“[NCLB] has sucked the joy out of teaching”

Student and Teacher
Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

As noted elsewhere, my wife is a teacher.

Because she’s in a district where the NEA (ie: teachers’ union) is the exclusive negotiating agent with the district, she must belong to the union in order to teach.

The net result of this is a lot of NEA mail, plus a magazine or two, plus a few bucks out of her paycheck that she’ll likely never see again.

Anyhow, I often flip through their publications if nothing else to see if they actually include information to help the teacher members do their jobs better. More often than not, its political this and that, unfortunately. Sometimes there’s a gem or 2.

This month, I didnt get past the reader mail page before I was struck by this July 6, 2006 remark from the California Teachers Association President, Barbara Kerr: “[NCLB] has sucked the joy out of teaching. But we believe that to moan and groan is not enough – we need to be activists.”

Now I have no argument with teachers being activists, which I assume means “standing up for what you believe in and trying to do something about it.”

Because my wife is a teacher, I know a lot of teachers. I havent talked to a single one whose gives me the impression that the joy has been “sucked out” of teaching their students because of NCLB, or anything else.

Ms Kerr needs a big time attitude adjustment, a pair of cojones, or she needs to find a new career if NCLB has truly “taken the joy out of teaching” for her. I cant imagine that this “lack of joy” isnt reflected in her teaching in the classroom, but I hope she is a big enough person to compartmentalize those feelings so as to conceal this situation from her students.

Yes, I realize some of you will call that a run on sentence and throw out my remarks as a result. Think: Baby< ->Bathwater. FYI, my mother was an English teacher. Imagine how she feels after reading that…

Do I agree with every part of NCLB? Not even. There’s a lot of disconnected-from-reality Beltway crap in there, but a lot of the same comes from the NEA every month. No one has the exclusive on being disconnected.

Bottom line – Should teachers allow NCLB to put them into a mental state where they dont even get joy from their teaching anymore? If that’s where it puts you, its time to “cowboy up” or move on.