If only I could just teach...

I've been getting very frustrated with other teachers this week. First, there are the teachers who give multiple choice quizzes and overhead notes daily and take only a small purse or even nothing at all home while I have three bags worth of grading. Then there is the teacher who tells me that students can't do this and they can't do that. Interesting, as mine are doing whatever it is...then they complain that her class doesn't have to. There's also the teacher who throws tennis balls during her inclusion classes and shouts over the din of noise coming from her classroom, disturbing all of us around her...but administration insists she "reaches students." In reality, she just runs to tell the principal whenever she's done something for a student. She talked for weeks about the dollar she gave to a student for lunch. Really, how many of us have done that and so much more for a student who's needed it?? We simply don't broadcast it throughout the school.

Anyways, what do these teachers have in common?? They give the rest of us a bad name, and it torks me!! I bust my butt only to hear from non-teachers how the education system is such a mess because teachers aren't professionals and don't know how to do their jobs...and blahblahblah. People lose respect for our profession because, quite frankly, there are teachers who aren't professionals and therefore don't deserve that professional respect. But what can we do about that?

Anthony Cody, a columnist in Teacher Magazine, proposed a hippocratic oath for teachers:

How many times have teachers contemplated the respect accorded doctors of medicine and ruefully shaken our collective heads, wishing we were given a fraction of that? One difference is that physicians traditionally swear on some form of the Hippocratic Oath, originally written in the 4th century B.C.

Teachers adhere to codes of ethics and performance administered by the states that license us, but as a profession, we lack an agreed-upon credo.

He suggests that by swearing to follow this oath, we will gain respect as a profession. I love what he has suggested. In fact, I printed out a copy of the oath and have it laminated and hung up next to my desk. Personally I want to be reminded of the things he includes on his list, and I want to try to follow them in my teaching career. Before I go on, I'll share several of my favorites:
• I will remember that there is art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the textbook reading or the multiple choice test.

• If it is given me to enhance a life through teaching, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to cast a shadow over a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.

• If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who seek my help.
In reality I should've just copied the entire list, as I really do feel strongly about each and every one. I feel that each one is valid and each helps to create a professional and conducive classroom envrionment; however, I don't know that this is the answer to creating better teachers. I don't think that having teachers swear to follow these standards will create better teachers or gain us respect as professionals. Those teachers who will follow the standards are already doing so without having to formally give an oath. And that respect we seek won't be given by uttering a few words at a graduation ceremony.

I think these problems, unprofessional teachers and no professional respect, are so intertwined that we have to resolve these issues together. Teachers want professional respect, but many don't behave as professionals...so, how do we get professional teachers? I'm really just asking this question because I'm so frustrated with my collegues at the moment. It's come to the point where I simply shut my door and do my job, as it makes me so angry to think about what they are/aren't doing.

But I hate that they're giving a bad name for the rest of us!! I know Dennis will probably have several answers to my questions of how to get professional teachers...and I hope he does. I have my own ideas, and I began to write them out here...but they're really just a repeat of several posts from Dennis. I know there were others; however, this is one I could find. I do agree with a lot of what he says, and possibly after I grade one of my three bags of essays, I'll share my thoughts.

But I really want to hear what everyone else thinks...how do we get professional teachers and the professional respect we deserve?

I've finally found an unsecured wireless network that I can "borrow" from my apartment, so I'm hoping to be able to post more often. It's just been difficult to find the time and place to blog without internet at home.