How Do You Deal with Public Opinion?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by svassillion, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Mar 11, 2018

    I have an excellent relationship with the parents in my class and this year they all seem to really understand the amount of time I dedicate to their children which feels good. I teach in MA which regularly ranks among the best states for k-12 education, in an urban school that ranks in the top 20 elementary schools in the state so I feel the children in my district have the opportunity for an excellent education that parents can really get behind and my class parents definitely do. However, I recently discovered a parent blog through facebook that seems to be dedicated to shaming public school teachers and putting charter schools on a pedestal. I get that other districts may not have the same success as mine so I can understand parent desires for an alternative to their district schools, but then I realized this blog was run by a parent living in my district. Her children don't attend my school but nonetheless she makes the public school system out to be failing students and adding to the achievement gap while focusing on making a comfy situation for teachers or union thugs.
    It bothers me for so many reasons. One being that our district offers choice with our K-8 schools instead of assigning a neighborhood school. She could have chosen my school, but instead picked a school that ranks lower (but has all the modern luxuries). The second thing that bothers me is that she seems to think public and charter school teachers are completely different people with different motives and morals even though we all got the same education and show the same dedication to our students. But because the charter schools don't have unions, their teachers are pure intentioned in her eyes (though the charters I'm familiar with mostly have teachers straight out of college with little experience who end up moving to a public school position in later years).
    At first I thought, okay she's just one of those people who think they know education better than educators. Brush it off. But I'm having a hard time doing that knowing she has quite a following so it's not just her. She gets mixed reviews on her posts but a lot of parents eat it up. So it begs me to wonder, if the education system in my area is so broken as this woman believes, what could we as educators do to possibly ever satisfy parents like her? My school has 98, 97 and 92% proficiency in ELA, math, and science.

    So after this long novel I'm wondering, how do you deal with public opinion of teachers by so many people who never seem to be satisfied? How do you stop it from bothering you?
     
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  3. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2018

    When parents aren't happy it does bother me. In Ontario, one of the parties just elected its new leader for the election in June (I am not trying to talk politics - just sharing what was said) and reading comments I come across things like: good to hear that the PCs are going to cut government employees. They could hire one person to do what 3 are paid to do. Teachers only work 4 hours a day and I'm tired of paying their salaries.

    Technically, teachers work 7 hours a day but I really don't know any teachers who only work 7 hours a day. It still bothers me.

    But how I handle it is:
    - I reflect on if there is any truth to what the parent is saying
    - I reflect on if there is any way I can use the information to be better
    - I let myself stew for a bit and then I try to let go of the parts that are beyond my control

    I don't think we can bring parents around by logic. I think some parents will be unhappy no matter what but many we just have to keep trying to build relationships with and do our best (realizing that they are doing what they think they need to do for their own child).
     
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  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 11, 2018

    Stop reading her blog. Period.
     
  5. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Mar 11, 2018

    Agreed and will do. It will be easy for me to avoid her blog. But what about when these opinions show up in other places such as during elections? What's the right balance of ignoring the haters and still being informed of education policy?
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 11, 2018

    If our school ever did something that made people happy, we would fall over dead.

    Whatever we do, it's the wrong thing. We have been the red-headed stepchild of the district forever. I believe that it has less to do with us than it does with the fact that we teach middle school, and that's a bad demographic. Puberty is not kind.
     
  7. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Mar 12, 2018

    We can never please everyone no matter how hard we try and what results we achieve with our students. But that’s not why we do what we do. So I guess we just do our best and hope that for every person who puts us down for whatever reason, there will be another person who can see the value of what we do.
     
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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Mar 12, 2018

    This has been an increasing phenomenon since I began teaching. Originally, propaganda favored schools that rig their population so that achievement test scores outweigh the public schools. Currently, I'm seeing propaganda swaying more towards homeschooling. Propaganda always seems to have two methods of backing up their message. 1. Phrasing similar to "as everyone knows...." 2. This particular incident just happened in this particular school, and this is representative of all schools; (I often question to accuracy of the individual incident, too, and several times I've researched local news sources to find the incident never happened as reported). The propaganda seems to always be under a general heading indicating some sort of educational crisis.
     
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  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Mar 13, 2018

    I sadly have known plenty of teachers who don't do 4 hours of actual work in a day unless you count reading Facebook and shopping on Amazon.
     

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