Welcome back, NYC Teachers, for the 2011-12 edition
Welcome back to all of us, New York City teachers.
Hope for the best! And how could you not? The new year is always pregnant with optimism. New kids, clean desks, clean boards, and clean slates. A fresh start. Everything can be better than when we left it. Everything should be better.
But brace for the worst. Each year for the last decade has been tougher than the previous. And the change has become more, not less dramatic, since 2005, and even more so the last two or three years.
This should be considered a noble job, a happy job. We teach kids – isn’t that a great thing to do? But it has become a physically exhausting job, with more and more of our time being absorbed by urgent work (so say the guys on top) that has nothing to do with the children in front of us. And a psychologically exhausting job, as the threats to our security and livelihood grow from politicians, anti-public education advocates, and politicians. And emotionally exhausting, as we are pilloried in the mass media and the paid-for media.
But as things get rough, remember a few of the things we have. The public fundamentally appreciates teachers, no matter how much the anti-public education alliance comes after us. There are many of us – in New York City we are joined with scores of thousands through the UFT. And we are not alone – teachers across this country are facing the same assault. And with our numbers, huge numbers of adults who chose a noble calling, we have the potential to act and advocate collectively. And with the high regard in which teaching is often held, we have potentially a vast number of allies.
But today we go back. I know I can get more kids this year to like algebra. And for at least these first few moments, the sky doesn’t seem so grey.