The recent talk on the news has been about the teachers in Chicago going on strike, and now entering into the second week of the strike children are still not in school. With the strike starting to take the notice of other issues at hand it mainly brings the questions of the contract.
“The contract fight here has focused on a wide array of issues, including teacher evaluations, job security, pay, benefits and more (New York Times).”
Everyone is trying to decide whether they agree with the teachers for going on strike or if they don’t agree with them for going on strike, but the real problem is not with the teachers, but more with the outside issues, such as poverty, violence, and other home issues that might affect the student’s ability to want to learn. There might be great teachers out there honestly trying to do their jobs, and love doing what they do, but there are also teachers who are coasting through, and not making a difference in a child’s life, but I can tell you this… Time has changed! Poverty has always been there, but the society has gotten worst. When children become a part of a society where they see children dying around them so quickly they fear of safety, when schools have metal detectors to make sure guns are not coming in the schools…
“We have a problem”
The focus has been lost on what we are going to school for. When a child is homeless, and told to stay in school; what hope does he or she have that school will even make a difference? When a child is being abused at home and they go to school why would they think learning is something they should even care about when they are going through hell at home? When they head to school, and they hear from other people one of their classmates was just killed on the way home from school, what hope does a child have that he won’t be next?
With so many outside influences on the mind of a student; it’s no wonder students in Chicago have a hard time focusing, its no wonder why a student can’t concentrate when given a test, and their stomach growls because they can’t remember the last time they ate, or thinking they didn’t get a good nights rest because they are currently homeless or living in a neighborhood where gun shots and police sirens are heard so fluently.
I say that too much outside influence can affect anyone’s way of learning regardless as to how great a teacher might be. When the hope of having a better life or future does not seem to ever be something a student feels they can attain then what makes you think they will even try? And lets not mention just some students test horrible.
I wrote this blog because I grew up going to school in the Chicago Public School system as well as the private school, and I must say the system there taught me a lot, but I did notice when I was going through issues outside of school it did affect my grades, and it wasn’t because of the teacher, but because of the issues I was going through, and I lost the hope, and started thinking school was just a waste of time.
Teachers play the biggest role in anyone’s life aside from a parent because they help to mold the future of a child, but some teachers have a difficult time doing that, and yes I do believe teachers are very underpaid for the type of job they are responsible for, and to dispose of them the way the schools have been doing is crazy because they play the same role someone like a Doctor would play. A good teacher can save a life. Look at movies like Precious, Dangerous Minds, 187, and Freedom Writers. These movies were about teachers who worked in rural areas, such as Chicago, and they made a difference that helped changed the views of students. They need to know someone cares, they need to know what they are doing will help their future, and they need someone to give them HOPE and sometimes it’s a great teacher letting them know they care about them doing better. Yes we have many issues with the educational system, and the way it fails students from the curriculum being the number one issue. The curriculum has been about pushing test, but what people don’t realize is giving test doesn’t mean a student actually learned anything. I just finished my Bachelor’s degree, and I can only remember very few things I learned through the years, BUT I do remember a GREAT marketing teacher that made a statement that will forever go with me in my life, and that statement was
“Everything has a price, and the goal is to figure out what someone is willing to give up or pay to attain what they want”
This is the only thing I can say I took with me, and I can honestly say schools now have been all about money especially colleges and universities overcharging for education when education is free in some countries. Schools also use to be about having a student be better rounded by introducing them to music classes where you had to learn to play an instrument, art classes, pottery classes, and other classes to show students life doesn’t have to always be about math, science, reading or writing, but that you enjoy everything life has to offer. Can you tell me how many students now even know what music instruments are?
The system has failed, and the last thing we need is teachers to show students that they have no hope for them. I haven’t had a chance to watch the documentary “Waiting for Superman”, but I think after hearing all this about the teacher strikes I might just go watch it.
Things MUST change, but not just the educational system, but poverty, violence, gun control, bullying, and the way society is dealing with the issues we need to address.
WE HAVE GOT TO DO BETTER!