Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good teachers should run bad teachers out of a job faster than the principal

Last week, we had a bit of a staff shuffle that moved one teacher from History and Geography (taught in French) to simply French language. She was irate that she'd have to create new lesson plans and "start all over from scratch." This teacher had been doing History and Geography for years and she was a well oiled machine. Now she was being asked to alter it slightly and she was steaming mad for several days.

Tomorrow we have an inservice for our staff. We are getting one of the foremost minds in educational technology thinking, Alan November, to come speak about some pretty radical things. He is going to talk about how we must utilize and integrate technology into our daily lesson and not just lay a PowerPoint presentation over the top of what we already do. He is going to say that we have to challenge kids with deeper and more difficult questions because the old ones just don't work in the world of Google and Wikipedia.

I'm jazzed.

Yet, lots of my colleagues are dreading the workshop. They are 10-15 years older than me and see technology as both scary and superfluous. I actually had one teacher tell me that kids will use technology without us teaching them so we didn't need to include technology in our curriculum. Many of these teachers have been teaching the same thing, the same way for years and years. They have no desire to change because it will make them work harder.

I'd like them fired. I know the traditional knee-jerk response is for teachers to circle the wagons and defend each other. However, I'm tired of it. Changing both content and delivery is crucial to educate a 21st century child. And yeah it is hard. If you think it is too hard, then go somewhere else. If you can get a job that pays similarly for less work, by all means take it. You know what that means for those of us who stay? We will earn more money. With less available teachers, the supply dries up and the prices moves upward. And I'm plenty happy with that bargain.

I should be at the vanguard of pushing mediocre, tired and lazy teachers out the door. Sure I should probably do it for high moral reasons, but right now I'd do it for a 10% raise.

I understand being tired and I understand the desire to be lazy. However, that isn't an excuse for doing a half-ass job or being resistant to change in pedagogy or content. If teaching is too hard, don't bitch. Just leave. and I'll bank on that.