Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.
I grew up a long time ago in New York City, in an era when seemingly everyone was poor, classrooms were always crowded, and teachers had no fancy technology to keep students entertained. Yet the responsibility was on me, the student, to arrive on time, behave appropriately, pay attention to the teacher, do my homework and study for tests. If I did poorly or failed an exam, it was my fault, not the teacher’s.
When did all this change?
Children learn from Day One what they can get away with, and what they cannot. We all did. By blaming teachers — as is increasingly the fashion lately — how do we expect students to learn what they are responsible for?
As someone who once was a teacher’s aide, I believe teachers are being held accountable for a system they cannot control. Parents, administrators and politicians are deciding the curriculum goals and discipline standards, and then teachers somehow have to make it all work, regardless of whether it makes sense. We expect teachers to be scholars, babysitters, police officers and bookkeepers — all while being inspirational and exciting.
At the moment, we have plenty of teachers, because opportunities are few, and they need to put food on the table. But as the economy gradually recovers, we will see more and more teachers leaving the profession for better jobs — and I need hardly add — better money.