I just finished reading a study that shows physician burnout is at an all time high and physicians are constantly complaining about the pressures of daily practice, the increase in documentation, and the fact that they are constantly being evaluated, scrutinized and pressured in ways that they never were before. As most teachers would say, “welcome to our world.”
I’m sure surveys among dentists, nurses and all occupations that serve the public would find similar results. There are many reasons for the increased demands and pressures on these occupations, but I believe the number one reason is what I call the “happiness factor.” We live in an era where the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has changed to “life, liberty and the GUARANTEE OF HAPPINESS.”
When a person interacts with a doctor, dentist, teacher or other professional, they expect satisfaction. Failure is no longer an option in these professions. When a dental patient gets regular cleanings and fluoride treatments, they expect great results. The fact that they eat candy all day long is not a consideration when they continue to get cavities. They are seeing a dentist regularly, they want “tooth happiness.”
Teachers are expected to have success with every child, no matter how many terrible outside influences might be affecting the child. Every child needs to be happy and successful, no matter how much extra work and effort is required on the teacher’s part.
Imagine being a doctor and having your patient totally ignore your advice and yet the patient still expects to see wonderful results.
Years ago, doctors, dentists, teachers and other professionals were trusted to do their best and if things didn’t work out for the patient or the student, the failure was assumed to be on the part of the student or patient. Today, the opposite is true. If a student or patient is unsuccessful, if they are not happy, the fault must clearly lie with the professional.
Of course this recent philosophy requires increased supervision and documentation for professionals. Work loads must be increased to ensure success, and the pressures have become all but overwhelming.
“The guarantee of happiness” is not the only famous American phrase to change. Years ago professionals were “innocent until proven guilty” when it came to student or patient success. Now professionals are “guilty until they can prove they are innocent.” This of course requires massive amounts of documentation on the part of the professional.
I expect to see more teachers and doctors leave their professions unless we start to see a return to some degree of personal responsibility in our society. Are you old enough to remember when the prevailing philosophy in our society was that people were responsible for their own happiness and success ? You must be an old-timer like me.
The North Carolina University football team has a “Supervisor of Morale”. The somewhat facetious position created by an entertaining and funny ex-quarterback has become a media sensation. While this position at the university is not official and appears to be mostly for laughs, I see a real future for a “Supervisor of Morale” in our school systems, especially at the elementary level.
Every school district should have a “Supervisor of Morale”, whose job it would be to make sure every student is happy at all times. This would fit so perfectly into the current school philosophy of what I always refer to as the, “Happy Happy School.”
This is exactly what we need in education, another administrative post staffed by someone who found teaching too difficult and took administrative courses in order to escape the classroom but stay in the field of education. I see many opportunities here to make already top-heavy districts become even more so. What modern parent wouldn’t want their school district to have a “Supervisor of Morale” to ensure that their child has a happy school experience. I see room for an”Assistant Supervisor of Morale”, with one stationed at every school.
The “Assistant Supervisor of Morale” could have so many duties. He or she could set up periodic interviews with every child in the school and make sure they are totally happy. If something has caused the student to become unhappy, the Supervisor would set out to remedy the situation. The Supervisor could make classroom observations in order to make sure every teacher avoids any actions which could possibly lead to a student being unhappy. I see so many responsibilities in this job category. We might just need several “Assistant Supervisors” in each school.
I can’t imagine teachers being opposed to the creation of this new position. Teachers need to get out there and lobby for your school district to incorporate the position of “Supervisor of Morale.” I would also suggest the teachers and the “Supervisor of Morale” meet over the summer, perhaps for a few weeks in July. Most teachers would gladly give up part of their summer to attend workshops with titles such as, “How Can I Assure the Happiness of Every Student in my Class?”
I fear this idea is going to be so wildly popular with my teacher friends, that the number of positive comments to this blog will cause my site to crash. Please, no need to thank me for this idea.
