I'm a teacher. I want the young adults I teach to excel and I work very hard at trying to find new ways to do better. Do my kids do better? Well, yes from the time we meet in August until we last say goodbye in May it is absolutely a fact that they are better at what I teach than when I started.
Imagine you're a carpenter and you've been tasked with building a house. You're required to build a house that satisfies for quality X, and if you do not satisfy quality X you will be released from employment. There are also a few catches I should tell you about before you accept the challenge. First, you will not be permitted to select materials for quality you MUST build the house from materials provided to you and those materials are only materials that are acquired locally (although some are actually imported). The second thing you should know is that you'll have a small budget with which to purchase tools to use in the construction, $500 is a good amount although it could be a little higher. If you need more money to buy better tools you must use your own funds and you will not be reimbursed later. There are probably more things to know but I think we have a good starting point for our mental exercise.
You build the best house you can under these circumstances. You are also a miracle carpenter and you meet the requirements to continue building homes. Year 1 of teaching accomplished.
Year 2 begins and you're excited fresh still from your successes. You are given a brand NEW set of materials with which to build a brand NEW house in the same amount and roughly the same quality as last years issue. Your tool budget was cut 7%. The new house now must be built with a quality level of X+1 (where X was the quality of the first years house with the +1 representing improvements such as spaciousness or other qualities). The same rules apply in year 2. You have no ability to select materials for quality and no ability to increase the tool budget. You work exceedingly hard and you are able to build a larger home this year than last with the same materials. You are a carpentry genius. Good job.
Year 3 begins. Same rules, same new materials only now your house must satisfy the demands of Quality X+2.
Year 4 begins..... you get the idea.
It's not as if one teacher follows a student throughout their primary and secondary careers. I am not complaining as I am delighted to accept accountability and responsibility for the success of my students. My beef with our current whipping-post mentality is that I do not actually have the authority to make the student study at home and work hard. I do not have the authority to say to their parents "Look, Johnny is failing because he isn't even thinking about this class outside of this class." I am responsible for the student outcomes, I get that. I actually like it. I am an award winning teacher and have been interviewed locally for television and newspaper. What I don't get is how I can be held accountable for what Johnny has chosen to learn or not. Where is the accountability for parents and the students themselves?
On to the arguments against me.
Argument: "You should make class enjoyable and fun!"
Answer: Since when is work fun? Exactly what should I do? Hire clowns? Dance? Sing? My job is to impart a job skill at a technical school. I will promise you that I do not care in the slightest bit if little Johnny is properly entertained.
Argument: "Stop complaining and just do it. You are a highly paid "baby sitter" or whatever"
Answer: Highly paid? Ha, ha, ha. Teachers are only paid for those days they teach. We have to save a little of each paycheck and have that savings redistributed over the 12 month year so that our budgets can be stable at home. You're ignorant of the mandatory layoffs we get each year. Additionally I do just do it, and I'm happy to. I resent our current system of testing because I'm accountable for results WHEN I am not permitted any level of control of the process or student selection.
Argument: "It isn't the parents responsibility to teach their kids, that is what we have a school system for."
Answer: You are the biggest idiot I've ever spoken with. For the love of $Diety please do not reproduce. I can not even begin to comment on how stupid this train of thought is.
There are more arguments that I don't really feel like typing. I'm sure that were I to publish this on /. I would hear them all very quickly. Fortunately for my Karma I have no intention of publishing this. I'm just ranting.
For those that may be thinking about a career in education take note. The institution is rapidly degrading and will likely continue to. Education is a very poor choice right now for a career. So much so that I'm thinking about leaving it and going back to my chosen profession (network admin / engineer).