Teachers Are Great, But They’re Not the Only Ones

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2016-02-25 – I’ve had some great teachers. I’ve also had some that were less than great. Great or less than great, I admire people who have devoted their lives to the difficult (but probably rewarding) job of teaching our kids. I wish I could do it, but I can’t.

The thing that troubles me about the teaching profession is that it seems so unhappy. I can’t really think of another profession that complains as much as teachers.

Teachers aren’t the only ones who do great things for society. Take nurses, for example.

I could talk about many other professions, but I choose nurses. Like teachers, nurses fill an enormous need. Like teachers, nurses work hard. Like teachers, nurses are under appreciated. Like teaching profession, the nursing profession was historically a women’s profession.

A women’s profession. That’s an important point. Our society is not used to honoring women’s professions, even when they stop being women’s professions. But that’s a topic for another day.

The thing is that nurses don’t complain about patients the way that teachers complain about students and their parents—at least not publicly.

And here’s another comparison. Both teachers and nurses are hamstrung by “the system” in doing their jobs. Until recently, people with preexisting conditions were kept from advancing in both systems.

Because of Obamacare (and before that HIPAA) we know a little bit about preexisting medical conditions. Before Obamacare, if you were sick (i.e., you needed care) before you became part of the system, you were disqualified from getting care (unless it was an emergency). Obamacare has removed that obstacle. Needing care no longer disqualifies you from getting care.

In education, the preexisting condition exclusion still exists. If a child is sharp and basically not in need of much teaching, they sail through the system. If not (i.e., if the child has the preexisting condition of ignorance), the child is progressively deprived of education. Those who need teaching the most, get it the least.

This is systematic. It is not the teacher’s fault.

I’d like to see less complaining about the kids and their parents and more complaining about a system that operates more as a way to sort out bad apples and less as a school.

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