(GIGI PAGEL / EYE OF THE TIGER)
(GIGI PAGEL / EYE OF THE TIGER)

Broken system, broken roles, broken people

May 27, 2022

The system is broken, plagued with fatigue on every end. 

Students are always the victim and so they act like it – in the process losing any shred of grit or accountability. Teachers are always the villain – being treated more like a scapegoat for every other group’s problems. And administration seemingly does nothing to fix these problems, rather bending to the whims of parents.

STUDENTS:

Students are currently treated as though they can do nothing wrong. They are, essentially, victimized even if they are at fault. 

Students use every opportunity they can to play this card. No matter what, they are the victim because it is simply easier than taking responsibility. While this is nothing new to the education system or to the world, it has been exacerbated in recent years due to events such as COVID and the rise of restorative practices. 

More recently, COVID created a space where students could not be held accountable for anything and where they were allowed to live in a constant state of apathy. 

Not only was this feeling allowed to fester, but it was reinforced in large part by the solitude and indifference that every other person felt at the time. 

However, while the argument that I have just presented is certainly true, it is far from credible for most, especially now, months later, where granted, things aren’t “back to normal” but they are certainly nowhere near as bad as they were. 

The argument of grown apathy only still exists because we continue to reinforce it. 

Students since COVID have continued to preach the effects of apathy. However, this argument is simply used as an end-all be-all with nothing being done about it. 

Many students are not apathetic or, as many say in class, “tired” – they are lazy. 

They say they are apathetic, they say they are tired, they say they don’t care because they are allowed to.

Students are allowed to be lazy so they are lazy. 

This same sentiment hasn’t been helped in past years by restorative practices, reinforcing this lack of accountability. Giving students the mindset that they are the victim no matter what they do. 

They simply are told to go up to the Wellness Center to take a break. Or to just not come to school to take a day off. But this luxury is afforded to those who are set to take advantage of it. 

To be clear, this does not apply to every student, nor does it apply to a majority, or even half. Still, it applies to enough that it makes a difference. 

Students in schools today are given the luxury of choice. Nevertheless, they choose to go on a path so easy every time that they have lost all grit, instead replacing it with laziness. 

TEACHERS:

Teachers have had to take the brunt of student sentiments discussed earlier – dealing with students, day in and day out, who do not care. And unfortunately, teachers are powerless to do anything but hope that students engage.

Teachers have experienced a thankless job for years now. Having powers shifted from roles they should not have had to take on. 

They have always been the faces of the classroom, but they have become the authority on campus, the scapegoats for parents who don’t understand the world of education, the judges, jurors, and executioners of everything campus-wide. 

They have been given an impossible amount of responsibility in a very, very short period of time.

Much of which has been antagonized by the very powers that gave them these responsibilities. Those powers being administration, the district office and, most importantly, the parents. 

Yet even with the amount of on paper responsibility that teachers have they have little to no power to back it up and support their ability to maintain what seems like an Altas-like task. 

This amount of responsibility has caused many to question and even leave the profession altogether. Lamenting a lack of rewarding or fulfilling day to day work. Which has led many individuals to begin questioning “why even become a teacher.”

And while I wish there was a good answer – an uplifting message, there simply is not. There is no message that I can give or that I believe can be given without sounding like a poetic rendition of “it’s about the kids” or “it’s about the future generations.” And while I do believe that is the case, the so-called “future generation” is in a sorry state. 

There is no clear cut solution, no one size fits all… something has to change.”

This is all without mentioning the fact that teachers have had little input on the direction they have been pulled, dragged and thrown into. Teachers, since the beginning, have been told they had to do x, y and z. Regardless of previously established precedence, regardless of their tools, regardless of contract.

And you know what teachers did? They did x, y and z. With some working well outside of contract hours to make their classes operational. And while a common argument that many vocalize is that “they don’t have to do that” the simple truth is that yes, yes they do have to because without that time classrooms, schools, the RJUHSD would not function. 

Being a teacher right now is a job that I admire but one that I do not envy. It’s a job that comes with little praise and no reward in these past years. 

All of this is not to say that teachers have done nothing wrong, but considering how much they have been told they had to do, the faults of some teachers seem like a dot of ink in the grander picture.

Teachers have become the main line of defense for every issue that has faced RJUHSD in the last few years and little to nothing has been done to help, instead what should be help is turned into degradation coming from parents, admin and most heartbreaking students. 

ADMINISTRATION:

Administration is a large part of the issue, as much of their responsibility was shed onto teachers. However, much of their attribution to the issue is that they don’t do anything to help teachers, to help students, to punish, or to praise. They are simply just there.

This is in part due to some of the current administration either overstepping their boundaries and disrespecting teachers in both public and private settings as well as other admin who many can’t seem to get a hold of. 

Admin is not completely to blame; however, most of the time their hands are tied with the current political sphere in administration being volatile. Not to mention the current state of the parents’ reign over the district.

Admin is not tenure meaning they can be let go or sent back into the classroom for more or less any reason under the sun. And while this is unlikely it is a constant fear especially in this day and age. 

This is likely the reason that for most admin keeping their hands off most campus issues – they are simply more vulnerable than the likes of a teacher with tenure who would have to do something severe to ever see a letter in their box. 

However, the same cannot be said for admin who currently have their hands in everything. And while I can commend them for trying to make a positive impact on the RHS community, it seems as though they’re focused in the direction of making a name for themselves rather than helping make the jobs of teachers and the lives of students easier. 

Admin is one of the key components in any school, but in past years it seems as though the shedding of responsibility onto teachers and misguided initiatives have broken this component. 

There is not a clear-cut solution, no one size fits all, but with many teachers leaving the profession and the growing number of students getting away with simply doing nothing because they feel like doing nothing, something has to change.

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