From the Outside Looking In

Yesterday at the SWP Fall Renewal Conference, Barry Lane  entertained us with song parodies about the cultural climate of the public school system. He’s a good writer and he knows teachers. It was nice to be able to laugh at the ridiculous turn that public schools have taken.

But as I looked at my fellow laughing colleagues, I felt scared.

This summer as I was a part of the Spartanburg Writing Project’s Summer Institute, we were encouraged to find our professional voice. As I found mine, I realized how much teachers have been silenced. I realized how scared teachers are. I realized how few teachers there were who wanted or willing to do anything about it.

I felt scared yesterday because these teachers and I were laughing about being not being treated as professionals. We were laughing at being silenced.

I don’t work at a school. I don’t work for a district. I’m an outsider in a lot of ways, but I know the pressures that you as teacher feel everyday because I’ve been there.

From the outside looking in, we shouldn’t be laughing. We should be outraged.