Most American students are ending another school year this week, and a fresh batch of young minds is just months away from college indoctrination…
When I started working on becoming a teacher, everyone encouraged me by saying that getting into education would be a cinch. I’m smart, dedicated, hard-working. Plus, I’m a guy, and schools like to hire all the men they can get.
It seemed like a lock.
But as I’ve struggled to get the jobs I want, I’ve realized that all those encouragers and well wishers were just dead wrong. There’s one very big reason that hard-working, well educated guys like myself will never be given a chance to teach many of your kids.
And the results – what many kids learned (or didn’t learn) this year – speak for themselves…
Don’t Know Much About History
It’s no secret that American public education is pretty inept. How inept is hard to grasp. Yes, there are plenty of great districts, teachers, and hard working, under-appreciated educators. I come from a family of educators, and I love the schools I have worked at.
But consider this:
In March, Newsweek reported that 38% of Americans would fail a basic citizenship test. That means these people can’t tell you what is the Constitution, or capitalism, or who Joe Biden is. Good going, America. Last month, it was reported that only 10% of eighth graders can tell you what the Bill of Rights is. I think if you don’t know what the Bill of Rights is, it shouldn’t apply to you, because you are probably less of an American “citizen,” and more of an American “chimpanzee.”
For many kids, Social Studies class has been as pointless as a Wes Anderson movie. The only branch of government they know is the one where they pick up their food stamps (15-20% of Americans are on them). And that, my friends, has everything to do with why a guy like me will never find a job at so many of your children’s schools.
My head is big, my brain is small, I go to school to play feetball.
My passion is teaching kids, especially Social Studies. I look at the sad state of education, and I want to do some little part to change those statistics.
What I wasn’t told about getting into education is that with a lot of schools, I’m wasting my time. Many schools couldn’t care less about hiring knowledgeable, passionate guys…
…They just want to know if I can teach kids to throw a football.
That’s the one qualification I lack. I’m not an amazing football coach. And there is an institutional sexism in education that a hard-working male teacher isn’t worth hiring unless he can coach kids to throw a football. They never put that in the job description. They just won’t call back. I was never called by the middle school that my sister-in-law teaches at…because the principal wanted a football coach…at a middle school.
That’s part of the reason why 90% of our kids don’t know anything. Your public schools don’t hire teachers. They hire coaches who know how to play sports, and whose teaching abilities often amount to pressing “play.” You can object all you want and tell me about how great your particular teacher / coaches were. I know they’re out there. But the results speak for themselves. Most male educators “teach” Social Studies (if not P.E.). Most male educators are actually coaches, and most Social Studies students don’t know jack squat.
Preparing for a Global Job Market
Our society is reaping what it sows.
We value professional athletes at millions of dollars. That absurd emphasis on sports carries right on down to schools. Schools will cut everything: arts, music, theater, even vocational school, before they cut athletics. Why? Because successful athletic teams make districts look good and bring in money. A high school football team (made up of about 1% of a typical a student body) gives everyone something to be placated by while the community turns to crap. Never mind my schoolmate whose family didn’t vote because, as she said, “That’s how the gov’ment finds you for jury duty.” We need football!
Oh, but I forget sometimes. This is the twenty-first century, the century of biotech, medicine, and information technology, and in this competitive, global job market, we have to make sure our students have all the necessary ball throwing skills they will need in their jobs as aerospace engineers…or trash collectors, whichever.
This isn’t the only cause of the problem in education, but it’s a big one. So tell us about the school in your town. Are they up to snuff, or would you homeschool or private school if you could? What’s one thing you’d change about our education system?