Yes, I do take offense when I have to defend “teaching and learning” as a field that requires scholarship and research, separate from content and just as important as the study of human development or say, a scientist who studies the brain.
Yes, I do take offense when everyone has the answer on how to fix our ‘teachers,’ who by nature of their title are riddled with fault or worse yet, incompetence.
Yes, I do take offense that teachers are taking blow after blow for the media hyped, politically motivated misconception that our schools are terrible when in fact schools in healthy, economically stable communities are doing quite well. Yes, I do take offense when education reformers say ‘years of experience’ or an education degree doesn’t matter, that it’s only “value-added” performance that counts and in the same breath say we value education. (If that’s not the ultimate in double-speak, or in laymen’s terms, hypocrisy, then what is?)
Yes, I do take offense when schools are being hijacked by business men at the expense of generations of children (poor children and children of color) who are being used as pawns for one of the great coups in American history.
Yes, I do take offense when I’m forced to watch the slow and methodical dismantling of structures that have provided voice to parents & community leaders that validates their crucial role in developing schools with social capital.
And yes, I do take offense when people manipulate the definition of words like majority or minority conveniently as if polls and statistics are not used as weapons to ‘frame’ the debate and manipulate information—or as if the demographics of our public schools truly reflect our diverse nation.
Yes, yes, yes, I do take offense and let me tell you why. Like Nelson Mandela said on his 70th year, it is absolutely a choice people make to care. Do you know how much time it takes and energy and stamina to care enough, to keep the conversation going even after it’s clear that the system fails to stand for justice? So, whatever big bubble might burst in your face, and the trouble it makes to find discord, the awkward silence of disagreement, or the sense that some feel entitled while others are being harassed— it is simply what one must do.
Yes, I take offense because it takes not one or two but hundreds of thousands of persons to stand up, to keep up the fight for what we do, for dignity, for integrity and simply to exercise our right to say it like it is. It is not an act of defiance, but an act of love. Love for the beauty in it. Love for the humanity of it. Make a choice to care.
Take offense. Reclaim the teaching and learning profession for everything it is worth.