In the past I have written that teaching is not a real profession, since teachers are governed in many cases by people who have no knowledge or experience in the area of education. (See many school boards where not one of the members had any teaching experience or any level of expertise’ in education.) In addition, education state governing boards, licensing boards, principals and curriculum directors are often people with limited teaching experience, at least at the elementary or high school level. College professors could be viewed as real professionals since they often govern their own situations.
Check out the following news article and see what it’s like when a real group of professionals have authority over their own profession. (And often control over anything related to it).
“The Supreme Court was urged to rein in state licensing boards Tuesday in a case involving North Carolina dentists who used their control over one such panel to block kiosks in shopping malls from offering teeth-whitening products at lower prices.”
“In North Carolina, the state board, made up mostly of dentists elected by other dentists, decided that teeth whitening should be considered part of dentistry and off-limits to the rival kiosks.”
My dear teacher friends, do you understand now the kind of power doctors, dentists, lawyers, and yes even plumbers, electricians and many other professions have when it comes to governing their own profession and watching out for their own interests ?
Teachers can only dream of having such power. The only power teachers have is their ability to bargain collectively and to insist on a process, (tenure) , before they can be summarily fired. That’s about it. High school and elementary teachers have the least power of any profession I know. Compared to doctors, dentists, lawyers, and most other professionals, teachers are the most impotent, wimpiest, wishy-washiest, dominated, scapegoated, stomped on, abused and neglected profession known to man.
Now, the next time you’re thinking of buying a teeth-whitening product, be sure to get it from your dentist no matter how outrageous the cost. Don’t you dare sneak off to the mall and purchase that cheap whitening stuff. If dentists lose their teeth-whitening dominance, what might be next ? Patients flying to Bolivia to have a cheaper root-canal done ?
Oh no, if this keeps up, there won’t be many young women entering and or remaining in the teaching profession.
I just saw the internet news story about the young woman in Florida who was a teacher’s assistant in a kindergarten class. She resigned her classroom position in order to post videos of herself doing something called, “twerking on vine.” The woman claims to be earning “six figures” a year, and to have at least two million followers on her video-sharing site. The woman was quoted as saying, ” What I make in six seconds would take me four months to make as a teaching assistant.”
SHAME ON AOL AND ALL INTERNET SITES FOR REPORTING THIS STORY. I demand they delete this story immediately. Don’t they realize the impact this could have on the world of education ? How many more women in education are going to resign to pursue this new line of work ? Just one more item to worry about in this ongoing “education crisis.”
Actually, the more I reflect about this, the more I see how promoting this news story could have a positive result. We could get rid of many people who were in the world of education for all the wrong reasons. Money is not a reason to get into the world of education. We don’t want people who give the slightest thought about their financial well-being. Just being able to work with children and make a difference in a child’s life are reward enough for anyone in education.
Go ahead all you women who are in education for the wrong reasons, “twerk” your way to financial security if you so desire. We don’t need your “kind of people” in the classroom!
Disclaimer – (Please let the record show, when I read this news item on AOL, I watched the video that went along with it only because I had never heard of “twerking on vine”, and I needed to know what I was writing about).
Wow ! I just heard the press conference in which Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was speaking to the media after she had heard the news that she would share in the Nobel Peace Prize. This 17-year-old young lady is amazing.
Every high school in America should devote at least a half day to educating their students about this crusader for peace and children’s welfare. Any high school student being pressured to join a street gang needs to hear what this young lady has to say. Her speech and what she said while addressing the media needs to be streamed into every classroom worldwide.
What I really found amazing was her invitation to the leaders of Pakistan and India to attend the award ceremony and to use that opportunity to find common ground and work on a framework for peace. This gives new meaning to the phrase, “and a child shall lead them.”
I’m such a jaded old man that I rarely find anything worthy of praise. I have to make an exception here, this young lady deserves the Peace Prize and a whole lot more.
Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is running new TV and radio ads that virtually blame governor Pat Quinn for the deaths of 95 children who died after their families had prior contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services from 2011 to 2013. A female narrator talks about “lives cut tragically, senselessly, from abuse, neglect, while in the care of Pat Quinn’s administration. Incompetence or corruption? It doesn’t matter. Pat Quinn failed those who needed him most.”
Asked by reporters on Tuesday whether he blames Quinn for the deaths, Rauner said, “yes”.
Oh, Bruce Rauner, you’ve just exceeded my expectations that you are one of the biggest hypocrites on earth, much less in Illinois.
Here’s the thing, Brucy. Your political party has historically fought against every social program known to mankind. Any social programs your party ever did finally support, they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do so. Head Start ? Food Stamps ? Social Security ? Medicare ? Civil Rights ? Workers rights ? And yes, DCFS and all the others. (And to all my Republican friends, I’m not making a judgment here, maybe it was right to oppose all those social programs, maybe not). No judgment, just a historical fact.
It is extremely hypocritical to blame the governor for 95 deaths under DCFS’s watch, when you and your party had always opposed ANY organization like DCFS, who I’m sure has saved a lot more kids than they have allegedly failed. You and your party don’t even want social programs like these to exist, and now you criticize them for NOT DOING ENOUGH ?
Wait, you can’t have it both ways, you can’t demand that a social program do more and do it better, when you don’t even want it to exist in the first place. How hypocritical is that ? Bruce Rauner, you easily win the Hypocrite of the Year Award.
In a Chicago Tribune editorial, Jonah Goldberg, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (an ultra conservative, government bashing, union smashing, anti public school teacher group), wrote, “Short of murder or pedophilia, there’s almost nothing a tenured public school teacher can do that will get him or her summarily fired.”
That statement is extremely popular among anti teacher union groups, and like all “big lies”, when the lie is repeated often enough, many people come to believe it.
Teacher tenure protects a teacher’s job security by allowing a teacher a due process and procedure that must be followed when a teacher is to be fired. This is the exact same courtesy ANY PROFESSIONAL IS ALLOWED ! Do these people think it’s easy to remove a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or any professional from a job without due process ? Of course not. It’s no more difficult to remove a unionized teacher from a job than it is to remove a doctor. In fact, take some time and check out what has to happen for a doctor to lose their license.
I have said many times before, there are a certain amount of incompetent teachers just like there are a certain percentage of incompetent workers in any profession. I would place the number at about 10%.
In 37 years of teaching I saw several incompetent teachers. The majority of them never reached the point of earning tenure before they quit and or were fired. In fact, the teaching profession is somewhat “self cleansing” when it comes to removing incompetent teachers. The majority of incompetent teachers usually quit, as the job is a virtual nightmare if you are incompetent.
I have written several posts about why teacher tenure is necessary. Please go back and read them if you need to see dozens of other reasons why teachers need the concept of tenure. I show many examples of why teaching is a unique job, one in which without tenure, teachers could be fired for many ridiculous reasons that have nothing to do with their performance in the classroom.
I have also stated that the concept of tenure wouldn’t be necessary if all school boards were made up of people who are experts in the field of education and a certain amount of the members had many years of teaching experience. When a teacher’s job security could depend on a board of people with no experience in the field of teaching, the teachers need a special protection. Who do you think are on the boards in hospitals that oversee the job security of doctors ? Of course, many of those people are or have been doctors.
The “big lie” that it’s virtually impossible to remove an incompetent teacher is just that, a “big lie”. Every profession has a process in place where the professional is accorded certain rights and procedures that must be followed during any question of job dismissal. There are also dozens of situations where a teacher could be fired immediately, tenure or no tenure.
I know the American Enterprise Institute would love to see a system where unionized teachers could be fired on a whim. In fact, they would do anything in their power to see all teacher unions destroyed, and all teacher protections done away with.