How Hard Can It Be?

David Herszenhorn has been covering the Education beat for the New York Times for over four years. He has spoken to many veteran teachers, and many administrators that can all attest to the fact that teaching is difficult work. In an article appearing on July 11, Herszenhorn recounts an event in which mayor Bloomberg gave a group of 7-year-olds a set of four directions all at once, and out of sequence. TeacherJay chuckled at the way a man who built himself a multi-billionaire dollar empire and speaks about how important education is to our children did not recognize how to give age-appropriate directions. The reason for the story was not to embarrass the mayor, but rather to point out that a teacher’s job is more than just going through the motions of a lesson and keeping a classroom orderly.

In Herszenhorn’s words, “School professionals are called upon not only to educate children, but also to nurture curiosity and civic values, and even to teach the most basic manners.” This requires training above and beyond the curriculum matter. A quote from Schools Chancellor, Joel I. Klein, reveals that one of his goals is “to create the conditions needed for success.” These conditions can include adequate pay, job satisfaction and even such basics as air conditioning. TeacherJay would also like to point out his appreciation for Herszenhorn’s reference to “professional educators” as a way of conveying the respect that the profession deserves.

It would seem that many people in the public spotlight, as well as many average citizens out there agree that education is perhaps the most important aspect of a person’s life. So then, why do Americans have the attitude they do about school, and teachers? The general view that teaching is easy, and “those who can do, those who can’t teach.” What part of American culture put out those attitudes and continues to do so? How hard can it be to change those attitudes and put education back as the number one priority in this country? Your comments are encouraged.

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