It’s at least partially because so many of them go into the ‘profession’ in order to “make their mark on the world”, to “make a difference”. When your goal in life is nothing less than the transformation of society itself (or any other sufficiently grandiose goal that teachers often cite), there’s a certain amount of hubris involved. And, when you feel stymied in this grand plan of societal salvation, you feel the world deserves to know what happened.
I think that’s pretty accurate. I’ve known teachers who got into it because they recognize what teaching is actually supposed to be—the passing-down of the accumulated knowledge of civilization and the great works of humanity—and I’ve known a few teachers who do it because they simply love it. The entirely accurate stereotype of many teachers, however, is of those who want to “change the world.” Often this does not involve teaching the useful and enlightening things the human race has discovered or produced; many times it involves lecturing your students about whatever fashionable cause or crusade you wish to promote. Whatever other difficulties come with teaching—and there are surely more than a few of them—it must be especially difficult to realize that your majestic vision of “change” was likely grossly overshot.
Meanwhile, across the pond, an article in the Telegraph takes British teachers’ unions to task for their thuggish and childish antics. Mom and Dad raised me to be humble, but one is forced to wonder if the author did not read my article and feel emboldened and inspired by my brazen, chest-thumping American rhetoric. As he writes:
Strikes, boycotts, blocking and chanting: it’s all so negative. Is it any wonder teachers are no longer seen as professional by the wider public? If teachers really want to be taken seriously, all this whingeing and whining must surely stop.
The author evidently composed this piece anonymously, likely for fear of retaliation from the very teachers he criticizes. This is nothing new—this piece in Style has a number of commentators critical of Richmond Public Schools who refuse to be named. If the environment of a school system or a teachers’ union is such that your criticism must remain anonymous out of fear, then the problem goes far beyond mere complaining. But hey, it’s all for the students.