Kathleen Beinstein, Greenwich, 30 year Connecticut Educator
I am sad…
I am sad to see what education has become over the course of my career. I used to be excited to teach. Now I am cautious…
I am sad to see what truly lives in the houses and hearts of my neighbors. I used to think we lived in a kinder, gentler world than our parents. We were taught, “When you KNOW better, you DO better.” Not here, not now. Change is feared. Fear is mongered. Teachers are mocked and publicly vilified at board meetings.
I am sad to see and hear the contempt for teachers. Contempt. At the board meeting on 10/21, one speaker came back to her seat (directly in front of me) and loud enough to be heard called the chairman an a**hole and “such a d*ck”. She said, “Yup the teachers are all about control.” As if that is why I get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to school each day. It’s why I run a game club and a kindness club until 4:30pm and then come home and correct papers until 9:30 p.m. FOR CONTROL?????
I am sad to know that, “just teach the truth” is not a clear request. Whose truth? Fake news, bias, slant, and outright lies have become debatable and even defensible! I am neither far enough left, nor far enough right for some. I always thought it was a good place to be in education. It is not. Not here, not now. I feel pressure from all sides, and we as teachers are accused of indoctrination, racism, and bias.
I am sad because parent meetings and board meetings are contentious instead of collaborative. A million years ago, in 1991, I thought we were all on the same team. Even if we disagreed, we had civil conversations to meet in the middle for the good of the kids. How did we get to a place where adults think that teachers are not “all about their students” and what’s best for them – that we have devious, personal agendas?
I am sad for myself, but I am even sadder for our children. My own college-age children and their friends are embarking on their own careers. They are becoming the people they will be! I find it hard to enthusiastically celebrate those who are considering teaching. I feel the need to caution instead of celebrating. It’s not the same career I chose 30 years ago.
Lastly, I am sad for the current and future students. They will no longer have the enthusiastic, energetic brand new teachers I knew – those who taught with wild abandon, dressed in silly costumes, played the guitar during lessons, spent money they didn’t have on classroom libraries, stayed late, and worked through the weekends. These newbies will need to protect themselves first, and teach second.
30 year Connecticut Educator