Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Note on the Sacred

For the last time, school is NOT about the kids. I realize that that sounds like an inflammatory remark. What I mean is school is a community of teaching, learning, and relationships, one that involves kids, their parents, the teachers and administrators, and the community.

If we are going to treat school like a business (because our culture cannot break away from this), as in a customer service industry, then the closest we can get is NOT administrators as employers, teachers as employees, and kids, their parents and community as customers. If anything, it would have to be teachers, administrators, parents, and community as employers and kids as employees. And even that is a flawed analogy because since all business involves capital, we then have to place a value on people and call them assets and commodities. When it becomes about numbers and trends, we've lost the community aspect of the (sacred) learning environment.

Because we are not respectful of the sacred, what teaching and learning should be, we can't expect for many things to run smoothly.

At the very least, principals - your job is to take care of the teachers so that they can take care of the students. The students will graduate or not, but they'll leave. The teachers remain.

5 comments:

tara said...

Oh, Ginger. You are so right. But this involves a whole new way of thinking as a society, and we are so far removed from thinking, let alone as a society, that I don't know how we are to make the change. Capitalism has killed everything that was once sacred.

Amy said...

What a wonderful post. I think that you as a teacher should be taken care of. You have a very important job and that is teaching our children. I know that sometimes the teachers get left behind. If is was not for a teacher then we would not have doctors, lawyers, and so on. I hope this makes sense.

Ginger said...

I agree with both of you. The thing is, today I went to a coffee house. The barrista asked me if I was grading papers. I said that it was the end of the six weeks, so I was . She asked if it bothered my that I wasn't getting compensated for working on the week-ends, but quickly added how wonderful it is that I make an impact on kids. Um.
#1. She doesn't know what kind of teacher I am.
#2.Platitudes are not enough.
And that's the problem, I think. Our language makes it so we think we are honoring teachers, when really the person is making themselves feel better for the lack of respect that is evident in society.

And Tara - the problem isn't capitalism itself, it's that we've made it god.

nouwasa said...

Hey! :) It's Mariam! How are you?! Hope everything is great with you and yours! Baby Jack is so big and soooo cute! Miss you! :) I am on maternity leave--had Sayeida ("happy") on Feb. 9th...lol, I am attempting to reconnect with the world and with adults...

Lol, when I first read this post, I thought it was in response to TAKS...heard everyone's "testing procedures" were monitored closely by test observers...hope everything went well...

Yeah, I definitely agree with your ideas and have repeated this argument recently--lol, met with raised eyebrows and looks of "there she goes with one of her rants against evil capitalism." I love this idea of the "sacred." I don't think this word is used enough today in society and do not think today's generation has any idea what it means...which results in the lack of respect. My husband told me that there is an Arab-Islamic saying that basically translates to revere your teacher for they almost became a prophet (hope I said this right because hard to translate it exactly), which definitely fits with this idea of the sacred.

Just to mix things up, he-he ;) , I wonder and fear that maybe it has turned out this way because the capitalist system has taken the student OUT of the equation or has, at least, placed less emphasis on him/her...especially as the "service" itself is emphasized, the system obscures the people involved. I know especially with my student population, it is often the student who is missing--even when he/she is physically present in the classroom--and that student sometimes thinks that it is somehow acceptable that he/she is 'not present' (different from 'absent' as the student is here but is not HERE). What happens to the educational system when the student is missing...or when one of the other factors (teachers, administrators, parents, community, etc.) is missing?...

Lol, it makes me laugh that many times the first question asked is "are you mad you are not compensated for" all those extras...which the longer I teach, I am beginning to realize are NOT "extras" but are part of the active and ever current nature of educating and being an educator. Lol, it doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome a raise!!

I enjoy your blog and the questions/topics you raise...and have SOOO missed reading your writing! I am saying it again...you need to get published...submit some of these posts as articles in a newspaper or magazine. Lol, or is that the evil capitalist in me talking?!

I miss you!! Take care!! :)

Love, Mariam

Ginger said...

Mariam! I am trying to contact you via email - to respond to your lovely post! But I seem to have lost your email since I have a new computer and the blog link isn't working!:/ If you can, or if you get this, email me on my personal account (greenpoyo@yahoo.com) and I'll get back to you!! Welcome to the world Baby Sayeida! You have a lovely Momma and Dad!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Note on the Sacred

For the last time, school is NOT about the kids. I realize that that sounds like an inflammatory remark. What I mean is school is a community of teaching, learning, and relationships, one that involves kids, their parents, the teachers and administrators, and the community.

