President Obama recalls favorite teacher to recruit new ones

As part of the TEACH initiative, President Obama has done a short video on his favorite teacher. The President and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan created TEACH to recruit young people to the field.

49 comments Add your comment

Young Teacher

March 23rd, 2011
7:21 pm

Too bad cuts take away those great teacher. Maybe I am bitter because of finding out today I am laid off for the third year in a row. I have been called the favorite teacher by many. It is sad and frustrating that any good, productive, and/or dedicated teacher gets cut because of the economy. Still hope others will get into it.

Dr. John Trotter

March 23rd, 2011
7:47 pm

I like that video. Short but inspiring.

madaboutmath

March 23rd, 2011
8:05 pm

Look around at what’s really happening to the teaching profession, young people. You would have to be idiots to go into teaching right now, and somehow I don’t think idiots are going to make good teachers.

Lee

March 23rd, 2011
8:24 pm

I wonder if this teacher is one of those “typical white people” that Obama refers to with derision?

Not Buying It

March 23rd, 2011
8:41 pm

No way I would want my child to become a teacher. Noble profession it once was but not today. Why would I want my child to teach and have no way to discipline a student if he/she gets unruly? Why would I want my child to be pressured to have no more than 10% of the student grades be F even if more earn the grade? Why would I want my child to be bullied by administrators with threats of PDPs if they don’t kowtow to the admin’s will even when it is incompetent? If my child were to become a teacher I would be proud but extremely fearful for my child’s future happiness.

catlady

March 23rd, 2011
8:50 pm

I’m thinking what the President remembers is far, far different from reality now. Teachers used to be esteemed; now they are looked upon as suckers, as the doormats of society. They are the magic answer to any question. How do we______? Get the teachers to do it. Why isn’t __________? Because the teachers are not doing their job.

Elitist Liberal

March 23rd, 2011
9:05 pm

How long before Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Bachmann, Boehner, et al. expose the communist subtext of that video?

Not now, and maybe not ever

March 23rd, 2011
10:35 pm

What bright kid with lots of options is going to choose to pursue a career where the general concensus is that everyone else is the expert, and you’re the moron? Or where the derision drips from blogs and the op-ed pages? Where the politicians choose to balance budgets on your back and figure it’s ok to ask you to do more with less…or how about where kids come from families that not only do not value education, but also look down on teachers? I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

I have no qualms about telling my children and my students not to be teachers – that the political climate is such that the job has too many negatives, and few positives. One’s love of children, passion for one’s subject, or desire to give back will not be enough to sustain most people in this environment.

It’s ok, though – most kids will easily tell you that they would never consider becoming a teacher because they wouldn’t want to deal with all those “bad kids.” Their words – not mine, yet, what telling words out of the mouths of babes, eh??

To those who want to see my comment as a whine – whatever. I’m out at the end of this year, and I’m not looking back. Ten years trying to make a difference – I’m going back to the “real world” where I had a full lunch hour and my colleagues were respectful. My county is losing an experienced science teacher with excellent evaluations. Don’t worry – I won’t let the door hit me on the way out – I’ll be running too dang fast.

Involved Parent

March 23rd, 2011
11:56 pm

Why are we trying to recruit teachers when there aren’t any available positions for them? The budget cuts have left it to where systems can’t even afford to keep the teachers they already have much less hire new ones.

Just Say No

March 24th, 2011
5:35 am

I am a teacher, however, I have told both of my teens that education is the one major I refuse to pay for when they go to college. It has become a thankless profession that is no longer respected by the public.

I am the Teacher

March 24th, 2011
5:54 am

I am still proud to be a teacher. The heavy burden of adversity is certainly a travesty in a noble profession. NCLB, AYP, GHSGT, etc., are way out of line and they make my job much harder. However, when I have a student does well who never thought he could or I get a phone call years later to tell me “thank you,” I smile through tears and look forward to another day and that next student I can help. I am the Teacher and proud of my title.

ScienceTeacher671

March 24th, 2011
6:12 am

I wonder what Mr. Obama’s 5th grade teacher thinks of RTTT and of Obama & Duncan’s other initiatives?

teacher&mom

March 24th, 2011
6:51 am

Teacher

March 24th, 2011
6:58 am

Teaching isn’t respected as a profession anymore and I wouldn’t encourage any student to subject themselves to the current constant disrespect of the job.

redweather

March 24th, 2011
7:07 am

As a teacher, though not at the high school level and thank goodness for that, I must agree with others here when they say that teaching is not a profession they recommend to their students. I still believe in the value of an education, just as I believe that we teachers can and do make a difference in the lives of many young people. But we seem to have lost the support of almost everyone, whether administrators, legislators, or the parents of the children we teach. And of course, in that kind of climate our impressionable students can’t help but follow suit.

