9/18/10

I'd like a fresh unjaded doctor please

I read somewhere that a school district (not far from DC) hires 'fresh unjaded' teachers. When I read this article I laughed out loud. 'UNJADED?, FRESH?'. I knew what these were code words meant but it did not surprise me one bit.

13 years ago, I too was a 'fresh, unjaded' teacher. I did not have the priority of a family. I worked until 7pm daily creating my 'model' classroom. And although I only got paid to work until 3pm, it felt wonderful to put in all that effort into making everything impeccable; it was my life. In addition, back when I was a fresh, unjaded teacher I also did not question policies, ask questions or dare shake the boat. I did not even know what the teacher union's role was despite the fact that I paid into it monthly.

Just to demonstrate how absurd this whole idea is let's apply this concept to any other profession for a minute. What is your hospital presented their surgeons as FRESH and unjaded? Now that does not give me much confidence. I'd take a chance on seasoned surgeon any day no matter how jaded they might be. Would you rather have a seasoned dentist or a fresh one? Would you rather have your c-section be performed by a fresh midwife or a seasoned one.

Only in teaching does the idea of a seasoned teacher presented as jaded and the idea of FRESH hailed as more important than experience. Anybody with an ounce of common sense will know that MOST seasoned teachers are not unjaded. Teachers that have been teachers for years have found a way to not allow the everyday troubles from affecting them in any way that depricates their quality or energy. Yes, there are some teachers who might not be as effective as others (as in every other profession), yet, 'jadedness' is not a common affliction of a seasoned educator.

But having a family has changed the way I see employment. As the popular phrase goes, I use to 'live to work', now 'I work to live.' I absolutely love my job and would not want to be doing anything else than teach art to young children. I dedicate 120% of me while at work. I do more than is humanly possibly within the 8 hours I am there. But beyond that, I do not feel my job deserves my entire life in order to do it right. Plus, I have two children whom we chose to have and vowed to actually raise ourselves. Which translates into dedicating a lot of hands-on time in building them as human beings; making them know they are worthy of our time.

So next time you hear a district or a local article tout "fresh, unjaded" teachers as the next best thing since sliced bread, raise an eyebrow or two. Ask yourself why only in the education field does experience count against you and in every other profession it's a positive attribute.

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