Magistricide

I adopted a word at Save the Words: magistricide.

magistricide: noun; the killing of one’s master or teacher

Etymology: Latin, magister, teacher or master + -cide from caedere, to kill.

Usage: If Mrs. Huff doesn’t quit assigning so much work, I’m entertaining magistricide as a viable option.

Magistricide

I have vowed to use this word as much as possible, but I chose it not just because I have a dark sense of humor (sometimes), but also because it makes me think about so much of what I read about in reference to education.

New teachers are a lot like young students.  They’re excited to begin teaching.  They have lots of ideas.  In my experience, they work like the dickens to help students.  But there is an epidemic of metaphorical magistricide.  The state of so many of our schools today kills that desire to teach, and teachers leave the profession in droves in their first few years.  I feel very sad for some of my colleagues in the edublogosphere when I read about their experiences, and I feel sad sometimes when I reflect on my own experiences in other schools.  I am so happy to be teaching where I teach right now.  I love my students and colleagues.  I feel invigorated by teaching.  I am given so many opportunities to try new things, like Web 2.0 tools, when other teachers are being cut off with irrational blocking or fearful administrators who don’t trust their teachers.

So many of my colleagues don’t have the kind of support I have, either (from either parents or administrators).  I know I can count on my administrators, but what do you do if you work in a place where students do not have to meet expectations for behavior?  I tried teaching in a needy school with a poor administration in my first year.  I was so depressed.  I used to cry on my way to work because I didn’t want to be there.  At best, all I could manage was crowd control, and even if I was able to manage that, I felt successful given the odds.  My students didn’t really learn because I was not given the support to really teach.

Teacher attrition is a big concern of mine because after my first four years, feeling beleagured and unsupported, I wanted to quit.  I did quit.  I came back, had two more years in a failing school with no discipline and finally lucked into my present position.  I wonder if I’d be teaching now if I hadn’t found a job at my current school.  I can’t say with certainty that I would be.  I am not one to toot my own horn, but I think I’m a pretty good teacher.  I am passionate about my teaching.  How many really potentially good teachers are lost every year to this form of magistricide?

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