Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome To This Place

As a high school English teacher, I am often asked for my opinion or perspective - or in keeping with the theme of this blog - my "view" on a myriad of issues in contemporary culture. My friends, my family, and, most especially, my students will attest that I am never at a loss to oblige anyone this request. However, there may be something unique about a teacher's perspective. Other than parents, teachers are the first people we learn to look to for answers - for knowledge, for skills, for opinions, for advice, for education. Perhaps, it's that knowledge is our game. Teachers specialize in knowing the answers, as well as in assisting others in accessing them. It might also be that the position of teacher gives us access to a great cross-section of society. In other words, we see a lot.

Having never been anything but a teacher, I can't speak to how often an accountant or a lawyer or a businessperson or a laborer is asked for some insight into society. However, I would assert that it's not more often than most teachers are asked. When people first learn I am an English teacher, there is a often a bit of hesitancy, and then a flood of questions come. "Being a teacher," they say, "what do you think about ...?" It might be about parenting or politics, college or popular culture, economics or exercise. Of course, as an English teacher, I also regularly get the question about when to use "who" and "whom." The answer, by the way, is to use "who" when you can substitute the word "he" and use "whom" when you can substitute the word "him."

Most often the questions are related to education. However, because education and the education system is intrinsically linked to nearly every other aspect of our lives, there are a lot of questions. And, while there might not be as many answers, there are certainly plenty of opinions, plenty of perspectives, plenty of "views." That said, this site is designed to convey mine. Surely, there are people who will wonder why my classroom isn't a large enough forum for my two cents. That's a valid question. I don't, however, have a valid answer, other than to say, it's not.

Most often questions about education come from the public's distance from or lack of understanding of the complexities of the education system. Sean Hannity is one of these people, and he will be the subject of my next post.