I miss loving my job. There was a time when I truly adored teaching. It was rewarding and fulfilling despite not being the most lucrative of careers because most of my students valued the skills I taught them. Sure, there were the occassional ones with whom I butted heads, and there were some who disliked my teaching style, but for the most part, I left work every day feeling appreciated for my efforts. There’s no substitute for that feeling.
Today, I feel bombarded on all fronts by not only a lack of appreciation but also quite often outright disdain for holding students accountable for their abilities. Most of my students don’t see education as a bridge to their goals, but rather an obstacle. On the other hand, corporate America seems displeased that I attempt to teach critical thinking to my students because employees who can think for themselves can question authority, especially corrupt authority. Corporate America wants unthinking, robotic drones who obey orders and stay in their place in the great pecking order. Likewise, the bureaucrats who oversee education seem to want to replace me with an automated program that the students can access on their smart phones.
It wears on me daily, this lack of appreciation. And it scares me to think about where we’ll be in another generation when all of the professional educators have been replaced by quasi-professionals who follow the canned course outline to a Tee and make no effort to push their students beyond what is measured on the standardized tests. Where will we be when our workforce can barely read and write? Where will our innovators and entrepreneurs come from when the middle class is completely gone? How will we ever rebuild 235 years of human rights progress when the corporate masters have abolished the Bill of Rights?
I don’t mean to be negative and fearful, but the truth is, I’m scared of where we’re heading, of the new dark ages we’re entering.