Letter: Morris Extends SB5 Conversation

After reading Sarah-Jane Lorenzo’s excellent article “SB5 Gone, Fears Remain” in the last issue, I wanted to extend my answer to Sarah’s last question, “Would you recommend education as a future career?” In the original interview and article I said, “No.”  I would like to give context to this response and an important addendum.

I love teaching.  I love this district, this school, my classes and the kids that I get to interact with everyday.  Becoming a teacher has been my goal since my own 10th grade year of high school.  My heroes are teachers. My friends are teachers.  I can’t think of a more rewarding career.  But, in the midst of my 15th year of teaching, I can’t imagine a more difficult profession to enter.   Teachers are increasingly vilified by the media, criticized as self-serving by politicians and undervalued by our society as a whole.  This fall we saw SB5 present the biggest threat to our ability to represent our students and our voices since these rights were first won in 1983. This threat is not going away in the foreseeable future.  In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better.   This was the context for my initial “No” when asked if I would recommend teaching as a future career.  However, I have an important addendum.

I would recommend teaching, but not with the same sweeping gesture I did a few years ago.  Previously I would have said that if you had a passion for your subject matter and a real drive to help kids learn that was reason enough to go into the profession.  Now I would say you must also have a political awareness and the willingness to be constantly vigilant and fight for what you believe.  Not everyone has, or wants to have, this awareness and drive.  If you feel you have it now, then I definitely would recommend teaching.  We certainly need more teachers who are willing to fight for their students and their voices.

John Morris

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