Today begins 2022, and I feel compelled to post something new here. Last night, I deactivated my Twitter account, so I am not really sure how many people will even read this. The last few years changed how many of us viewed education, each other, and the world as a whole. I spent 2021 undergoing a number of changes personally. I had shoulder and foot surgery, my family and I moved from the suburbs to a more rural area, my husband and I made the decision to continue homeschooling our boys indefinitely, and more. While I continue my work at a suburban high school, I find myself viewing the world a bit differently than I used to. But I think we probably all do.
David Geurin said years ago, “Classrooms don’t need tech geeks who can teach; we need teaching geeks who can use tech.” And the last several years have shown without a doubt that he was correct. I have watched teachers who were genuinely terrified of technology at the beginning of the pandemic rise to the occasion because their students needed them to and necessity mandated it. These are teaching geeks who figured out tech with a helping hand. But I have also heard horror stories of teachers who were not great in the classroom and continued to fail their students when we all moved online. The reality is that great teachers are NOT a dime a dozen – teaching IS a gift.
What we are seeing today in the profession I love is heartbreaking. Teachers are fleeing from classrooms. We are seeing vicious TikTok videos where students are challenged to steal and destroy items from schools, slap teachers, and most recently, shoot up their schools. Schools are struggling to maintain positive climate and culture. We hear terms like “toxic positivity” and read on Twitter challenges of “Tell me you’re a teacher without telling me you’re a teacher” that have responses both humorous and disheartening.
All of this leads me to wonder what 2022 has in store for education. I fear we have become more political than ever before. That concerns me for our students. While there can be no doubt that we, as citizens, have a right and a duty to participate in the political process, we are verging on harm when we push our own views onto students in our care. Our classrooms are not the place for teachers to be campaigning. Students are highly suggestable, thus it is far more incumbent upon us to teach students HOW to think than it is WHAT to think.
My hope for 2022 is that we will begin to see a return to respect for the educational process nationwide, support for educators, and kindness to each other. On the first of a new year, I still choose to believe we can always become better.