To Speak the Truth or Be Positive?

I’ve had quite a few teachers lately tell me about horrible working conditions in their classrooms; problems with students, other teachers, parents and principals. One teacher summed up her week with the words: “I cried everyday when I got home.”

When I approached these teachers about submitting their stories to my blog, reminding them they could be anonymous, each of them replied the same way. “I don’t want to discourage new teachers.
They could tell the story in their own words, but each teacher felt she needed to be positive and only share the good things about teaching.

If teachers never talk about what is wrong in their classrooms, how are things ever going to change? Aren’t the new teachers going to become discouraged a few years into their teaching careers? Then do they hide the truth or do they just quit?

I believe teachers need to share with each other; to find solutions, to know what is happening at other schools, to band together when a wrong needs to be righted and finally, to let the public know what is happening in schools. If people really knew what teachers went through every day and every year, I believe someone would start a conversation about it in a place where change is possible.

Your thoughts?

(And I haven’t even talked about the few teachers who are threatened. One commented, “I’m afraid they could fire me if I said what really happens here.”)

2 thoughts on “To Speak the Truth or Be Positive?”

  1. I am always told I am "being negative." No, no, I say, unless we acknowledge problems they will never be fixed. Sadly, this is the American way. Hence the demise of so many corporations who always reported how well they were doing – and people believed them!
    Surely this conspiracy of silence *is* the story?

  2. "…unless we acknowledge problems they will never be fixed."

    I couldn't agree more. I'm wondering where the idea that teachers have to show only the positive began. Is it truly the American way? How did that start? And so, education suffers and students lose out. Is it still true that half of teachers leave the profession by their fifth year of teaching?

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