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We Have A Problem

Posted by: | September 18, 2012 | 7 Comments |

Sorry for the rant, but here goes…

We have a problem in education. It’s called “edusnobbery.”

Edusnobbery is why so many non-educators have a problem with teachers. With professors. With administrators. There are a lot of people outside of education who feel that academic-types look down their noses at non-academic types.

Edusnobbery is what sometimes happens to really good people  with good intentions,  who start accumulating letters behind their names, and all of a sudden… they know stuff. And they want you to know how much stuff they know.

In fact, they’re so pleased with themselves about how much they know, they choose to ridicule you for not knowing what they already know… even if you’re just now learning. (What is that we always say about kids? Something about how we shouldn’t assume everyone learns at the same pace? Hmmm…)

Edusnobs become “above” everything. If they don’t like something, they dismiss it as not worth their time. It’s silly, or pointless. If they don’t get their way, they start lashing out at people who try to do good things.

I know edusnobs… because I am a recovering edusnob.

Cynical. Negative. Angry at the world, because they didn’t see what I saw. They didn’t know what I knew. And holy cow, haven’t we been talking about Topic A or Topic B for the last 10 years… isn’t it time we do something about it? COME ON!!!

And then I realized how cynical I had become. How negative. How angry. Did it make a change in education for the better? Nope. Not one bit. All it did was hurt me… physically, emotionally, socially. Friends started staying away. My family tiptoed around me and looked at me like I was damaged.

Because I was. 

So… I quit a “more prestigious” job in education, went back to the classroom (and back to the dismal teacher pay) and sat around with kids. You can’t be a cynic (or negative/angry) around kids, unless you want to damage them, too.

And you know what? Wow, did my life improve! Yes, yes… I still have occasional relapses. I become upset when I feel that true educational reform– doing what is best for ALL kids– isn’t moving along quickly enough. Or when someone doesn’t understand why ranking and sorting kids is harmful to kids. I’m only human.

But… I think I have made a bigger impact as an educator who is positive and shares the positive things about what I’m doing. What my students are doing. Who doesn’t want to read about kids who are excited about learning?

We celebrate the good things, and we work hard to change the things that stand in our way of the good things. 

I propose we all take a good hard look at how we’re approaching change and making a difference for the kids. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t involve mocking those who DO try their best to do good things… even if their aim is a little off.

So, Edusnobs, are you going to continue to knock down the people who are trying to do good things… even when you don’t think those things hold much value?

Because I’ll tell you what. You’re not as powerful as you think you are. You just sound cranky, like that old guy shouting at kids,  ”get off my lawn!”

And you know what happens to that guy… he goes back into his house, alone. Cynical. Negative. Angry. But mostly alone.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

under: edreform

7 Comments

  1. By: Deven Black on September 20, 2012 at 11:04 am      Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have run into more than one edusnob besides the one I see in the mirror probably more often than I think.

    I do get cynical and angry about the people who have never taught but magically know more about how to do it than I, about people who talk about the necessity and validity of standardized tests while they send their children to expensive private schools that don’t give them, and the multimillionaires who harp about how teachers are paid too much.

    But, like you, I deal with children all day. I see them succeeding against the odds and roadblocks intentionally put in their way or intentionally allowed to remain there. These children help keep me grounded, open-minded. optimistic and, increasingly, smiling.

    • By: Michelle Baldwin on September 24, 2012 at 8:02 am      Reply

      You’re awesome, Dev. I’m sure the kids around you are lucky to have you! I wonder if there’s something else we can do to move people past attacking each other in the education arena. Hmmm…

  2. By: Fran on September 22, 2012 at 10:32 am      Reply

    I appreciate your point about people demeaning teachers, but I don’t believe it is in the best interest of education to seem to be demeaning people with multiple degrees. It almost seems as though you are downgrading further education. All fields have some professionals (finance, media, medical, law, etc.) who focus more on themselves than on the people they serve, whether they have multiple degrees or not. Rather, I hope we all want to be life long learners where ever that learning comes from. Let’s promote education in general and at all levels.

    • By: Michelle Baldwin on September 24, 2012 at 7:59 am      Reply

      Just so you know… I have multiple degrees and am in no way demeaning people with multiple degrees. Almost all my educators friends also have multiple degrees. If I was unclear in my post about what’s wrong in education, I apologize. It is not at all that people are accumulating degrees and more education that is the problem – I’m a teacher, and I always encourage life-long learning – but instead, those who believe they are superior to those around them simply because they have a university degree or more. We need to value all kinds of learning. Additionally, there are many in the edublogosphere who are ridiculing people new to the game, so to speak, and mocking them for not getting on the bandwagon of true ed reform earlier. There’s no place for that in our networks, and there’s definitely no place for that by people who should know better.

  3. By: Saba Khan on September 23, 2012 at 5:21 am      Reply

    Hello Michelle Baldwin

    Thanks for the new vocab. I feel I too am a bit cynical at times and do realise that . then I try to eradicate it from me the next time.

    Errors always occur but its a learning experience when we mend it .

    • By: Michelle Baldwin on September 24, 2012 at 8:01 am      Reply

      Saba, thanks for your comment. I agree with you… the learning comes from how we react when we make mistakes. It’s easy to become jaded when you feel overworked or underappreciated, but I also believe that we shouldn’t be attacking each other (educators) when it comes to learning. That’s really why I wrote this particular post- a reaction to some unpleasant behaviors by educators.

  4. By: julie on September 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm      Reply

    Thanks for the posting. Sometimes I catch myself saying the most mortifyingly snobbish things (not meaning to) and disgust myself with my own ‘edusnobbery’. Its important to reflect and change. I admire your move to go back to the classroom. The kids they do keep us grounded! I appreciated your honesty about this touchy subject.

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