I read a post from an elementary school teacher today, reflecting on an earlier time when the nation was not as litigious and teachers could teach as they thought they should, not regulated by the demands of a common curriculum that turns out a standardized product. I can appreciate his sentiment, but he and I seem to be in a distinct minority, where so many other variables are at work that his simple precept is not longer possible.
On the one hand we have an entire educational system questioning why our students do so poorly in the math and sciences when benchmarked against almost everyone else in the world. On the other, we have our nation challenging whatever theologies and beliefs we once held as a unifying core. Caught squarely in the middle are the teachers who serve as the lamps enlightening the young minds they are given.
Add to this the questions of teacher pay versus worth, safeguards for child protection, challenges from parents, expectations of the administration, federal or state standards and compensation, and the breakdown of a common set of society standards; it is unimaginable how anyone can teach for a career.
I wonder, would we be better if we returned to a concept of one-room schools where a single teacher taught everyone from kindergarten to sixth grade? Where older students helped the younger students and the teacher expected children to learn to be a society, not just learn the words in a book.