Last week The New York Times ran a very scary article about how many charter schools were specifically seeking not to have their teachers stay for the long term. I ran a couple of posts on it at my other blog (see An Eye-Opening Article On Charter School Teacher Turnover and Quote Of The Day: Creating Stability In Communities).
Sara Mosle has written a commentary in Slate about that same article that I thought made more sense to post about in this blog. It’s titled Parents Make Better Teachers.
Here’s an excerpt, which begins after she explains she spent three years with Teach For America and had left the classroom:
Nearly two decades later, I returned to the classroom, this time as a mother, and have become acutely aware of how being a parent has made me a better teacher. While I still have a reformer’s high expectations for my students, I am more flexible about discipline, in part because I’d never want my daughter to be so docile she wouldn’t rock the boat. Now when parents approach me with worries or high hopes for the future, I have greater respect for their commingled love and fears. I also have a far stronger sense than I did at 25 that children’s lives are not static but instead endlessly fluid. They flow in waves of achievements and setbacks, with their own peculiar weather systems and mysterious currents that can change from week to week and month to year and, in the storms of adolescence, from hour to minute.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say no nonparent can be a great teacher—several of my favorite high school teachers were childfree—I cannot imagine sending my daughter to a school where not a single grown-up in the building has any direct comprehension of the inner workings of adult family life. Schools need both youthful energy and seasoned wisdom to succeed over the long haul and on a broad scale.
By the way, you might also be interested in The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.