At the risk of over-reacting I have to share my irritation with Kaplan’s advertising and what it claims about educators and education. The second half of this video is right on the money, education needs to change, and it will. I will write later about my vision for more student-focused learning and how I think public education can and will step up to the task. I won’t fault the marketing department at Kaplan for their shot at the current state of education, it’s broken. However, I will not, nor should any teacher, ever apologize to any student for “failing” them.
Teaching is one of if not the hardest jobs one can choose. I don’t know a single teacher who does not pour their hearts and souls into their work. Sure, some are more effective, and some others are more dynamic, but no one who stays in teaching past the first few years is there for the “great pay,” or, “summers off.” Working with students to develop their skills and abilities takes immense patience, careful and accurate lesson planning, a compassionate and caring heart, an above all, a willingness to reach down and help up those in need regardless of circumstances.
Do teachers fail their students from time to time? Of course. But the proposition that today’s educators have “failed” to educate this generation is simply offensive to me. I suppose that it is easier to blame educators for the problems today’s young people are having in the world. After all, today’s students spend on-average 6 to 7 of their 24 hours at school mostly participating in instruction. The balance of time, upwards to 8 or 9 hours daily are spent, with friends, at home, completing homework, or with family. Unfortunately, school is falling lower and lower on their priority lists.
Perhaps this advertisement for a commercial educational institution is aimed more squarely at the colleges and universities, and not so focused on K-12 public education. Perhaps I am too sensitive. If you read my posts here then you know my heart. I just hate it when educators are blamed for the failings of their students. Ideally every child taught by every teacher would excel in every subject ever taught. But this is not what happens. Thankfully, the American public education systems has been part of the backbone of the success of our country and will continue to grow and thrive.
I’m sure that I have now ruined my opportunity to ever become a Kaplan instructor. Well, that’s ok. I will continue to implement my own educational reforms from within my own classroom with my own students every day that I stand in front of them and teach. And to be clear, I will never, ever, apologize for not bringing my best to the classroom and not teaching every student I am assigned to the best of my ability. I will draw out their talents, and educate each individual to confidently venture out into the world and be wildly successful.