Last In, First Out
On the first day I taught, my father said, “Be a good teacher. There’s nothing more important.”
I’ve never forgotten that. How can it be that so many politicians, so many people, have forgotten how important our profession is? I wonder whether they ever remember teachers who changed their lives.
I began to teach in Queens, in New York City. I had attended kinder-garten in the same school, P.S. 136. My teacher was still there, a master teacher. I loved my first class, and like all first year teachers, my enthusiasm was boundless. But how many mistakes I made! And how grateful I was for the advice I received from some of the more experienced teachers, advice I remembered through the years; advice, years later, I could give to new teachers.
I’m talking about last in, first out, of course. It’s a cause for anger, for sadness for teachers who have worked so hard for so many years. I was gratified when Jim waved a piece from the newspaper in front of me on Sunday. A writer named David Barkin wrote: “Why is teaching the only profession in which the more experience you have, the worse you supposedly are? Why would anyone become a teacher in the future knowing that the reward for hard work and dedication is to be fired once you’ve become a master of your trade?”
Well said. How frightening to think about it.