“It happened to them, not to you,” said the social studies teacher when colleagues were topping each others’ classroom horror stories. ” You tell the stories like it’s some kind of entertainment, but it happened to them — the kids. They are the ones who 30 years from now will remember these stories with tears in their eyes.”
In her first post on Ed Week‘s new Charting My Own Course, Marilyn Rhames, a reporter turned science teacher, recalls the words that have haunted her for eight years.
I am only glad that I got set straight early in my teaching career. Some teachers never seem to get it. You know this when their debates about education reform are centered around teacher rights, and not student rights. Teachers’ needs are important — I have a mortgage; I have a family; I would like to retire one day — but they are not the core issue. The mission is bigger than us. Educators and policymakers must boil the chatter down to two essential questions: To what degree will this policy enhance student learning and how will we know?
Her own children attend the charter school where she teaches, so that keeps her aware that “it” — good or bad — is happening to them.