Monday, June 5, 2017

Commencement speaker warns graduates: ‘You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession’ - The Washington Post

Commencement speaker warns graduates: ‘You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession’ - The Washington Post:

Commencement speaker warns graduates: ‘You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession’ 

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Commencement speeches are, by and large, moments when a speaker tries to “uplift” graduating students with hopeful expectation for the future. By his own admission, speaker Elias Vlanton did something a bit different Friday, when he delivered the address to graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Vlanton, who taught social studies in Prince George’s County Public Schools for 16 years, talked not just about the joys of teaching, but he also presented the unvarnished truth about the hardships educators must confront. Here’s a sample:
Future teachers: You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession — condescended to by many and ignored by the rest. You’ll get tired of hearing, at your neighborhood barbecues or cocktail parties, that you are “only” a teacher, and you’ll be lectured by complete strangers, with no training in education, on how they could teach better than you. Your students’ parents might be completely disengaged from their children’s lives and of no help in your mission or, possibly worse, over-engaged, telling you how their little Juan is unique and must be treated with special care — implying all your other students are interchangeable. While lecturing you on the importance of treating students with sensitivity and respect, the school’s administration might treat you with neither.
Vlanton, in fact, gave himself an “F” in the uplifting department. Read his speech and see what you think.
Vlanton received an honorary doctorate of letters from St. Mary’s College in 2009 for his work at Bladensburg High School in helping low-income students attend college by mentoring them. Many of the students attended St. Mary’s as the first in their families to go to college, and those students graduated at higher rates than the St. Mary’s average, he said.
He is also a freelance journalist, and in addition to articles on education, he wrote a study titled, “Who Killed George Polk? A Press Covers Up a Death in the Family.” Polk was a CBS radio journalist who was murdered in 1948 while he was covering the Greek civil war, though it is still not known who killed him.
Here’s Vlanton’s commencement speech:
A commencement speech aims to uplift graduates as they enter the workforce; sorry, kids, I’ll earn an “F” on that score.
Future teachers: You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession — condescended to by many and ignored by the rest. You’ll Commencement speaker warns graduates: ‘You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession’ - The Washington Post:

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