Thinking out loud.
I read an article on the NEA (National Education Agency) website which drew attention to the fact that the number of new teachers entering the classroom is declining as high school grads are opting NOT to become teachers.
I can’t imagine why. (Yes. That is sarcasm).
Sometimes I wonder if the state of the school is as bad as the second hand information I get from parents, students and teachers in the public school system. Sometimes I think – “Nah. No one can be that INCOMPETENT/MISERABLE/DELUDED!” But, that is how these participants of the system talk about the system which has them trapped. (Who wants to sit at their desk, quietly with nothing to do, for 4 hours while other students take the government required assessment tests?”)
Assuming their views are pretty close to the truth, one cannot help but feel empathy for the teachers, parents and students who are currently in public school and understand why when these children leave, they don’t want to go back. Add to the list of the ‘dis-incentives’ in the system itself: the obnoxious costs of higher education, the debt burden that lives on 10 to 20 years, and the state of the economy and over all jobs markets and the poor pay – why teach?
Back to my thoughts on the article.
Yes, the trend of fewer incoming teachers, current teachers abandoning the field early, and older teachers retiring is alarming. Even to me, a homeschool mom who has never had children in the public school system. At some point, the system will break if something does not change. Not that I think that that schools will go the way of the dinosaurs. No, instead I predict a distinct trend towards the use of more technology. Teachers as a massive group will be obsolete. It’s not hard to see how easy that would be to accomplish. In fact, I am surprised they are not testing this type of technology driven classroom where there is no teacher. A large screen, Skype like conferencing etc. could mean a single human teacher (or perhaps three or four) could teach all children, in a single region in a particular classroom. Though, I would imagine the egg heads at Microsoft could develop teaching software that takes the human factor out entirely. Automation is a real trend across a range of industries. Why not use it in the industry of “Government Schools”?
The only real reason to keep the current model of school/teacher/student is out of pure habit and tradition.
Still, the ideal is to have qualified human teachers, teaching engaged humans, in small groups in a safe, learning enabling environment.
As Ms. Flannery points out, ideally,
- we would pay these qualified humans a decent wage
- give them tax and purchasing incentives for supplies and the like
- not make is so onerous and odious to actually get the qualification!
Yes, she nailed that. We should treat the ones who have the next generation of citizens in their care, 7 to 8 hours a day, with high esteem and value.
Could it even happen?
Well, yes. If the current crop of students could see how the entire system is needlessly ineffectual, maybe they could do something. These kids are smart. Very smart. A little too distracted by the current silliness in the culture (which is too bad) and draining out their energies on bread and circuses... (But that's a whole other TOL topic!). I have this nagging little suspicion that a crop of them, will take a look at the problem that is the Government Schooling systems, carve out the best parts of that, meld it with homeschooling and unschooling and come up with a paradigm of mass education that's actually good for humans. I'm really hopeful. When though? When can this happen? I don't know. As soon as the kids wake up. Perhaps our great, great Grandchildren will enjoy some relief?
Read the full article here:
Survey: Number of Future Teachers Reaches All-time Low
By By Mary Ellen Flannery