For years I have listened to radio talk shows, first the highly right-wing talk shows on AM radio back in the 80s and then npr with its panoply of deservedly famous interviewers. What has maddened me over all these years is the way everyone but classroom teachers is invited on the show to talk about education.
Driving me to distraction is the claim that so-and-so is a classroom teacher……… yes, who is on leave b/c he is heading a major project funded by XXX and whose funding is totally dependent on him saying just the right thing. Most often, we get administrators, usually very high up admins; we get the heads of unions, lobby groups, academics, activists, community organizers, promoters of specific methods, and even authors of books-turned-into-movies who spent one whole year in a classroom.
And all of these people are presented as classroom teachers. Yes, 35 years ago for five years of less. Not only are these people speaking for us classroom teachers – the real ones – but they claim to know more than we do. Someone who quit teaching after three years to get a Ph.D. in ed research and now heads a think-tank is not my idea of a classroom teacher.
The real sadness is that even their couple of years of experience has to be buried lest they say something that does not promote whatever they are promoting. The only time you seem to hear from classroom teachers is when they call in, and then, or so it seems to me, they are given short shrift because, after all, they are “just a teacher”.
I hope someone joins me in writing a letter to npr (I hold no hope out for conservative venues) to ask them to please contact someone in their area who can give them the names of five or six real classroom teachers… five or six to offset the chance that they’ll find a sycophant and suck-up who’s bucking for an administrative slot. This panel could come into the studio and the first thing they could talk about was finding a sub for their classes and devising material the sub could handle.
Please join me in composing such a letter.