I knew I was going to hate this piece as soon as I read the first sentence.
In their training, teachers are taught to control the classroom.
This piece appeared on NBCThink, a kind generally guest op-ed page the website runs. It was written by Peshe Kuriloff, who is a retired professor of education who is now a self-employed consultant. She's got a BA and an M.Ed from Harvard and a PhD from Bryn Mawr. And somebody at NBC (probably) gave this crazy-pants piece the title "A Covid school lesson: Teachers don't have the power they think they do."
I was educated a billion years ago, and I've had numerous student teachers in my classroom throughout my career, and I have no idea what the heck she's talking about. I have never encountered an education professor who asserted that total control of the classroom (which is an odd turn of phrase because, after all, controlling a room is easy enough but then there are all these students in it) is the goal or, as she says, the measure of teacher success. Who teaches that? Did she teach that to her future teachers? (Survey says no)In reality, however, the idea that teachers hold power over students and can bend them to their will is a misunderstanding of the nature of power in schools, as well as teaching and learning.
Who has that idea? Yes, the anti-indoctrination crowd thinks teachers can bend minds to their will, but that's just one more sign that they don't know what the heck they're talking about.
There were certainly total control teachers aplenty back many decades ago. But now is not then. I've written about schools that throw weight into asserting their authority, but that pretty much never works. Sure, there are pre-teachers who vastly over-estimate their power as a teacher. If they're at all smart, it takes them about a week to figure out that's not happening. And there are certainly control freaks who make it into the classroom, but they burn out rapidly.
There are some good points in Kuriloff's piece:The testimony of teachers who have been asked about pandemic learning demonstrates that surviving remote education required unprecedented collaboration, solid relationships between teachers and learners and students stepping up as problem-solvers. Teachers primed to seek those outcomes felt much more successful than those who relied on traditional assumptions about power and control.