More Teacher Similarities


On this site I have blogged over and over again about the similarities between the teaching profession and the medical profession.   In fact, it was about a year ago that I wrote about this retiring teacher.  Well, the retirements continue (in both careers) and here is another “I quit” moment from the Washington Post (the link is now on another site as the Washington Post pulled it down.  Hmmmm.).   In it, a kindergarten teacher talks about how her job is more about tests and data and less about the children.  Sound familiar to healthcare?

Here are some of the highlights that may resonate with you (my comments in parenthesis):

  • I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms. (Is there job in your office?)
  • I think it started with No Child Left Behind years ago.  Over the years I’ve seen this climate of data fascination seep into our schools and slowly change the ability for educators to teach creatively and respond to children’s social and emotional needs. (No Child Left Behind equals our Pay For Performance Quality Indicators)
  • Every year, the mandates grew more academic and less child-friendly. The demand for standards and assessments grew more insistent, more detailed, more onerous. (Sound familiar?)
  • The negative impact of this extensive and detailed assessment system is that teachers are forced to learn yet another new and complicated tool, and are required to spend significantly less time in the classroom during the three assessment periods, as they assess, document evidence to back up their observations, and report on each child.  (Less time with kids is the same as less time with patients)
  • I was trying to survive in a community of colleagues who were struggling to do the same:  to adapt and survive, to continue to hold onto what we could, and to affirm what we believe to be quality teaching for an early childhood classroom.  I began to feel a deep sense of loss of integrity.  I felt my spirit, my passion as a teacher, slip away.  I felt anger rise inside me.  I felt I needed to survive by looking elsewhere and leaving the community I love so dearly.  I did not feel I was leaving my job.  I felt then and feel now that my job left me. (Yes, our job left us as well)

The teaching profession is ahead of us by a few years.  Watch how it is crumbling and how some states are finally getting rid of the core competency BS.  We need to do the same with the “quality” movement before it is too late.



Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “More Teacher Similarities

  1. Sir Lance-a-lot
    April 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks, Doug.

    As someone who comes from a whole bunch of teachers, and who has an idea of what’s going on in education today, I think you’ve got it right.

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