No Wonder There’s a Shortage of Teachers…

I read this piece the other day, and the links within it. While I tend to agree with most of what the author says, and found the piece to be good, I find myself also struggling with his words.

The key in reading this piece will be to ignore the religious overtones of it, and focus on the basis of the article.


By R.C. Murray
January 20, 2008

About 40 percent of all new public school teachers will quit teaching within five years. Twenty percent will quit within three years, but in urban schools, 50 percent will quit within five years. Add to these figures the stark reality that the population of school age children is ever-increasing while over a million veteran teachers are getting close to retirement, and you realize that public schools have a problem with teacher shortages.

If you knew why so many public school teachers are “at-risk” of leaving the classroom, you might re-consider putting your child in a public school.

“Mr. Murray!” Brookie, my favorite assistant administrator said my name as though she was swearing. “Nobody is trying to change your education philosophy, but you will change your teaching strategies.”

The way she said I would change my teaching methods reminded me of those peace-loving terrorists who tell us they’re not trying to force us to give up Jesus, but that all of us infidels will convert to Islam – or else. Like George Orwell’s inner party despot, O’Brien, this dear lady was dedicated to “curing” me of my “thoughtcrimes.” I wondered if she’d ever read the Book of Daniel. She might say the young Hebrew captives, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah [re-named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by the Babylonians] were not really forbidden to worship the true God. From a politically correct viewpoint, they simply had to bow down before the image of Nebuchadnezzar whenever they heard the music. What’s wrong with a little compromise? Integrity, what’s that? Academic freedom in public school classrooms? Are you kidding?!

My education philosophy determined my teaching strategies. I couldn’t use teaching methods diametrically opposed to common sense. From day one, I had issues with her social constructivist philosophy with its emphasis on collaborative [group] learning over individual learning. I’m not a socialist and don’t support anything that promotes the value of the group over the individual. Besides, learning must take place in the individual’s mind first before it can be of any collective use to a group!

He speaks from HIS “christian” view, which is perfectly acceptable. It’s just the way he says some things that bothers me.

Why is it that religious people cannot prevent themselves from judging all others, all while professing to be “good christians”, which means they believe that only God has the right to judge?! Why is that so-called religious people seem to be the least tolerant people on earth? Seems rather contradictory to me, and I personally find it offensive that just because I don’t read his bible, go to his church, or even label myself ‘christian’, that I have no sense of morality or right and wrong.

My sense of right and wrong, which I taught to my own child, is nothing more complex than “do unto others as you would have others do unto you“. THAT is the only rule, or commandment if you wish, that we should all live by; and one that basically encompasses everything.

Unfortunately, I found the good sense of his article lost in his emphasis that ONLY christians can produce decent human beings. Except for that, he makes sense.

I have a couple of cousins who are teachers in the public school system; one in New York City and the other in the southern part of New Jersey. I think I’ll ask them both their opinion on the edcuational system; and ask them to read and evaluate this gentleman’s views.


~ by swfreedomlover on January 22, 2008.

One Response to “No Wonder There’s a Shortage of Teachers…”

  1. Bah, I won’t even address the religious aspect or I’ll really go off, but I can address the teaching aspect. His complaint is similar to ones I’ve heard from when my kids were in school from teachers. The teaching methods they are forced to use any more are actually hampering children’s education. The older teachers were talking early retirement because they didn’t feel effective anymore. Kids aren’t learning, they’re memorizing. You HAVE to teach for the test. Elimination of discussion during classroom time because you just don’t have the time anymore to LET kids talk and ask too many questions. Loss of recess causing more trouble in the classrooms because children don’t get that half hour to wind down some. To top it off, while some of the teachers were complaining about all that, one was telling me that they were talking about squeezing in MORE classes and lengthening the school day (like parents aren’t losing enough time with their kids). Then the younger teachers who went in all bright eyed and ready to see the “spark” in a child’s eyes get discouraged. There’s been an increase in burnout by the THIRD GRADE in CHILDREN. So anything after that is just more discouraging for the child, which again, hampers learning.

    Of course no one wants to teach. I’m more surprised anyone WANTS to.

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