A few years ago, Pennsylvania teacher Danielle Arnold-Schwartz wasn’t feeling burned out per-se, but she was getting frustrated with what she calls “corporate education reform,” which to her includes things like pointless new jargon and changes to the teacher evaluation system that she says was more like a checklist than a conversation with the principal.
Well, this article says a lot of things, and I empathize with much of it. It is important, too, to articulate these frustrations because corporate structure will find a path of least resistance if ambiguity allows for it. So many frustrations are not a part of the nature of teaching – they come from the structures that are imposed by the “corporate education reform” (as Danielle calls it). Although, “reform” may be putting it too kind. A few thoughts:
The article makes a strong point about the fact that many people go into teaching for moral reasons. This is very true, and doesn’t need to be read in cloud-parting, light-shining-from-above, harp-music-playing terms either. Decisions by educational organization are often (always?) justified by money. As I was once told “We can’t do something simply because it’s good.”
As a result of money/funding focused decisions, many teachers do feel the need to advocate for students. It’s one of the many hats that educators now wear. Teachers are the point of contact with students, and this is where relationships are built. Considering why a teacher becomes a teacher, it’s unlikely to expect teachers to enact face-to-face decisions that are at the expense of the student, rather than for their benefit. Putting teachers between their employer and their student, it’s easy to understand how frustration arises.
Educational institutions are often strongly hierarchical (despite the jargon). One idea not mentioned, are the one-way streets of communication that move down the hierarchy vs the two-way communication routes that are expected upwards. I don’t know if I can elaborate on this, but it is something that can be very frustrating, especially since at its core education is about communication. Transfer of idea.
Individual teachers may be excellent models of communication, even when the organizations they work for are models of transmission. And, despite the frustration caused by this disconnect.