People expect a lot from teachers.
We are expected to teach children to read, write, do math, understand science, appreciate history and think clearly.
We try hard. We do our best and we try to be open to the best practices available for use. We buy supplies, we take work home, we come to school early and stay late
It has taken a while, but schools seem to be getting on the right track for reading, math and science.
Reading scores seem to be going up. Math scores seem to be rising. Science is getting more attention lately. Much more needs to be done, but what we’ve done so far is starting to work.
History and thinking seem to be areas where teachers struggle.
Some say it’s a matter of not enough time devoted and others say it’s a lack of resources.
Others say poor teaching is why students don’t appreciate history and can’t think clearly.
All the above is true, at least to some extent.
History and logic get short shrift in schools obsessed with raising reading and math test scores. Time and resources that might be devoted to history and reasoning are deployed elsewhere. For the most part, teachers are not encouraged to learn more about history and how to teach it.
That’s why we need your help.
We need newspaper editors, reporters and columnists, television commentators, political pundits, radio phone-in hosts and their readers, viewers or listeners to do something.
Stop making doomsday projections.
Stop seeing a socialist around every corner while still planning to benefit from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Stop seeing a McCarthyite reactionary or Marxist revolutionary every time someone opposes something you support.
Stop treating Americans like morons, especially when they seem to want to be treated that way.
Stop treating Americans like morons, especially when they, in your humble opinion, act like morons.
Stop dumbing down your nation.
Every teacher knows that modeling is a powerful teaching tool.
Think about what you model as you go through your day.
Think about how what you say, and how you say it, teaches the next generation about what this country believes in and how it should conduct itself.
So stand up for what you believe, but also …
Be true to your values.
Understand that a dumb nation is a dangerous nation.
Understand that a dumb nation is a nation in danger.
Accept that the world is changing and the US is not exempt from that process.
Disagree all you want, but do it with intelligence, reason, style and respect.
Disagree, but do it with information, not obfuscation.
Remember history, not deny it.
Enlighten, not mislead.
Reveal, not revile.
Rejoice that we live in a nation that allows dissent.
Show the world how we make that freedom work for everyone’s benefit.