As the students enter the classroom in current society, most of them know in most classrooms the teacher’s role is to prepare them so that they can pass the standardized tests. They also know that the teacher is not in complete control of the classroom like he or she was thirty-five years ago. Teachers thirty-five years ago had a far different role in the classroom than teachers today. Thirty-five years ago the teacher was in complete charge of the classroom, including academics and discipline. Teachers were also held to higher standards than teachers of today. It was not uncommon for a teacher to be fired over a moral infraction. The contrast is great between the role of the teacher thirty-five years ago and the teacher’s role in today’s society.
In the past, administrators had confidence in their teachers and left them in complete charge of their classroom. They did not feel the need to control the classroom or the curriculum that was taught. Administrator’s only hired teachers who could educate the students and did not tolerate any less. Therefore they were confident the student’s educational needs were being met. The teachers were highly respected individuals who had to undergo a lot of training to be a teacher. There were guidelines to be met and curriculum to be followed, but the teacher was the one who planned the lessons for students. As long as the student’s academic needs were met and they were performing at grade level, teachers were left alone to teach. They were monitored from time to time to make sure that they were doing their job. The principal would pop into the classroom unannounced to observe the teacher in action so that he knew the teacher was doing his or her job.
In today’s schools the curriculum is planned by the administration and the teacher must follow the curriculum that administrators, most of whom have never been in a classroom, choose for them to use. Most of the curriculum that is used is chosen because it will prepare the students for standardized tests, not because of its educational properties. This curriculum is sometimes very difficult to follow and teachers spend half of the school year just learning how to use it. They are absent from their classroom much of the time to go to training so that they can learn the new curriculum leaving a substitute, who does not know the curriculum, in charge of the classroom to more or less just babysit. The teachers role in the classroom is no longer to educate students about the basic skills it takes to function in the adult world they will be entering, the teacher is there to make sure the students pass the standardized test so that the school looks good. The way the teachers are monitored is different too, instead of pop observations, the principal plans observation days, so the teacher knows when he or she is going to be observed and can prepare for this observation.
Teachers thirty-five years ago were allowed to discipline the students and did not have to put up with disrespect in the classroom. Teachers were there to educate students about the basic skills they need to function in the real world, not there to waste their day and the other student’s day, disciplining students who did not want to learn. It was not up to the teacher to be the psychologist and try to figure out why little Johnny was misbehaving. It was the teachers job to teach Johnny. If he did not want to learn and wanted to disrupt the classroom instead, she did not have to put up with his disruptions. In today’s schools the teacher sometimes spend the day trying to make students behave, which takes way from those who are there to learn. The teacher can send the student to the office, but always gets the disruptive student back. This takes away from the class as a whole and wears a teacher out.
Thirty-five years ago a teacher was held to higher moral standards than others in society. Students model after teachers so the teacher had to be a good role model. A teacher could not moonlight in a controversial profession such as a stripper. That was not acceptable. A teacher could not be seen drunk at the bar on weekends. This behavior is not something that most parents want their children to model after. A female teacher would lose her job for getting pregnant out of wedlock. A male and female teacher would lose their jobs for dating each other. Teachers could not have affairs and be allowed to teach. The teacher was there to teach, and had to be above reproach morally because student’s model after their teacher and the teacher had to be a good role model
Sadly teachers of today are not held to high standards. It does not matter what a teacher does outside of the school, the teacher can be seen at the bar drunk every night and still teach. This sends the message to students that it is ok to drink every night. A teacher does not have to be highly moral. A teacher can have an affair and still be a teacher. The affair can even be within the school where he or she teaches. It does not matter what the teacher does outside of the school. Being a positive role model does not seem to matter anymore.
The role of the teacher has changed dramatically from thirty five years ago. The teacher used to be someone who was highly respected above most other people in society. The teacher deserved that respect because of his or her educational skills and exemplary moral behavior. The teacher’s role was to produce students who left school with the knowledge they needed to function effectively when they entered the adult world. In today’s society the teacher’s role is to produce students who are highly effective test takers. If a teacher succeeds at this then he or she will be highly respected and honored by those in administration.