I do not question the fact the being an educator today is tougher than it has ever been. Public education policy being dictated by dedicated Anti-Public School Advocates. Reduced funding, salaries that do not keep up with inflation, and trolls that lurk and attack at any and every paranoia fueled slight. Yet in the face of this, the quality of delivered instruction is higher than ever. More students, with greater diversity, achieve at now historic levels.
There are a number of factors driving this success: accountability, better tools, better practice, etc. But I don’t believe these are the most critical factors. Instead, I believe the critical variable is the sea change in teacher expectation of student success. Compared to 25 years ago, this change is nothing less than miraculous.
Today’s educator honestly expects every one of his/her students to achieve at least at a floor level of success. And when a student does not, this bothers the teacher. It bothers the teacher enough to change practice and/or intervene. The loss, for whatever reason, weighs heavy.
Juxtapose this to my first conversation with my principal, my first year teaching. He said, “Mr. Cain, if too many of your students FAIL your math class, you are a bad teacher. Also, if too many of your students PASS your math class, you are a bad teacher.”
Which means that when I first started teaching not only was there an acceptable failure rate, academic casualties were just part of the game.
I reflect on that one fact a lot. And remind myself that no matter how fondly I look back on my teaching career… Today’s educators are flat out better.
Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…
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