Divide and conquer?

When I hear people pit new teachers against experienced ones it makes me crazy.

I cringe every time I hear that catch-all “burnt out” attached to experienced practitioners.  Yes, I’m sure you can find teachers who are marking time until they can get to the retirement board, but that’s the exception, not the rule. And yes, new teachers bring a fresh viewpoint to education. Don’t we have room for both?

If you believe the half-truths of newspaper editors, you’d think a person like me – a teacher who has dedicated the last 25 years to elementary education – is just an ass in a chair taking up space and keeping a newly licensed teacher from solving all the problems of public education.

What education needs are inquiring professionals regardless of the number of years spent in a classroom. Teachers who are experienced, but willing to research, consult, and learn from colleagues. Teachers who may have just entered a classroom for the first time, who reflect on what worked and what didn’t and are unafraid to ask for help.

What is the purpose behind the continual barrage from those who continually pit experienced (i.e. tenured) vs. new teacher? Is it economic? Is it ignorant? Is it some disgruntled adult now reliving a memory?

Whatever it is, it is divisive. What teachers need is time and opportunity to share, to collaborate. And a bit of respect for the important work that needs to be done regardless of how long a person has practiced it.

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