You know. When asked by most people what I do for a career, the response I most often get when telling them I am a school teacher is... "Man, you must really love those summers off!?"

Really. Is this what we have come to think of the public educator?

Ten years ago, when I was a senior in high school I decided to commit my life to education. Not just any kind of education either, but rather education for change. (I swear I thought of it before Obama.) I sat in my classes and thought to myself, as millions of other students do now, what are they teaching me? How does this way of education prepare me for life following high school, college, and beyond?

I am a twenty eight year old public educator who has been at the same school for going on six years now. I try to push the envelope in the classroom on a daily basis, integrating as many classroom 2.0 technologies as I can, and preparing MY students for life after.

My confession: we are failing our students because we refuse as a society to respect the field of public education. A field that our students futures hang on - we lack respect for.

My district recently pushed for a "curriculum guide" [aka "big brother"] in American History. The people who build the curriculum at the district handed out the guide to teachers the Thursday prior to the start of school on the following Monday. How can we allow something like this to happen, in a country where we push accountability?

The fact is that we do many things in the education field, but we do none of them well. The system is failing our students, our educators, our communities, and our society. It is because of a lack of respect.

The time for change is now. We must begin with giving respect to the system... respecting it enough to be willing to change it. Respecting the education system to admit that standardization is not the answer. Respecting it enough to ask the professional educators which direction to head in. Respecting it enough to incorporate and explore new technologies that surround our students in the world in which they live.

Respecting it enough to not ask an educator how great it must be to have summers off, but rather thank them.

Until we respect the system, we can not change the system.

Copy this into an email and send it to an educator that you know.

It's good to be back! More to come...

Mike Meechin

flickr photo by gwaar