Why do the good get punished?

Undeniably we all can recall that one teacher who you can recall like it was yesterday. For myself it was Mr. McNaughton a career adviser, but nonetheless. The chances are they had great influence in your childhood or adolescent lives. Whether it was their teaching techniques or their general aura, they were someone you payed great attention to. They provided you with their knowledge and insight to expand your minds, to grow into the person you are today. But the unfortunate truth is they are the unsung hero in who you become. Well, as long as they were a good teacher. You see, teachers are probably the only other adult figures during your school years. Sure you have your parents, and their influence is highly regarded both psychologically and scientifically, but teachers are the ones who’s sole purpose is to educate you. Get you ready for the ‘real world’, the painstaking uphill climb in the pursuit of happiness. I’m sure if you’re reading this you know exactly what I mean.

Much like parents, teachers develop a community for those who are within it. They provide an environment which is very much give and take, whereby respect is simply not handed out like detention slips. They are earned. Anthropologically speaking they are the elders of your tribe/community. A good friend of mine is an aspiring teacher finishing off his last year of university and his dedication to his future career is second to none. The professionalism and enthusiasm he possesses is something which can never be dismissed and rightfully so. The devotion, passion, drive, call it what you will be an inspiration, and the comfort I get knowing that kids of today are getting a role model like himself is very reassuring. But yet teachers are often dismissed for their great work, even ostracized. How could that be?

As teachers, their goals are pretty clear cut, on the surface at least. They teach, they educate and provide a safe and comfortable environment in improving a child’s mind. Simple right? Well, once again this is a misconceived notion which is completely unrealistic and narrow-minded. The general population dismisses the hardship which teachers endure when teaching children. They are often criticized as a second tier occupation due to the amount of vacation time, great work hours, the great job security and the pay being pretty decent. Sure they are great perks. But second-tier I think not!

Statistically speaking the fruition and the drive that a teacher have on any student is what makes a ‘bright future’. As a country, as any country, your goal is to go forwards, not backward. The backbone to the bigger and better future of a country can depend on good teachers. I mean there are no doubts that some teachers are just shit at what they do. They have no idea of what they are doing. The words ‘lackluster’ and ‘uncharismatic’ come to mind and it seems like they took the job purely based on its perks. Those are the kind of teachers who people will forget and provide your child with negative reinforcements. The sense of reluctance, to achieve, to strive for the greater good, the perfect example of ‘conformity’.

The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” – Jim Hightower. Anyone can read cover to cover from a textbook, but those who are good or great teachers are the ones who are brave and courageous. The ones who allow students to practice and question the information that has been given to them. A highly recognized technique which is developmentally speaking, very practical.

If you take at it from a global perspective, teaching has led us to children who are more ‘adaptable’ and ‘modern’. Technically smarter, but this is something that is very debatable due to the circumstances which your ancestors may have been in. You see, circumstantially things have changed significantly compared to say 100 years ago. The Industrialization that has occurred over the last century has changed us and the way we live. Western countries especially had to pursue tertiary education to succeed in the demand of ‘cognitive thinking positions’ which were where the money was at, something which was lacking in the early 20th century. Dr. James Flynn, a world renowned psychologist explains this change as a situational difference: a different mindset to survive. But regardless to that, guess who enabled us to adapt to a forever changing environment. Yeah, that’s right. Teachers.

I attest for the foreseeable future it can be clear that teachers are the key to survival and allow us to jump leaps and bounds to achieve those future goals. We’ve established that teachers are the linchpin to future success, a crucial role model for a child’s development and are adaptable to suit modernization. So why on earth are they still criticized for poor work or held accountable for a child’s progression?

Well, in my belief the problem lies not on the surface, but what lies below it. The other parties who are involved in a child’s development. Parents, the media, the government and so forth. Before you start spamming me with death threats and hate mail hear me out. So you can comfortably say that if a teacher is legitimately shit at what they do there is no gray area. It is black and white. That can easily be fixed and arrangements for a change can be enforced. The problem is when the good teachers get criticized for their teachings. Take the parent, for example. Their child brings home a bad report card and shows it to the parent. The parent immediately tries to diagnose the problem, and in the process immediately dismiss themselves as a possible reason for why their child is performing poorly at school.

By no means am I saying that they are horrible parents. It’s more so a natural instinct, a distinction that they make when a problem arises. They take responsibility but indirectly, opposed to blaming themselves. The old saying ‘boys will be boys’ is a perfect scenario. We all getup to mischief as kids and when you got caught you were immediately grounded. I mean I may be generalizing, but in most cases when you ‘get up to no good’ you weren’t by yourself. I sure wasn’t. All my misdemeanors as a kid were with friends, ‘a one for all, all for one’ kind of situation. Nonetheless, your parents will make an assumption of the problem being ‘your friends’. Who knows you may have been the ringleader, the evil maniacal hell raiser, but I guarantee your parents think your an angel who got mixed up with the wrong crowd? It essential turns into the blame game. A chain reaction of pointing fingers without looking at the hard evidence. So when it comes down to any wrong doings which your child may have caused, the parents shelter themselves by creating a blind spot, which in their defense is protecting their own. Nurturing, in essence.

But as teachers, the repercussions can be much greater. When a parent receives that bad report card they go through the channels to eradicate the issue. No matter how great of a teacher they may be, the possibility, of getting criticized, is inevitable. For the sake of it we will call this the ‘chain of blaming’.

From the parent receiving the report card, this will then go to the head of the department or the principal. If a change isn’t enforced this will go further up the ladder of bureaucracy, followed by the area or district board of education and so forth. You get the picture. So the teacher gets reviewed for his or her work and they must comply appropriately, otherwise they may be stripped of their teaching license. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the teacher under review must now comply and conform to the traditional stylings of teaching. Textbook stuff. The boring black and white shit.

So that teacher who was ‘great’ once upon a time is now that unnoticed and inattentive teacher that you never want. It’s a sad story. The rise and fall of a great are as easy as blaming someone and conceding depending on what great height you get shat on by. The gift of teaching is not something that can be taught and I don’t mean literally. I know that you have to get a degree in order to teach, but more so in the fact that it is something that is within you. A passion for sharing your knowledge, to enrich a child’s mind and ultimately leading them on their way to a successful adulthood.

But it’s just a shame that the good get punished.

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