But we must resist the urge to reduce ourselves to being mere cynics.
I've written about this topic before, and I've quoted Alfie Kohn on the subject:
...cynicism, unlike vibrant, reasoned skepticism, actually contributes to passivitiy.
It's too easy to play the blame game.
It's too easy to become disenfranchised with the system.
It's too easy to just close your door and teach on your little island.
But man is no island.
Sure you can close your door.
But if you do, you become part of the problem. Kohn explains:
Whereas the skeptic thinks and doubts and in so doing affirms a vision of the way things ought to be, the cynic affirms nothing, takes no action, and ends up perpetuating arrangements that make our lives worse.
Did you hear that?
...makes our lives worse...
Young teachers are full of shit and vinegar - but they are inexperienced and suffer from 'dear in headlights' syndrome. They're too damn busy trying to keep their heads above water. And if they're not too damn busy, they're too damn scared. They can't afford to rock the boat because they want to maintain a seat on the boat.
So who am I really challenging here?
I'm talking to the veterans...
You know the teacher I'm talking about - the one who has been around so long they look like they're a part of the furniture.
Yeah. I'm talking to you.
You owe it to yourself, your students and all those young teachers who will one day become you: the veteran.
That is, unless they chose to leave like the other 50% of teachers who quit inside of the first 5 years. Unless they chose to be like the countless number of kids who grow up wanting to be a teacher but think better of it, because, well, teaching isn't really worth it...
But I guess, you really don't have to accept this challenge. I mean what's the worst that could happen?
If we simply reconcile to the status quo and spend all our time getting out children to accomodate themselves to it and play the game, then nothing will change and they will have to do the same with their children. As someone once said, realism corrupts; absolute realism corrupts absolutely. (Alfie Kohn)
Seriously, if you're not the person to stand up and fight the good fight, then who?
And if now is not a good time, then when?