Coastal Teacher

March 24th, 2011
7:19 am

No one supports teachers with unruly students, yet I am supposed to work miracles to “help” these students succeed. How about they get off of their sorry behinds and help themselves? How about their parents get off of their sorry behinds and be parents? How about the administrators get off of their sorry behinds, leave their offices, and be involved with what goes on in their own school? Just doesn’t seem like too much to ask. I had planned to teach a few more years, but I can’t continue under these circumstances. I am retiring at the end of the school year. Thank God neither of my children chose education as a career path.

Jordan Kohanim

March 24th, 2011
7:21 am

Think back to your favorite teacher–everyone has at least one.

I don’t think people who go into teaching right now are idiots. I think they are the most noble of martyrs. They are going into teaching not for respect, not for money (certainly), but only for the sheer love of teaching students. How poetic.

Here’s the real question and one I would pose to President Obama–once you have them, how do you support them? How do you KEEP them in the profession? When teachers are degraded, second-guessed, and data-death-marched to the edge of reason, is it any wonder so many quit after three to five years?

Communities lose out when teachers view this PROFESSION as nothing more than a transient job to hold them over until something more rewarding comes along. (By the way–this is not a knock on TFA. One of my best friends is a TFA graduate and is still teaching and is amazing).

Everyone in my family has been a teacher or involved in education, so perhaps I have a jaded view of teachers, but I know teachers that are legends. I know teachers whose mere name makes parents smile and kids jabber uncontrollably about “that crazy day when he…” Communities fight to get their kids in these teachers’ classes because they either had them or their reputation precedes them. When a teacher is invested in the long-term success of a community, everyone benefits–including the teacher.

However, if we keep treating our teachers as nothing more than data-collectors, accountants of test scores, or overpaid babysitters as opposed to professionals who want nothing more than a livable wage and a little respect, we will lose them to other professions.

That teacher that everyone remembers will be a thing of the past.

Dr NO...

March 24th, 2011
7:30 am

And yet a stupid move by a stupid man.

Dr NO...

March 24th, 2011
8:08 am

Is he gonna import kenyan teachers?

GNGS

March 24th, 2011
8:13 am

In a capitalistic society, trying to get brightest people to a profession without financial reward is an exercise in futility.

Meanwhile, we started another shooting war. How are we going to pay for this new war? No one (country or person) has unlimited resources. What is the most important and pressing need for our country? Action speaks louder about priority than inspiring speech.

GNGS

March 24th, 2011
8:17 am

@ Dr NO…

“And yet a stupid move by a stupid man.”

You must be really “smart” to call the President “a stupid man”. Care to share with us your credentials?

philosopher

March 24th, 2011
8:45 am

Maybe this blog should be changed to “Get Whined”. Teaching is tough, as are all professions… that’s a fact. Jobs are being lost…that’s reality. Nobody supports their employees and there is no more employer-employee loyalty…that’s the way it is now. But almost all my child’s teachers are incredibly enthusiastic, pleased, full of compliments about the kids they teach, and work well with the students’ parents. Somehow the best of the best come to grips with the issues, tackle the challenges, and become unforgettable…role models. It would be very refreshing to hear from teachers like that, but my guess is that they are too busy…

Pluto

March 24th, 2011
8:52 am

Credentials aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. Our country is being led by the nose by a bunch of ivy league elitists that have contributed next to nothing to society but “feel” that they have the answers to society’s woes. As a profession, teaching allows one to enter into an exchange of ideas with young folks and really serve as an agent of change in yours and their lives for the better. When I close the classroom door I am the boss. Some will think this is a naive view of wanting to change the world and the malcontents may respond that Hitler, Stalin and Mao also changed the world.

oldtimer

March 24th, 2011
8:56 am

For all the teachers being laid off in Ga there are other areas needing teachers. Some of the young ones could relocate for a few years. In other areas students behave better and the community supports their schools. Maybe the pay is not so good, but conditions are better.

teacher&mom

March 24th, 2011
9:06 am

@Jordan K: I think you would appreciate the ideas proposed by the folks at the Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. They have some great suggestions. Barnett Barry, founder and president of the center, has a great post today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/5-myths-about-teachers-that-are-distracting-policymakers/2011/03/24/ABNuyBMB_blog.html

Babysitters?

March 24th, 2011
9:07 am

Jordan, I wish I was an overpaid babysitter. We are way under paid for that job. Do the math. Always enjoy your comments.

teacher&mom

March 24th, 2011
9:08 am

ugh….”I think you “will” appreciate…not would appreciate….

Toto

March 24th, 2011
9:47 am

Clueless

March 24th, 2011
11:10 am

Wonder if teachers in high-SES schools that are making AYP easily have better morale than those in the poor schools that are struggling?

Tonya C.