If we are going to treat school like a business (because our culture cannot break away from this), as in a customer service industry, then the closest we can get is NOT administrators as employers, teachers as employees, and kids, their parents and community as customers. If anything, it would have to be teachers, administrators, parents, and community as employers and kids as employees. And even that is a flawed analogy because since all business involves capital, we then have to place a value on people and call them assets and commodities. When it becomes about numbers and trends, we've lost the community aspect of the (sacred) learning environment.

Because we are not respectful of the sacred, what teaching and learning should be, we can't expect for many things to run smoothly.

At the very least, principals - your job is to take care of the teachers so that they can take care of the students. The students will graduate or not, but they'll leave. The teachers remain.

5 comments:

tara said...

Oh, Ginger. You are so right. But this involves a whole new way of thinking as a society, and we are so far removed from thinking, let alone as a society, that I don't know how we are to make the change. Capitalism has killed everything that was once sacred.

Amy said...

What a wonderful post. I think that you as a teacher should be taken care of. You have a very important job and that is teaching our children. I know that sometimes the teachers get left behind. If is was not for a teacher then we would not have doctors, lawyers, and so on. I hope this makes sense.

Ginger said...

I agree with both of you. The thing is, today I went to a coffee house. The barrista asked me if I was grading papers. I said that it was the end of the six weeks, so I was . She asked if it bothered my that I wasn't getting compensated for working on the week-ends, but quickly added how wonderful it is that I make an impact on kids. Um.
#1. She doesn't know what kind of teacher I am.
#2.Platitudes are not enough.
And that's the problem, I think. Our language makes it so we think we are honoring teachers, when really the person is making themselves feel better for the lack of respect that is evident in society.

And Tara - the problem isn't capitalism itself, it's that we've made it god.

nouwasa said...

Hey! :) It's Mariam! How are you?! Hope everything is great with you and yours! Baby Jack is so big and soooo cute! Miss you! :) I am on maternity leave--had Sayeida ("happy") on Feb. 9th...lol, I am attempting to reconnect with the world and with adults...

Lol, when I first read this post, I thought it was in response to TAKS...heard everyone's "testing procedures" were monitored closely by test observers...hope everything went well...

Yeah, I definitely agree with your ideas and have repeated this argument recently--lol, met with raised eyebrows and looks of "there she goes with one of her rants against evil capitalism." I love this idea of the "sacred." I don't think this word is used enough today in society and do not think today's generation has any idea what it means...which results in the lack of respect. My husband told me that there is an Arab-Islamic saying that basically translates to revere your teacher for they almost became a prophet (hope I said this right because hard to translate it exactly), which definitely fits with this idea of the sacred.

Just to mix things up, he-he ;) , I wonder and fear that maybe it has turned out this way because the capitalist system has taken the student OUT of the equation or has, at least, placed less emphasis on him/her...especially as the "service" itself is emphasized, the system obscures the people involved. I know especially with my student population, it is often the student who is missing--even when he/she is physically present in the classroom--and that student sometimes thinks that it is somehow acceptable that he/she is 'not present' (different from 'absent' as the student is here but is not HERE). What happens to the educational system when the student is missing...or when one of the other factors (teachers, administrators, parents, community, etc.) is missing?...

Lol, it makes me laugh that many times the first question asked is "are you mad you are not compensated for" all those extras...which the longer I teach, I am beginning to realize are NOT "extras" but are part of the active and ever current nature of educating and being an educator. Lol, it doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome a raise!!

I enjoy your blog and the questions/topics you raise...and have SOOO missed reading your writing! I am saying it again...you need to get published...submit some of these posts as articles in a newspaper or magazine. Lol, or is that the evil capitalist in me talking?!

I miss you!! Take care!! :)

Love, Mariam

Ginger said...

Mariam! I am trying to contact you via email - to respond to your lovely post! But I seem to have lost your email since I have a new computer and the blog link isn't working!:/ If you can, or if you get this, email me on my personal account (greenpoyo@yahoo.com) and I'll get back to you!! Welcome to the world Baby Sayeida! You have a lovely Momma and Dad!!