The Not-So-Long-Awaited Part 3

Here are two last thoughts on the status of teachers.  Neither one of these articles addresses homeschooling, but I think issues surrounding homeschooling are relevant.

This article says that teacher bashing is a form of misogyny:

http://www.alternet.org/education/156436/the_new_misogyny:_what_it_means_for_teachers_and_classrooms?page=entire

It’s interested that nearly all homeschooling parents are mothers (of course many dads play a tangential role, but the main force is almost always mom, including in my uber-feminist household).  This idea that teaching goes along with housewifery, or perhaps in more liberal circles, with a jobette (selling Mary Kay…), further erodes the status of teachers.  While politicians love to say that motherhood is the most important job in the world, it requires no qualifications other than a functioning reproductive system (and some live sperm)*.  And the main qualification for being a mother whose primary occupation is homeschooling is finding a source of financial support, either by being independently wealthy or by being married to someone who is willing to financially support the household.  There is so much misogyny centered around mothers and the care work they do—when we say that anyone who can be a mother can be a teacher, I think we wind up giving teachers the status of unpaid caregivers.  One might say that the solution is to elevate motherhood and other care work.  Let me tell you, in an individualistic, capitalist society, that will never happen until someone starts paying mothers some big bucks.

This next piece is on the dangers of teacher bashing:

What’s at stake is more basic: Whether the right to a free public education for all children will survive as a fundamental democratic promise in our society, and whether the schools and districts needed to provide it are going to survive as public institutions.

Read the whole thing here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/teachers/why-teacher-bashing-is-dangero.html

Again, many people homeschool because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that they can teach their children better than people who are actually trained as teachers.  In some cases this is surely true, but it doesn’t do much to attract better qualified people to the teaching profession.  We homeschoolers might not care about that because we’ve pulled our children out of the system where most children get their education.  

Except, of course, we have to live in a society with all of those children for the rest of our lives.

*Mothers through adoption actually do have to have further qualifications, as they are generally investigated up, down, and sideways before being trusted with a child.