Goodbye to education?

Strange…it took nearly thirty years as a television news cameraman to reach a point where I said goodbye.

And now it’s taken only eight years to reach that same stage as a teacher.

This time it’s different. As I approached fifty, I found myself teetering on the edge many days…confused and wondering if my life had any significance. I examined each story for meaning and wondered why the hell I even bothered some days. Was it really worth the effort to do yet another sidebar on a far distant story or try to conceal the hidden agenda of producers sucking up to programming.

Now at sixty I find myself overwhelmed by massive changes in education and wonder if I can honestly call myself a teacher if all I am doing is running crowd control in a classroom of fifty students. This becomes especially difficult with thirteen editing stations (not to mention the computers are more than five years old and faltering themselves) and 18 school cameras (adding on the five or six I personally bought so students can borrow cameras for homework). Oh – and the fire marshall has rated my room’s capacity at 57. Sweet, but I also need room for the tables, computers AND room to shoot a daily program.

I LOVE my students. I love even the sneaky little scofflaws who sneak out and try not to work…but especially those who pick up a camera and tremble with excitement. I love when students sneak out and seemingly disappear and return to surprise me with their enthusiasm, proud of their efforts.

But the push for standardized robotic performance – all students will be clones learning the same thing at the same time despite their individuality – frightens me. The unbelievable budget cuts looming everywhere. My job is safe but my sanity teeters.

And I can’t (as usual) choose who the bad guys are. My union and school board are at a standoff. One side stuck with preserving the educational system without the support needed to do it all and the other side trying to preserve both a quality system and jobs.

Another issue that keeps nudging me…I miss shooting. I miss producing meaningful stories on a regular basis. My job keeps getting in the way of my love of storytelling.

Sigh.

Just another column which may or may not have a conclusion and may or may not be picked up and continued later…

5 thoughts on “Goodbye to education?

  1. You had a big impact on me. As a former instructor myself, it does take alot out of you to keep people enthusiastic. There are always people who want to just slide by and get the easy A. Sometimes its more stress than it is worth, but its those few people you get that push you to improve yourself or change up the curriculum that made it fun for me.

  2. Thanks Griffin. There’s a lot more involved than I posted. The probable elimination of my broadcasting program just when it has started to get enough repeat students for an advanced only class. Where Mr. Thompson was extremely supportive of technology and video, my current principal is just as adamantly against the media and freedom of speech for students. While I will fight the good fight and enjoy sticking up for students, I can no longer do it if the playing field is not level. I LOVE teaching broadcasting – my fate, if I stay, is to teach only English as a McTeacher.

  3. As Alice said, “Curiouser and curiouser…”
    After being told my broadcasting classes were being considered for the chopping block, this week I learned there will be THREE sections next year each term. A full load – what I’ve always dreamed of. Now what? This is such a morale booster…now I have to reconsider everything…final decisions made in the next four weeks…

  4. Cyndy

    That will be a shame and a great loss to your faculty and the students who will never meet you.

    One can’t buy or sometimes comprehend the sort of career-length you’ve experienced. And increasingly in our Baudrillard – mass media times, experience and being able to navigate the cracks between what was and is now is hugely important. Students often forget that quite easily.

    Your teachings and insights have on occasions found their way into our class and benefited students too.

    Ten years seems like an eternity for teaching today, but hopefully you won’t give it up all together. Videojournalism needs more Cyndys.

    david
    (London)

    p.s Earlier this year I turned to the GY100. The iris settings are a bit annoying at the back end of the camera and finicky, and the shared functionality on the lens ring for focus and zoom irks me sometimes, but it’s an OK camera, which I have attached an adapter and prime lens.

  5. David – I will never give up videojournalism or teaching. Just need to move my skillset outside of the box. Again.

    There are younger and more energetic instructors (and I’m leaving all of my lesson plans to get whoever takes it over started) who can handle the classroom better than me. I found so much of my time was managing students and so little actually instructing…the occasional student who sparked and caught fire made it more than worthwhile.

    I plan to stay in touch with my classroom and perhaps steal some of the fired-up students for field trips worthy of their skills. A classroom cannot contain a raging fire.

    Re the GY100…I have its predecessor – the GY-DV300. It took me months of research but it met my basic criteria at the time for manual controls and XLR audio. The only fault I find with it is the short zoom (only 10x). If you’ve ever handled the Panasonic AG30, it has a much nicer heft…all metal and about the same access to controls, but mini-jack audio inputs. Beautiful/much nicer lens. The final choice will be made on compatibility with Final Cut…ease of import, etc.

    Thanks for the kind words…cyndy

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