The Business of Teaching

I’ve spent a great deal of time in schools and communicating with teachers lately. Port-to-Port Consulting supports four schools among our list of client organizations: Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, Galileo Charter School, Challenge Foundation Academy, and, most recently, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. In addition, my youngest son is a student at Herron High School where he is bouncing from trouble-maker to star student, which leads to lots of conversations there.

Today, I’m taking part in the second day of the 2008 Indiana Charter School Conference at the Indiana Convention Center where representatives of the 40 charter schools in Indiana have come together to share best practices. A large number of the attendees are teachers, which is a compliment to the folks who run charter schools.

It’s been a while since I had such intense exposure to our teaching professionals. I’ve found that my opinions are influenced more by the media and society than I like to admit. You rarely hear the media saying good things about teachers. Spending time with teachers in the five schools listed above, and with teachers from the other Indiana charter schools, my faith has been restored. These teachers are every bit as good at what they do as the teachers who taught me. And let me be clear, with the exceptions of my third grade teacher and  a particularly bad Social Studies teacher in high school, I had some of the best teachers one could hope to have. They have bigger problems than my teachers did. They have much less public support than my teachers did. They don’t hear anything good being said about them in the media.

Every teacher should get to spend two days sharing with other teachers. The vendors who hope to sell their wares to the charter schools will probably feel disappointed in the response they got to their booths. Instead, they should consider their sponsorship of  this event as one of the best things they can do to help our society get better.

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