who changed the way I think about education and (I hope) the way I conduct myself. I hope you will share your own stories in the comment section
Good leaders keep good teachers in the field, and bad leaders drive them out. It’s almost that simple. In forty-one years of reporting about education, I must have visited at least five thousand classrooms and observed an awful lot of really good teaching. My all-time favorite teacher is George from Maine. To me, George embodies the best in the business, because of what he stood for and how he stood his ground when the going got tough. We met at his public high school in the late 1970s. At the principal’s recommendation, I sat in on George’s ethics class, which was lively and interesting. Afterward we had a cup of coffee at my request, because I wanted to hear his story. Ethics, he told me, was one of a bunch of elective courses that seniors could choose from for their final semester of high school. He had taught it for the first time one year earlier.