Every summer I see an ad for Worlds of Fun distributed to high school students. Included is an invitation to teachers. Just what I want. To work the Icee stand next to my student.
Imagine an ad that reads, “Doctors, applications now being taken for summer work at Walgreens pharmacy.” Or “Lawyers, add to your income by working community service with your convicted clients.” “College professors wanted for residential dorm managers.”
It’s no secret that teachers need to make extra money. But in earlier days the teachers I had owned ice cream businesses, their own painting companies, or coached for community leagues. No one would have dreamed asking them to take a minimum wage job because the community understood the importance of the teacher-student relationship. People understood the need for maintaining some respect and regard in the community because it affected what the teacher could do in the classroom. We were on the same page in the common goal of developing young people in a positive way.
Today, this view has decayed. Teachers are portrayed as enemies of relevancy and rights rather than skilled professionals. In fact, a textbook company boasts they have “teacher proof” textbooks and YouTube is seen as more authoritative than a teacher’s expertise.
Yard work, McDonalds, grocery story checker and other low skilled or non-skilled jobs at minimum wage are touted as viable options for teachers during the summer. This follows a similar trend in staff development in which we were instructed by administrative assistants, gang leaders, and other non-teaching personnel about our jobs.
Once a proctologist (yes) who had taken up a second career as a clown giving workshops on motivation was contracted to help the faculty ease the transition out of a school that was being closed. When a faculty member attempted to inform him about the frustration of having high standards and levels of concern in a system that didn’t seem to share them but expected them, he chided the member for being naïve.
There is so little if any understanding about the reality of teaching that most popular discussions fall far short of having any relevance. Even more so in the legislatures, board rooms, and colleges. And in the community at large. Thus the invitation to work at the summer amusement park.
Bet you didn’t know you got that degree or Master’s in Education to sell carnival tickets, did you? I guess it’s not really that far from the spin that is being mandated in the classroom today, now that your professional knowledge and experience has been effectively devalued.