Jen Eramith MA a message from Jen Eramith MA

Monday, 14 March, 2011  (posted 29 March, 2011)

Why are teachers being targeted and blamed more than usual in the US?

There are two primary dynamics we will outline here, though many other reasons have been discussed in news and other media.  The two dynamics are, first, that teachers are seen as being at the bottom of the power in education reform.  As the educational system is unraveling, it is seems easiest to place blame on those who seem to have the least powerful .  The second dynamic is that in US culture many people hold resentment for authority figures who have mistreated them, and collectively you are directing that resentment toward teachers because teachers were often in a of authority when you were children.

So teachers are caught in an ironic position.  On one hand, they are mistreated because they seem powerless in the power structure of the educational and political systems, and on the other hand they are resented because the represent authority to the parts of you who were hurt in childhood.  And those opposing positions both place teachers in the line of fire for the resentment held by millions of people who feel powerless in the face of these unraveling systems.

How can we change the way society views teachers in order to heal this dynamic?

The key for changing this is for teachers to stand up for themselves more powerfully than they ever have before.  The collective voice of teachers must be heard and understood in order to resolve both the dynamics listed above.  If teachers are seen as standing in their power and refusing to be belittled or oppressed, they become less easy to target with mislaid frustration.

There has been a code of silence among teachers in the US that has led them to avoid telling the truth of their experiences and struggles, and it has also led them to avoid exposing those teachers who operate without integrity.  This has made them an easier target for repressed frustration people have with the educational system. 

And if teachers express their collective commitment to integrity, and reveal the struggles they face in the educational system, they create a of connection and camaraderie with adults in their communities.  When this of connection occurs, people no longer direct their personal struggle with authority on the role of teachers.

Ultimately, healing must occur within the hearts of every individual, but this will take more time than you can afford to wait.  On a personal level it is vitally important that you look at how you view authority, and find a way to step into your own sense of authority.  This means taking accountability for your actions and attitudes, rather than blaming others.  As more individuals do this work on a personal level, it leads you to collectively realize that it doesn’t make sense to target teachers for the broader frustration you feel for the systems that have oppressed you. (March 2011)

 

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