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Comment of the Week: Why Are Teachers Held to Higher Personal Standards?

By April 8, 2011

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In light of the recent news item describing a teacher who was fired for venting about her students on her personal Facebook page, commenter Elaine brings up a passionate point:

When does everybody else get held accountable??? How about parents actually parenting so we don't have to?  How about students actually achieving to the standard that is required to advance to the next grade?  How about politicians being held accountable for how our money is spent so that we are not in such a financial crisis?  How about EVERYBODY being held to a higher standard and not just teachers.

Do you believe there is a double standard for teachers?


April 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm
(1) Kim says:

I’m afraid I have to say that this post seems to define many of the teachers I know that want to throw blame on others. It seems very defeatist and often keeps them from growth as the mentality is…when all these things get better, then I can really be the teacher others expect me to be; but until then…it’s out of my control.

April 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm
(2) Chuck says:

Being held to a double standard was something I expected when I entered the profession. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I was being a role model to others, whether I liked it or not. I have some colleagues who live away from town to avoid potential conflict. I have chosen to live in town–I do not make choices that would reflect poorly on me or my profession.

That being said, everyone should be held more accountable than they are now. The current situation is an interesting mix of factors that create the scene of teachers being an easy scapegoat. We are the public face of an institution that has been neglected and abused. Therefore problems are because of us (in the over-simplified worldview of way too many of our fellow citizens).

We are an easy target, yes. Is there a double standard? Of course. Should we be? I leave that to you to decide. I’ve made my decision

April 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm
(3) Tracy says:

I have to agree with Chuck. Teachers are role models and should expect to be held to a higher standard. I have my own personal standard that I have set for myself, and that does not change because others do not hold themselves up to the same expectations. It is indeed frustrating, because teachers keep getting charged with more and more responsibility, while parents and society in general seem to have less and less. The disparity is part of the problems the schools in this country face, and no one other than educators seems to want to talk about it in a responsible and mature dialogue. Anyone who cannot accept that reality should perhaps think about another profession.

April 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm
(4) bernardina says:

Just about last my friends & I talked about this issue.But I’ll like to believe that apart from the famiily that a student comes from the teacher is the next person he or she comes in contact with.Most if not all of these student when they can’t get or face with problems at home turn to their teachers for help. So tell me why a teacher shouldn’t be held to higher persoal. Standards

April 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm
(5) Jeff says:

I agree that teachers should be held to a higher standard. There should not be an expectation that Facebook or any other social networking site is confidential. If you make a stupid comment, you need to be held accountable. However, I would like to know why teachers seem to be the only people responsible for changing the world. Teachers spend six to seven hours a day with the children, five days a week, nine months a year. The question then becomes who is holding the parents accountable? I know how to read when I started school. Many children now do not even know their letter naming or sounds. Teachers are responsible for teaching appropriate behavior, looking for signs of suicide, the symptoms of diabetes and their student’s food allergies. The responsibilities placed on educators continues to grow while parents are let off the hook. School districts are expected to teach more and more content and have 100% of their students pass proficiency exams, but the state and federal governments cry poor when it comes time to fund the necessary programs.
It is time to stop bashing the teachers and start questioning what the parents and politicians are doing or not doing to help the teachers.

April 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm
(6) susiequeue says:

My husband and I have both been involved in our sons’ education, from preschool on up. Education should be a partnership between teachers and parents. That being said, I expect the teachers my kids have to behave appropriately and be exemplary role models in their personal as well as professional lives, because I expect that from myself. As well, any adult who spends time with my children, like coaches and religious leaders, should model good citizenship and respect. Granted, teachers take the blunt of the “blame” going on but that should not mean that we should lower our standards. I think the writer is uber-sensitive and wants permission to use facebook, etc and otherwise let their hair down. Sorry, not on my watch!

April 13, 2011 at 3:51 am
(7) Patrick Groff says:

As a longtime teacher, and teacher educator, I am dismayed that certain kinds of teachers are regularly fired, while other ones almost never suffer that indignity. I refer, of course, to teachers who work with children from lower-income homes, as versus teachers who direct youngsters raised by upper-income parents. School officials practice this unfair system without any hint of remorse, or even any explanation as to why they do so. Totally ignored in this respect is the need to routinely assign teachers of each group above to each other’s schools. I am convinced that this simple act would demonstrate clearly how truly capable each group of these teachers actually are.

Dr. Patrick Groff, Professor of Education Emeritus, San Diego State University.

April 13, 2011 at 4:09 am
(8) Niranjan says:

The most effective way of teaching is by example. If teachers are not in a position to teach by example, then what they do is telling not teaching.

Whether we teach life sciences or literature, or whatever else, right living has a way creeping into discussions. If we cannot live by the precepts we teach, we are not teachers, but – dare I say it -preachers!

April 13, 2011 at 7:27 am
(9) TiJesu says:

Much is expected from teachers than are given to us. All the same, we must not disappoint the society by living & acting below the moral standard expected of us.

May 2, 2011 at 11:59 am
(10) Teresa-Anne says:

Teachers have the monumental tasks of meeting the needs, academic and social, in a heterogeneous classroom. Although we are under constant scrutiny, the fact remains that we accepted the responsibility to educate students through meaningful learning experiences. Learning experiences, more times than not, extend beyond the realm of the written curriculum.

Remember… “To whom much is given, much is required”. For this reason, we are also expected to model behavior and expectations, in addition to developing the well-planned lesson that meets the needs of the diverse learner. We are in a unique position to influence the daily lives of so many. Yes… there is a double standard. Yes… everyone including parents and politicians should be held accountable. Yes… teachers/educators [administrators], should expect to be held to higher standards given their role and the potential for influencing students’ decision that can be life altering. Be that as it may, that’s the reason many of us chose the profession in the first place!

Lower standards means… lower expectations. Lower expectations… means we accept mediocrity. If you can’t work up to the standards and lead by example, then the life of a teacher/educator is not the right vocation for you.

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