Friday, October 1, 2010
Who Will Thank the American Teacher?
You'd be forgiven if you said no.
Somehow, teachers think it's unseemly and self-serving to tell the world all the good they do, even on their own day. Yet, every October it rolls around, a day to showcase their work with the growing minds of the world's children - and comparatively few people know about it.
Here in my corner of Canada, our provincial government sends out a release thanking teachers for their service in educating students. We believe they really mean it.
Our national and local teachers' unions promote the day. Australia has been known to make a big deal of it. And in Uganda, the government recently declared that starting next year October 5 will be a national holiday in honour of teachers.
But I wonder about our American colleagues. With all the hyperbole and hyperventilation happening down south with Waiting for Superman, the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC's Education Nation, I wonder if anyone on the cutting edge of edu-bashing is planning to fete American teachers on their day.
Will MSNBC toss a bouquet to the nation's teachers by running an homage to the very folks they've largely left out of their examination of stateside school reform? Will David Guggenheim, the director of Waiting for Superman, consider a balanced sequel to his polemic film? Will the Los Angeles times simply say "sorry?"
More importantly, will reform's heavy hitters soften and speak words of gratitude for those toiling in the educational trenches? Will Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laud the daily efforts of the teachers who love teaching and nurture kids. Will President Obama finally decide to inspire hope in and respect for American educators?
Simply put, will the critics chill on World Teachers' Day? And will anyone who has benefitted from the experience, professional knowledge and care of their teachers issue a simple statement of appreciation for the work they do?
Surely U.S. teachers don't need a Hallmark card to raise public awareness of World Teachers' Day 2010 and feel good about their contribution to society.
They just need more people who are humble and gracious enough to say "thanks."