Tomorrow we’ll talk about rebranding the teaching profession

To replace the images of apples in your head when you hear the word “teacher” or a little one room schoolhouse when you think “school,” the design studio Hyperakt — at the request of public radio showStudio 360 — created new logos to raise the profile of the teaching profession. Here’s one image they came up with. You can see more of them here. What do you think?

schoolimage.png

Can a rebranding campaign can force us to rethink how we view and respect the teaching profession? We’ll talk about it tomorrow at 10:00.

Illustration courtesy of Hyperakt

Stephanie Curtis

  • Riley Stokes

    Typical education story — teachers are in class, certainly can’t listen to radio programs, and CERTAINLY can’t call in to share their experiences or give their opinions. Reminds me of a classic Saturday Night Live skit in which several men on a TV roundtable show sound off on the subject of “Women’s Problems.” Nevermind that MN has one of the very top education systems in the country, everyone attacks teachers and teaching, but teachers never get a voice.

    Riley Stokes

  • suzanna munns

    Dear Kerri,

    With regard to your show on rebranding the teaching profession: As a professionally successful teacher, I have to say that this was a show that completely missed what it means to be a professional teacher. At times of controversy, do CEOs rebrand themselves as an occupation? Do accountants? Do hedge fund managers? Do school superintendents? Do principals? Do engineers? Do city managers? Do bridge designers? The man (I think his name was Gary) who called in near the end of the show was spot on with his comment that rebranding is usually done in the case of a corporation’s poor image and usually not done to brand people such as teachers. I will go even further to say that branding or rebranding of the teaching profession cheapens it, making it less inspirational than it can be for the children in the classrooms. Branding damages the teaching profession by giving license to everyone to take cheap, uninformed shots at it which eventually create legislation that destroys the best aspects of teaching for children. In short, branding the profession that you were talking about with your guest carries on the tradition of No Child Left Behind, and we all know that branding under that program has destroyed the best activities of teachers in their classrooms that used to be filled with inspiration and creation for children, while NCLB branding did not help to solve individual children’s problems. The people who called in to tell of teacher activities that inspired them, were talking about teachers before the branding of the profession through No Child Left Behind, not about the NCLB branded teacher activities. That NCLB branding has caused the backlash to the teaching profession and to teachers’ dedication to their profession with such hateful proposals as the one to take away seniority as the only consideration in layoffs. Branding of the teaching profession through Qcomp in Minnesota helped teachers push up their salaries only to have their administrators try to get rid of the higher paid teachers for budget purposes, and now they can use the branding of the teaching profession through NCLB to get the force of public opinion to get rid of seniority as the only consideration in layoffs putting all teachers in danger of layoff no matter how many years they may have dedicated to the children of our communities. For years I have suggested to my union that contests such as “Teacher of the Year” do more harm than good for our profession. After all, when was the last time we heard about the “Accountant of the Year”? It is my opinion that branding is not appropriate to a profession that wants to be respected. Studies of attitudes toward teachers show that people usually rate their own teachers highly, but rate schools more poorly as the questions get away from their individual schools. I submit that those studies might show the effect of branding that has already been done on the profession, and that it is branding itself that has caused this. Let us go back to having teachers follow their professional pedagogy to give children a “whole cloth” education of reading, writing, math, science, art, music, and physical education in the integrated ways we love to share with children. Let us forget about branding that puts the pedagogy asunder. In my opinion, Kerri, you are listening to far too many people who aren’t even teachers about the profession. If you want to find out the real issues of today, you need to steep yourself in the issues teachers themselves (not unions either) talk about among themselves, and you need to cultivate your own respect for the profession. I feel that you are not respectful of the profession yourself because you ask so many people other than teachers to go on your show, and you do not bring discussions of curriculum, for example, to your show in a way that would leave people with genuine knowledge of the teaching profession. I know that learning the details of teaching would be a big undertaking for you, but you would probably be more satisfied with that in the long run because you would get less superficial and destructive stories. I would be happy to hear discussions of the true controversies in education. Or, just forget doing any stories, and allow us to be a profession like all other professions, quietly doing the work for which we were educated.