jerryking + demoralization   5

To Sir, with cynicism
Sep. 04 2000 | - The Globe and Mail | KATHLEEN GALLAGHER.

Where have all the idealistic young teachers gone?

We're coming perilously close to losing them. ...... I sense a different mood. Last September, when I faced my OISE class, I began the year with a simple question: "When you shared your decision to become a teacher with the people in your life who love you, what did they say?" The answers were ambivalent at best.

With teacher-shortage terror sweeping the country, teacher candidates .......very concerned, about what their lives will look like and how they will cope with low morale in the schools. They are concerned, too, by suggestions about their inability to teach to acceptable national standards......At a time of teacher-bashing and formidable moves to bring back more rigid standards, Hollywood asks us to put our hope in hero-teachers, teachers who take on the authorities, parents, and other "bad" (jaded, tired, cynical) teachers, in order to transform the lives of unhappy, unlucky children.

I worry about the superhuman qualities that these movies tell us make "good teachers." Unlike Meryl Streep, my student teachers will not have a swelling soundtrack underscoring their actions when they find themselves facing program cutbacks and the cynicism of colleagues. Everyone loses when teaching becomes an act of individual heroism. We make schools unhappier places when we tell new teachers they're on their own, rather than encouraging them to join with experienced teachers who have developed strategies, over time, to contend with the manifold contradictory expectations placed on them.....What critics of public schools seem not to know (and what good teachers have always known) is that people generally play the roles we assign them. If we worsen conditions in classrooms -- too many students, fewer support staff -- and add affronts to teachers' professionalism, we will inevitably lead teachers to develop lower expectations of themselves. The result will be the corrosion of a truly noble profession.
Colleges_&_Universities  contradictions  cynicism  demoralization  expectations  high_schools  idealism  letters_to_the_editor  OISE  public_education  public_schools  teaching  teachers  unhappiness 
february 2015 by jerryking
Native despair: face to face with ennui on a reserve - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 24 2013 | Special to The Globe and Mail | by Richard Wagamese.

The hardest battle in our fight to save our native children is against ennui. If you haven’t encountered that word before, it means something about a ton heavier and a lot deadlier than simple boredom. It means a lifelong sort of tiredness. It means lassitude, an unrelenting feeling of nothingness. It means you give up trying, dreaming or seeing yourself doing something better....When we left, there was no one there to receive the projects. There was no one interested enough to come see what we had created for them even though we’d been there for 10 days. Our bright, shiny projects that showed such hope and promise were left with no one to view them. It was sad – heartbreaking, even, because that’s what’s at the core of dysfunctional and ineffective reserve communities. Ennui. A thousand-pound word that means you simply just don’t care any more.
aboriginals  demoralization  natives  reserve_communities  ennui  despair 
august 2013 by jerryking
As America unwinds, Canada rewinds - The Globe and Mail
Lawrence Martin

Special to The Globe and Mail

Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 23 2013

The Unwinding by George Packer.

It tells the story of the descent of inner America, the collapse of structures as a result of deregulation, the rampant insecurities with the decline of permanent jobs, debates overtaken by extremes of opinion. Mr. Packer’s theory is that the United States has been Wal-Martized. Lower wages, lower prices, lower standards. It’s been good for the company, and as he says: “Eventually six of the surviving Waltons would have as much money as the bottom 30 per cent of the country.”

But the decline of the big economic middle is ominous, as is the seizure of the national discussion by polemicists. How can a country move forward without a rallying consensus? Not even Barack Obama, with his balanced mind, his instinct for compromise and his eloquence (as most recently manifested on the topic of the Trayvon Martin verdict) can stop the fraying.

The book’s author is not an American declinist. There have been other unravellings; rebuilds inevitably follow. But the context is different now. America’s greatest century is behind it. Its degree of dominance will likely never be the same.

In response to all this, how does Canada, the big neighbour to the north, position itself?...Canadians are divided in their view of the monarchy. I’m not an enthusiast. As was well argued on these pages Monday by Ratna Omidvar, swearing allegiance to the Queen is an outmoded pastime. But the British heritage is an integral part of our definition, our identity. A stronger etching of it in the public consciousness and a greater reach to other markets is not unhealthy at a time when American paramountcy is fading, when our dependency on the United States is diminishing, when a distance in the bilateral relationship is growing.

It may be the beginning of a big turn. There are still major stakes in play, such as the Keystone XL pipeline, but Canadian trade volumes with the United States are in decline after a century of continual growth.

That slide is expected to continue as Asian powers and others take up greater market share. U.S. reliance on Canadian energy resources is on the wane; some project a dramatic falloff. Although 9/11 has dragged Canada more deeply into the U.S. intelligence-gathering network, we no longer rely on U.S. defence protections, as we did in the Cold War days. Culturally, the workings of time have brought us a stronger, more distinct stamp. As for our border, it has thickened rather than easing away. We now need passports to cross it.

While Americans undergo their unwinding, so do we. In recognition of new realities, we unwind from them.
Lawrence_Martin  bilateral  crossborder  America_in_Decline?  middle_class  books  downward_mobility  demoralization  Keystone_XL  beyondtheU.S.  national_identity  George_Packer 
august 2013 by jerryking
The decline of optimism in America -
Oct. 09, 2011 | The Globe and Mail | GWYN MORGAN.

I have always admired the resiliency of corporate America. Even at the bottom of the worst recessions, the private sector’s entrepreneurial energy has returned the country to economic growth. In more than a hundred visits over three decades, I have never seen that great economic engine so demoralized and less willing to bet shareholders’ savings on the country’s future.

And never has that “Welcome home” from a smiling Canadian customs officer felt so good.
Gwyn_Morgan  America_in_Decline?  demoralization  crossborder  decline 
october 2011 by jerryking
McGurn: A Requiem for Detroit - WSJ.com
MARCH 29, 2011 WSJ By WILLIAM MCGURN. A once-great American
city today repels people of talent and ambition.....What's left is the
city so embarrassingly exposed by the census figures, a place that
people are fleeing as fast as they can. Think of all the dysfunctional
measures you can: poverty rates, unemployment, crime, failing public
schools, falling home values. Detroit has them all, and most of its
indicators rank among the worst in the nation.
Detroit  leadership  Dave_Bing  William_McGurn  demoralization  population_trends  downward_mobility  demographic_changes  dysfunction 
april 2011 by jerryking

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