January 01, 2006

Teacher's Dream or Teacher's Nightmare?

Homeschooling is a teacher's nightmare. . . .

  • The pay is even worse than usual.

  • Regardless of their specializations, faculty are required to teach every subject, every day.

  • Every year requires a new prep. Faculty are prohibited from teaching the same grade twice.

  • Faculty are expected to provide the entire budget—for equipment, resources, help from specialists, extracurriculars, everything—out of their own personal finances.

  • The students see the faculty as parents first and teachers second: there is no “professional distance.”

  • There are no free periods; no solitude during lunch or recess.

  • Opportunities for professional development are underfunded.

  • Instructors cannot count on NEA support. Sometimes the NEA actively opposes them.

  • September doesn't bring a new crop of students. Teachers don't get to start fresh or meet new faces.

  • The retirement plan stinks. So does the medical. And the insurance.

  • Little peer support is available. Faculty don't share lunch in the lounge.

  • Instructors don't ever teach the same topic twice. They have no opportunity to rework or improve a lesson during the next class or the following school year.

  • There is no janitorial staff. Teachers are responsible for cleaning their rooms.

  • The institution doesn't offer any on-the-job training or refresher courses. Keeping up with the latest educational thinking is left to the faculty.

  • The school day never ends.

Homeschooling is a teacher's dream. . . .

  • The class sizes are small.

  • All parents are fully committed to their children's education.

  • Instructors control their own curricula.

  • Classrooms have windows. The thermostats work.

  • None of the students come from dysfunctional homes.

  • Ample opportunities exist to bond with students outside of the classroom setting.

  • No union membership is required.

  • There are no faculty meetings.

  • Teachers can hug the students without being charged with sexual harassment.

  • The institution is always open to new ideas, methods, and subjects.

  • Students don't disappear into the void every June, never to be heard from again.

  • The work environment is warm, inviting, and free of cockroaches. There is adequate faculty parking.

  • Coordinating cross-disciplinary lessons is a breeze. (The history teacher, for example, is always willing to offer lessons on the Civil War while the English teacher is working on The Red Badge of Courage.)

  • Instructors don't have to “teach to the test.”

  • Parents invariably support faculty decisions.

  • Faculty can choose their own textbooks and instructional materials.

  • No overpaid consultants sell the school on “systems,” “methodologies,” or other easy answers.

  • Teachers do not hear from lawyers if they give unsatisfactory grades or discuss religious beliefs in the classroom.

  • The schedule is flexible.

  • The cafeteria is excellent, though self-serve.

  • The administration doesn't dictate an instructor's pedagogical methods.

  • Teachers see the long-term fruits of their work.

  • The school doesn't even have a mission statement, but education is, truly, its number one concern.

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