Why I Have No Desire to Teach Elementary Ed

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I’ve got a Masters degree that qualifies me to teach elementary school. I have been teaching English overseas mainly in universities for the last few years so if I were to go back, I’d need to take some classes and get my certificate reinstated. I could see doing that except as much as teaching is fine there are so many other problems with working in the K-8 world that make it clear that I would hate teaching.

God bless those who stick with it.

Today I got an email from a friend, let’s call her Jane, who’s returned to the US and is working as an ESL teacher. She’s been micromanaged since September beginning with a reprimand for drinking a hot drink while supervising recess. Though Jane’s got a Masters degree, a teaching certificate and 12 years experience, her principal’s very wary of her ability. This week my friend discovered that her colleague who’s got less experience has been acting as a spy and reporting back to the principal. I do believe my friend when she says she’s not doing anything wrong. I’ve been in that position too.

When I worked in San Antonio for a school that’s since closed, the principal was a neurotic who discouraged collaboration and ruled the school with an iron fist. All copies had to be approved and every so often to throw her weight around she’d veto a copy request. No, your students don’t need to practice fractions so much. Huh? How do you know? I got in trouble by the principal’s daughter, the school librarian, because I was talking to a student in the library. I was helping him find a book. I could go on and on.

Another friend who taught high school suffered through the reign of a department head who banned poetry – yes, this was the English department – and national literatures replacing American lit with a dumbed down thematic program.

The real problem in American education is administrators who treat teachers like children and don’t know what they’re doing. Moreover, these leaders are drawn to the position because they seem to have a weird need for power, which they misuse.

So I wouldn’t want to teach in the K-8 world because I:

  1. Don’t want to do recess duty. A hospital doesn’t make the doctors and nurses direct traffic in the parking lot after all.
  2. Like to have a hot drink whenever I think it’s appropriate. Really, children see their parents drinking tea or coffee. It’s not a big deal.
  3. Don’t like getting evaluated for how well my students walk in line.
  4. Can’t take stand teaching to the test.
  5. Think the odds are against anyone finding a good principal to work for.
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