So--let's say you're a teacher.
Not "just a teacher," but one of those special teachers we hear about in news and policy discussions-- the supposedly rare educator who has passionate disciplinary expertise, a toolbag full of teaching strategies and genuine caring for their students. You're in education because you want to make a difference, change the world, raise the bar. You actually love teaching, finding it endlessly variable and challenging. You plan to spend a long time in the classroom.
So you begin pursuing a graduate degree in education. You notice that getting a masters degree in education is scorned in policy world as having little impact on student learning. A few of your classes are tedious. But some of them are genuinely interesting and valuable, pushing you to think more deeply about the work you do and increasing your content knowledge. Even though pundits declare your advanced degree does not correlate with increased student achievement, you press on. You're enjoying the intellectual stimulation and--let's face it-- accruing credits is another way to increase your salary and you need the money.
You're fascinated by new instructional strategies and curriculum ideas. You're eager to learn. But your district--which just replaced all its computers in the past two years--has no money for professional development. So you burn two of your business days, pay your own registration fee and mileage, and travel with three colleagues to a conference across the state, where--being a teacher type--you attend every single session and collect tons of free stuff to take back to your classroom in a canvas bag (which you will later give to a student as a reward for reading 25 books). The four of you share the $200 hotel room, and split a pizza. The high life.
[readon2 url="http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2010/03/lets_say_youre_a_teacher.html"]Continue reading...[/readon2]