Teachers' mantle of martyrdom still rests on many shoulders

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Over four years ago, having just left 13 years of teaching for work with NCTQ, I wrote an editorial for our monthly newsletter with this warning to non-teachers: "never question the martyrdom of teachers."  I explained how the unrealistic demands of the profession had made us a prickly bunch.  For the sake of the profession, however, teachers themselves must question the martyr construct.  In this myth, we as teachers could meet the wildly unrealistic demands imposed on our classrooms if only we had (pick one or more) smaller classes, more autonomy, better parental support, etc. Unfortunately, the myth precludes us from venturing into the pragmatic middle ground of some reform debates.

With teachers headed back to their classrooms amidst the din of reform conversations they often feel removed from, a reprise of the editorial seemed right.