We have a solution.
Teachers, go ahead and quit. Yes, quit.
And then for your NEW job... become a politician!
Before you balk, just think about this: You're smart. In fact, you are incredibly smart and talented to do what you do. Teaching children is hard work! Dealing with all the hurdles you face in your classrooms would make grown men cry if it happened to them in their workday. What would lawyers do if they had to teach 25 children?
(one child holding a tooth that just fell out, 1 who keeps sticking pencils up his nose, 2 who say they need to use the restroom even though your class just went 5 minutes ago, 3 who are on ADHD medicine, 2 who probably should be, 1 who forgot her glasses and can't see, 1 brand new student who barely speaks English, 1 needs a bandage because she picked at a scab, and it is storming outside so no outdoor recess today. Again.)
Most people couldn't handle the pressure. They would be on their knees begging for mercy and aspirin before lunchtime. But you, dear teachers, do this with grace. And you do it every day.
Just think about this, teachers...
You can keep 25 kids on task using paint, glue, and acorns to create the complete metamorphosis cycle of a butterfly... in comparison, an election campaign would be a breeze with your multitasking talent and creativity!
You've dealt with difficult administrators, difficult parents, and problem children... so working with politicians would be a piece of cake! You are the ultimate "people person!"
Teachers, you are a PRO at dealing with paperwork. Literally! Think of all the paperwork you do... lesson plans, grading homework, evaluation forms, IEPs, lunch tallies, etc. So reading proposed laws and policies, and then giving them a "Yea" or "Nea" grade/vote is right up your alley! You got this, with one hand tied behind your back!
For legislators who complain that teachers get long, luxurious summer and winter breaks... *Ahem*, how many months do legislators get off? Yes, that's right, Tennessee legislators work from Januaryish until they start getting antsy in Aprilish when legislators have to work longer days at the capitol (no whining) to meet deadlines and get stuff passed. Then they are "off" for the rest of the year, April through December. And before legislators start to argue that they "work from home" during their off months, well, so do teachers! Checkmate. Case closed.
Okay, back to your new job prospect idea... there are many offices you are qualified to run for:
- School Board Member: would be an obvious choice. You could help fix some of those policies that hindered learning and robbed joy from classrooms. Those administrators who threw teachers and students under the bus to scramble up their career ladder? Yeah, you'd technically be their boss because you'd be voting to hire the Superintendent who oversees them. It is called "poetic justice."
School boards meet typically a couple times per month, plus members are expected to attend school open houses and such, and there might be a few trips to Nashville for school board events. You could definitely handle this; it is easier than dealing with car line and science fair projects in the pouring rain.
Since this is a part-time job, the pay is not so great for school board members, but you'd have the power to make things better for the children in your district.
- State legislator: would be pretty awesome, too. You could be one of the 99 House of Representative members or one of the 33 State Senators. Most legislators aim low for a seat in the House, and work their way up to Senator, and then Governor. You could totally do it. Just watch your step for lobbyists at the Capitol. Lobbyists are crawling everywhere, but hey, you've dealt with ant and wasp infestations in your classroom every spring and every time a lunchbox leaks, so you can handle it.
Legislators have control over a large portion of funding for schools, so you could work to give more money to schools so they can hire exterminators. And you can just close the door on lobbyists if they get annoying. Win-win situation.
Oh, and legislators get their own secretaries and their own office! And they get a stipend for travel to Nashville on top of their salary.
- Federal legislators. O my goodness, to have real educators in these positions... Momma Bears can dream, can't we? Senator Lamar Alexander just stabbed every teacher and student in the nation in the back by voting to approve John King as Commissioner of Education. One one side of his mouth, Senator Alexander speaks of eliminating the "Federal School Board," but then on the other side of his mouth he just voted to put the absolute worst person -- an unqualified, common core-loving, test-kids-to-death, charter school lying, not listening to parents at all la-la-la-la-i-cant-hear-you-fingers-in-my-ears, educating his own children in a private Montessori school where they don't even have the awful testing or common core he forces on public school students -- kinda person in charge of every public school system in the nation. It is sickening. Senator Alexander totally threw us all under the bus, then got out of the bus and urinated on the puddle where we are all smushed. Teachers, you can do better than this.
- President of the USA. Now, we're talking! To have someone in office who is an experienced peace-maker, who truly cares about children and the future of the nation. Someone who sees through fibbing, past the excuses of Wall Street billionaires who needed "bailing out"... Someone who sees past the cocktail party conversations about the pet projects of billionaires to push privately-controlled no-excuses charter schools and thereby eliminate public education as we know it. Someone who knows what a crock Common Core really is, that standardized testing is killing the joy of education... Someone who will question the motives before believing testing company vultures eager for profit... Momma Bears literally cannot breathe thinking of what this would be like to have a teacher in the Oval Office.
Teachers, you won't be the first.
Here's some inspiration for you: Teachers in Knox County got fed up two years ago. Their school board was made up of non-educators who were making horrendous decisions for educators and students. Teachers said "enough" and ran for office. We are bursting with pride to report that the Knox County School Board now has 5 of 9 members who are former educators! and one who is a former social worker who knows what children in schools really need!!! The tide has turned in their favor so much so that their awful Superintendent is leaving. Real teachers are running the show in Knox County, Tennessee! See what happens when you teachers get fed up and take action? You can change the world!
And look in Nashville where former teacher, Jill Speering, serves on the MNPS School Board. She is doing wonderful things for her district. As a former literacy specialist, she has made literacy a priority. It truly is making a difference. She's working to reduce standardized testing. She votes for what is best for students and is beloved in her community.
Our BAT friend, Larry Proffitt, is spreading his wings out of his classroom this year. He is running for a seat in the TN House of Representatives representing Robertson county, District 66. He is no push-over, and will surely make a difference if he wins. He has already made a difference by going to the Capitol to speak with legislators every chance he can get using his school holidays and snow days over the past few years. THAT kind of commitment and dedication is what we need representing our state.
See??? It CAN be done. You CAN make a difference.
If your heart is broken by the state of public schools, if you just can't take it any more and you're looking for another door to open, consider these options. You encourage your students on a daily basis, but Momma Bears is encouraging YOU.
Thinking about it??? Here's a link to find out what steps you need to take. You can also consider contacting your local political party to find support.