Dear Future Mrs. Scherer (Wonder Woman),
When you are in your 15th year of teaching, and you are growing tired of the repetitive days, rowdy students, critical parents, and boring curriculum, please remember why you went into this profession. Remember the words of Julie Williams, “[You] feel effusively alive when [you are] faced with the challenge of creating new understanding in the minds of students. ” (Williams 1). If one day you grow tired of finding ways to instill your students with genuine interest in learning please do not do what so many teachers do, teach the minimum. Remember that students need to learn more than what is required to do well on tests. More than what is written in the curriculum. Simply regurgitating information is not an education. Berliner and Glass point out that “training in STEM… may serve the labor markets but it is doubtful that it prepares children for a full and satisfying life.” (Berliner 6). Follow the lead of the teachers that inspired you to teach. The ones that taught you not only about science and grammar, but also about life, and the importance of knowledge, experience, and passion. Please remember the fire that your teachers once ignited in you, and strive every day to light that same fire in others.
If and/or when you become frustrated with the pressure to improve your students standardized test scores remember what you read in Finnish Lessons, “evidence suggests that teachers tend to redesign their teaching according to these tests, … and adjust teaching methods to drilling and memorizing information rather than understanding knowledge.” (Sahlberg 67). If you, like so many other teachers, adjust what and how you teach merely to see better results on these tests, your students will suffer. Stop allowing the pressure of improving test results to sacrifice the greater education of students. Please hold yourself to a higher expectation than the bare minimum. Each of the three books you read in EDUC 1101 point out failure of standardized testing to actually test what it means to have a good education; what it means to have a well rounded array of knowledge.
If we as teachers give students a passion of learning itself and a desire to understand, we will set them up for a lifetime of education, rather than 4 years of learning how to temporarily memorize and repeat seemingly useless information that will soon be forgotten.
Being a teacher is a very difficult career, because you didn’t just choose to be a teacher, you chose to be Wonder Woman. Show the student that no one expects to graduate, that you hold her to a higher expectation, push yourself to catch the interest of the boy in the back of the room not paying attention. Don’t let students slip through the cracks and merely go through the motions of the day. Remember that superman is not coming to save the day and change education. You chose to be a teacher because you wanted to make a difference in peoples lives. Don’t wait for someone else to be the change you want to see, because that is why schools are failing. Educators are sitting around waiting for someone else to waltz in and change the way things are done, because that’s easier than actually putting in an effort and going to battle for their student’s education every time they get an F on a test. Don’t forget that you have to show the kids your passion and genuine care for them to learn. Don’t become another teacher that kicks back and watches kids grow up through a broken system.