March 24th, 2011
11:27 am

philosopher:

Wow. Instead of seeing what they are saying and why they are saying it, you call teachers ‘whiners’. And then you wonder why they come here to vent? For what is supposed to be a ‘profession’, there isn’t much professional left in it. My son’s teachers are happy and put their best face forward each and every day, but when I tell them my husband’s a teacher they let their guard down and much of what they say sounds just like what is written here.

Every day they grind it out FOR THE KIDS. Their pay sucks, their respect is dang near non-existent, and they don’t know which shoe will drop next. But they get in there and go full speed every day. GPS, RTI, NCLB, IEP, 504, CRCT, ITBS, Common Core Standards, etc. are just a few of the things that they deal with on top of everyday classroom management, student interaction, and administration. Then they still get to home and try to live their own lives.

My kids will NOT be encouraged to become teachers.

@ clueless

March 24th, 2011
11:33 am

a) in the next few years, no school will be making AYP “easily” and I think you’ll find there are more than a few high-SES schools in Atlanta who aren’t making AYP . . . by one or two kids, nonetheless.

b) morale? I still have to buy my own supplies, fight with overused copiers, fuller class sizes, higher expectations, and waking up every day to having my profession soundly bashed by people who have never stepped foot in a classroom, let alone taught for one day.

I honestly try, but I am exhausted. I was trying to figure out why I was so bummed these past few weeks – it’s not my students; I love them. It’s not the parents; most are supportive. It’s the pervasive negative attitude about the teaching profession that has me down. I just want a living wage, the ability to go home at night without having grading hanging over my head all.the.time. and a chance to be respected.

And I’m at one of those schools you wonder about.

madaboutmath

March 24th, 2011
11:34 am

@Clueless. I know that in Cobb, morale is low for teachers at all types of schools, especially after our school board completely disregarded not only our wishes, but the wishes of the general populace, and then at least one school board member made disparaging remarks about teachers. I’m seeing an interesting phenomenon in Cobb that I suspect could be a result of that. The high schools and middle schools, even in East Cobb, are having a hard time getting enough subs. Last Friday, the school I subbed at was short five subs. I wonder if discouragement from what happened with our board is resulting in more teacher absenteeism. Of course, it doesn’t help that subs are paid $69.00 a day in Cobb.

Dr. Proud Black Man

March 24th, 2011
12:02 pm

@ Dr. Nads

“Is he gonna import kenyan teachers?”

Couldn’t do any worse then the current bunch of “educators.”

Tonya C.

March 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

@Clueless

My son is in a GREAT cluster with active parents, a strong PTA, and easily meets AYP every year. The morale is still pretty low due to increased class sizes, furlough days, and wondering who will go where in the upcoming year.

Hey Teacher

March 24th, 2011
12:35 pm

Morale is low all over the state, even at the best schools. Many teachers have been told not to be out unless they are in the hospital, because there is no money for substitute teachers. I don’t think anyone realizes how ridiculous working conditions are getting in many schools. My school stopped supplying soap in the bathroom for students (and then complain when students get sick). I doubt that anyone in the private sector is supplying their own soap.

Dr NO...

March 24th, 2011
12:54 pm

“I know that in Cobb, morale is low for teachers at all types of schools”

Morale is low in all sectors. So what is your point. Having fun and having a job are two separate and distinct things. If one thinks they are gonna have fun while performing a job then one is quite misguided.

With regard to morale…affected personel can always quit and/or seek employment elsewhere.

redweather

March 24th, 2011
1:12 pm

Since when is morale synonymous with “having fun”?

GA Mom

March 24th, 2011
3:29 pm

Lee – maybe the “typically white people” Obama refers to is his mother, grandmother/grandfather, family the folks that raised him, etc. etc. Or maybe your reading the same newspaper that says he’s a Muslim; not that believing in one almightily god is a bad thing considering that Mohammad believed in Jesus too. I love how uninformed, uneducated people always seem to be the most vocal at making stupid comments. Get your facts straight or keep your comments to yourself.

Dr. Proud Black Man

March 24th, 2011
4:28 pm

@ GA Mom

Since when has the racist right ever cared about facts?

Young Teacher

March 24th, 2011
5:10 pm

@oldtimer: Where are the jobs? I am applying everywhere. I have had to lose my job three times so far because of budget cuts. I cannot afford these moves, but I cannot afford to not teach.

I love teaching. I have been teaching for almost five years. I do not want to work in another profession. I am getting sick of people saying that they would not want their kids go into the teaching profession. Maybe this is why people are dumping on the profession still. Instead of fighting against the crap, people say don’t get into it. Quit it. You are not helping any of us who are wholeheartedly in the profession and plan on staying with it.

