Saturday, July 28, 2012

Selling Public Education Feels Like Selling Out

Gen. George C. Marshall once said, "There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit." Purportedly, this quote was one of Ronald Reagan’s favorites and was etched on a plaque that sat on the late president’s Oval Office desk.

A plaque with this noble quote would be equally appropriate sitting on a teacher’s desk. Most educators realize from our own schooling that education is normally a no credit profession and rarely a deferred credit occupation. Most students do not mature enough to realize the amount of good teachers do until they have already outgrown schools. A supermajority of my colleagues and I do not care if we never get credit for the amount of good we do for our students. We teach because we recognize--even without the surveys and the quantified data--the limitlessness of learning. The lack of recognition is simply the nature of the teaching profession.

However, in this age of extraordinary advertising, it may be time for educators to ignore “the better angels of our nature” (like many do in times of crisis) and consider buying into the often insincere business of self-promotion.