I have taught through 3 decades. Times HAVE changed, children and their parents HAVE changed, the technical world has changed...but the most profound change I see in the world of education is the expectation level...not what is expected of the students, but what is demanded of teachers. Before your blood pressure rises, hear me out.
Because of monetary conditions, marriage breakups and a tendency to "keep up with the Joneses" attitude, more and more children come from homes where the mother either has to work or has chosen to work outside the home, in addition to her husband or by her lonesome. As parents have less time to actually parent, they turn to the teacher to pick up the slack. Whether you agree with my premise is not the question, if you are involved with education, you know my statement is true.
Teachers owe their students much...a good teacher should be properly prepared for every class, they should set a sterling example for their students, they should treat each child with respect and kindness, they should know their subject matter and continually try to improve both their skills and their level of knowledge...HOWEVER...no matter how much a teacher owes a student, that student owes himself even more....Hear me out. The old wise sage once said, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." This still holds true even in today's world. No matter how excellent a teacher is...if a student isn't encouraged to value education, to respect others, to do the very best they can possibly do EVERY day... no amount of superior teaching will solve that disengaged student's problem.
You can try every new idea that comes down the pike, but unless a child feels that there is a value to becoming knowledgeable about the world and his potential vocation, there is just so much a teacher can actually do. Grumble if you like, but that is the unvarnished truth.
Today, teachers are a maligned group. In some cases they have earned that, but the fact of the matter is that teaching isn't like it was 30 years ago, for that matter it isn't what it was 10 years ago. Why? The answer is quite simple, in the end, it is up to the individual student to absorb the education that is spread before him...no matter what type learner he is. A student owes himself much much more than the teacher owes him.
Before you jump on the "teachers are horrible" bandwagon, you might ask yourself...is my child (or am I) actually taking full advantage of what is being so freely given. Despite what you've heard, most teachers do not get into the profession because they dislike children, want boatloads of money and love all that vacation time! Most go into teaching because they genuinely desire to make a difference in young people's lives.
"Thank you" to every single teacher I ever had...there is not ONE teacher among them that didn't impact my life in some way...
Now please go say "thank you" to a teacher today,