So there is at least one teacher in every school like the one I had words with today in a meeting. She is the teacher who tries to one up everyone else with her many years of experience, she reminds everyone that she will be retiring soon, and never forgets to insist that NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE ABOUT EDUCATION SO WE SHOULD JUST STOP WORRYING OURSELVES WITH THE ISSUES THAT WE THINK NEED TO CHANGE. Obviously we have not gotten along the entire year. One day she confronted me in the copy room asking me what my problem was. I have arguments with her in my head, I think about what I could possibly do to teach her to open up her mind and stop putting down our hope for the future. Each time I see her I try to avoid blowing up at her and telling her that everything she stands for is what I stand against. Well today, I told her exactly that.
In the meeting today a few of us were sharing our concerns about testing, research, and the overall demands of admin. She decides to tell us that education will never change, testing is inevitable, and that we should just let it go or it will ruin our personal lives.
I had had enough. I told her to stop saying that. I told her that we come to school every day because we have hope for the future and that the future will change for our students. I told her it is hurtful every time she says things will never change because there is no reason we would be here working so hard if we didn’t think we could make a difference.
Then she asked me about my PhD program and what I thought I was going to do. I told her that I plan on teaching preservice teachers how to make changes and that I was going to work to get testing decreased (if not eradicated). She then told me she had a friend that has already worked at three colleges and already has her phd and is trying to do the same thing I want to do. I assume she was attempting to use this example to highlight that things are not changing and that I should just give up. She said she doesn’t understand why we are always so concerned about things we can’t change and that we should just “let it go”. I told her that the way that we cope is to talk about it. She kept insisting that nothing would change and she knew it because she has been a teacher for x amount of years, etc. etc. Finally, she started to pack up, perhaps tear up, and then she walked out. I am waiting for an email from HR chiding me for verbally attacking a fellow teacher in a meeting.
Afterwards, I spoke with a teacher buddy of mine who was in the meeting and had heard the whole thing. She said something so smart about it. She said that what the other woman meant when she said “things will never change” was really that SHE would never change. I wish I had thought of that during my argument.
It is so rampant and so problematic in education today that teachers think we should submit to the unacceptable and abusive policies in public education today. I am happy this woman is retiring after this year, even if it meant having her remind us of it in every single meeting. Good riddance.