I have watched fellow educators, my friends, walk into the classroom ready to take on the challenge only to walk out defeated. I am not prideful enough to assume that the same could not happen to me. It's not that teachers are looking for a reason to leave. America, we're looking for a reason to stay.
I was a bystander in their doll games, a witness to it all. I saw the Oregon Trail from a distance, looking out the kitchen window, glimpses of three pony tailed heads and the pink wheels bumping along through the grass. I cannot bring the dolls back. But I can call up these memories, clear as a summer day on the prairie.
In the view of Margaret Heffernan, author of A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn't Everything, and How We Do Better, teaching competition from the earliest years produces adults who fail at creative thinking and generates a society where cheating is incentivized and people never learn to collaborate. In the following interview, she explains why this failure puts us all at risk.
My son saw his first snow last winter. He stuck his little face straight up in the air and squealed with delight when he felt the cold, soft flakes against his skin. The white, feathery bits swirled around and then slowly floated down towards his outreached hands against the backdrop of deep grey, Texas skies.