Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reality Bites

There are many things I find increasingly frustrating as I cross the line between teacher and student. When I'm at work I'm in charge, and after a year in the classroom I've gained incredibly valuable (in my opinion) real-world knowledge about what it means to be a teacher. While I'm at the university, though, my opinion doesn't count for much, especially in the eyes of professors who have either been out of the primary or secondary classroom for years or (worse) were never classroom teachers themselves. Time and again I've had professors tell me to do things that I know are totally unrealistic in an actual classroom. Just today I saw a professor publicly slam a high school principal for a disciplinary measure that, from my perspective, was completely appropriate given the situation. The professor's suggestion for how the matter should have been handled was completely unrealistic. He would have been laughed out of his own classroom had he attempted this "solution" with my high school students.

It's hard (if not impossible) to hold my tongue in these situations, but frequently I've decided that it's best for my grade if I just nod and smile. Let the professors, who by definition deal in theory rather than practice, live in their bubbles while those of us "in the trenches" continue to work with real kids who need real solutions when a problem arises.

My mentor teacher and I frequently commisserated about this issue last year when we were both taking classes. It just doesn't seem right that the people who are, at least in theory, educating educators are frequently so out of touch with the realities of what it's like to work with children.


Bea said...

Those who can't do? Hopefully the tongue-biting is not too painful or prolonged.


Natalie said...

Ouch. That's horribly frustrating.