Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Challenging Issue

Today's blog challenge question is "What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?" For the first time on this blog challenge, I'm stumped. It's not that I don't think there are any challenges. It's just that I had never taken the time to reflection on those thoughts, much less articulate them. 

To help me figure out what to say,  I looked at some of the other teacher-bloggers' responses to this question. The one that caught my eye was the blog "Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra". Her post spoke to me and for me. Her words say so much of what I've felt about teaching and the sort of criticism we face as educators. So I'm going to stand on Mickie Gibbs'  shoulders and quote the passages that struck me. According to her, education faces two linked challenges:  
One is that decisions are being made for and about education by people who really have no idea what it's like to be in a classroom. Administrators and teachers are often asked to implement policies that are out of touch with reality. Being the dedicated professionals they are, they do the best they can to fulfill what is required of them - and often perform miracles in the process.

The second, related side of the challenge (as I see it) is that schools, administrators, and teachers are often judged harshly, also by those who really have no idea what it's like to be in a classroom. Everyone sees him/herself as an expert in education . . .  and therefore able to make sweeping criticisms of those trying their best to do the job they were trained to do.

Well said. Interestingly enough, Gibbs is herself paraphrasing another educator's blog. I know two blog posts doesn't make a trend. Yet it is encouraging to read that other educators - even just two - have similar opinions. And It only took two clicks to find the right image for this post.  These posts - Gibbs, her source, and the meme - validate my own nascent beliefs. Now articulated, I am better equipped to face this particular challenge. Many thanks to Mrs. Gibbs for helping me initiate my reflections on this important question.