Good-bye to the school assembly line

After teaching journalism for 27 years, Carol Richtsmeier is retiring from the education factory, she writes on her Bellringers blog.

For years now in my teaching career, I’ve felt like Lucy Ricardo working on the candy assembly line, but without the benefit of eating all that chocolate.

. . . Like Lucy, I have found myself working at warp speed, expected to churn out cookie-cutter children all wrapped up and ready to go as “lifelong learners,” “productive citizens” or whatever other education buzzword is trending at the time. This, of course, must occur in a “stimulating and challenging environment” and be packaged in a neat little box lined with a “better future.”

The Widget Effect study predicts public education won’t improve until administrators and policymakers quit viewing teachers as widgets.

Just because school feels like a factory, that doesn’t mean I have to act like a widget.

So I’ve tried to work harder and smarter, and eventually, that’s meant I’ve also worked longer hours. I’ve tried to do more, achieve more and be more until I’ve begun to feel like I belong in that Army recruiting commercial.

I’ve attended seminars, taught workshops and learned new things to bring to my classroom. I’ve embraced the latest technology, joined committees, mentored others and blogged religiously about my trials, tribulations and successes.

. . . Every year, I’ve struggled to show that somehow my work matters in my classroom and my student publications.

 No interchangeable widget here. No sirree, Missy. Not me.

For 27 years, “I’ve had the privilege of engaging in the education of hundreds of children,” Richtsmeier writes. “Because of them, I’ve become a better, stronger person – one who cannot and will not be unceremoniously reduced to a widget.”

She plans to .  . . Well, you’ll have to read Bellringers to find out.

Richtsmeier is the author of How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned in Professional Development.

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  1. I sent this post to the teachers at my school today.