Guest column: Teachers are not the enemy

Ryan Kreaps

I will be the first person to tell you I have had my fair share of bad teachers. Some were detrimental to my learning. Although I’ve had a decent amount of bad teachers, I have also had many good and even greater ones. 

They are not the problem when it comes to our schools and education system.

Teachers have high standards put on them, receive massive criticism and very little support. Teachers should have high standards; their job is important. They are teaching children; the future of this country. Due to these high standards, they receive criticism as well. The types of criticism vary drastically. Sometimes teachers are criticized for making too much money. They are also criticized for lecturing too much, or having too much discussion and openness in the classroom to where students don’t learn the required material. Teachers are also criticized for focusing too much on testing, but then also criticized for not improving their students test scores. It seems, to me, teachers can’t win.

The key point here is teachers cannot live up to the high standards and meet the demands they are given with the little support we as a society give them. There is a lack of funding for education, which leads to overcrowded classrooms, which also hurts learning. That teachers make too much is a huge myth, some barely making a living wage. This puts an even greater amount of stress on the teacher and makes their job even more difficult. 

There is also an immense amount of regulation limiting teachers’ freedom to teach creatively and instead forcing them to meet a state mandated test or workbook.

None of these problems in education are the teacher’s fault. Yes, there are ways to work around the system, and teachers still have a responsibility to do that. Overall, we need systematic and institutional change. If we really want to fix our education system, we need to put in the time, money and resources into making it better. We need to change the classroom environment so it fosters creativity and learning, allows us to make mistakes and provides a wide range of grading to fit each and every student’s strength. And finally, we need parent and community involvement to provide strong after-school programs and active parent participation in facilitating learning.

Contact Ryan Kreaps at [email protected].