Jordan Kohanim

March 24th, 2011
5:21 pm

Young teacher—

Don’t give up. Stay with it. Keep looking. Are you on the website for job postings? Check the GISA too.

madaboutmath

March 24th, 2011
6:24 pm

Jordan–I really appreciate your posts, even when you disagree with me about people going into teaching being idiots. Your characterization that they are actually the most noble of martyrs is probably true, but who wants their children or anyone they love to be a martyr? My label of idiot is mostly because of my frustration at myself for being an idiot by going into teaching right now. I’ve spent thousands of my families dollars getting an MAT, and the only job I can find is subbing for $69.00 a day. I think I would be a great teacher, but I wasn’t interested in being a martyr. Since I didn’t research before I jumped into it, I guess that makes me an idiot.

Jordan Kohanim

March 24th, 2011
6:39 pm

I don’t think you are an idiot, and if you are, I am too. You can research all day and night, but (as I’m sure you know) you can’t fight your heart .

I saw what my family went through because of the heart-wrenching job teaching is. I fought against it in college, but it is a calling.

You aren’t an idiot. You’re a good person trying to work in a very broken system. Give it time, madaboutmath. The pendulum will swing the other way. I try to stay optimistic and remember that EVERYONE is trying to make things better. I may disagree with their vilification of teachers, their blindness to anything but data, and their treatment of public education as a sound byte that doesn’t deserve any real funding, but they too are trying to fix a broken system.

People are inherently good. If you didn’t believe that, you wouldn’t want to be a teacher. ;-) Stay strong. I believe in people like you.

Tonya C.

March 24th, 2011
6:53 pm

Young Teacher:

My husband is a career-switcher who spent 40k getting his MAT. he has two years to get into administration or start looking into going back to his original career. I’m over it. I will continue to support and fight for education and teachers, but I don’t want my family or myself to be a part of the uphill battle. I can’t risk OUR future on that. I believe in the good of people, but I also know how herdish American citizens can be. i can’t wait on the masses to come to their common sense.

FYI…the only job my husband found is in an alternative school, where besides being a FT teacher he is also the unofficial school bodyguard. For 35k a year, that is not what he or I signed up for…

oldtimer

March 24th, 2011
7:24 pm

Check small towns in TN….

Just A Teacher

March 24th, 2011
7:48 pm

I don’t believe this video will change anyone’s mind about entering the profession. As long as the educational community continues to be the target of slanderous attacks in the media, highly motivated young people will stay away from the profession.

I agree that morale is low in the profession, and only teachers realize the negative impact that has in the classroom. Teaching is a unique profession because it is our attitude that can make or break another person’s career opportunities. But educational policy makers still insist on treating teachers as if they were factory workers. The system in which I teach recently spent millions on new technology while maintaining an across the board 3% cut in teachers’ salaries. I don’t think that makes any sense, but obviously their logic is that, given the newest equipment, any idiot could do our job. Any corporate manager knows that logic is fallacious. The people you hire are the most important factor determining the success or failure of a company (or a school). I maintain a simple truth which needs to be applied to education: if you want top tier talent, pay them what they can demand from someone else. Or more simply stated . . . you get what you pay for!

ah03422

March 25th, 2011
1:20 pm

We are losing young teachers year after year. Veteran teachers are staying around because retirement is in their near future. I feel that I had a great beginning to my teaching career, from undergraduate training into my first teaching experience. The difficulties come not from the job of teaching, but from the job of being a teacher that you are not trained for. How to deal with a chair being thrown at your head because they forgot to tell you that your new child was severely EBD? Am I whining when I tell you that on the first day of school a child bit me because he didn’t want to come to school? Am I whining when a student is dirty each day and nothing is being done to help her? Teaching is the easy job, understanding the needs of children is getting more difficult and the problems they bring to school at such a young age is sad. I think that is why we are losing more young teachers.

ScienceTeacher671

March 25th, 2011
9:42 pm

It’s not the teaching, even though it seems that students assume less and less responsibility for their own achievement. It’s all the paperwork. Document whether or not these students brought their daily progress reports to be signed. Document whether those students made and used vocabulary flashcards on their own time, or claim to have. Document whether the other students sat in the front, or came to tutoring, or got individual attention on any given day, etc., etc., etc.

Give the benchmark test (created by someone at the board office who isn’t certified to teach your subject or grade level) then analyze and graph the results. They mean little to nothing since the board office person included mostly standards you won’t teach until later in the year, but you’re required to do the analysis and report the results anyway. And by all means be sure that your standards and essential questions are posted and your word wall is up to date.

It’s not the teaching. It’s not the lack of bathroom breaks or the 20 minute lunch. It’s the lack of respect and the useless paperwork that are driving me over the edge.

Another view

March 29th, 2011
7:49 am

I advise all my students not to pursue a degree in education at my university and convince many to abandon the major even in my own department. The profession has no future in the next two decades and should be avoided.