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2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year Urges the Tribune to Tell #TheWholeStory


Originally published in Chicago Tribune letters:  

I was recently reported that students are being cheated because districts, rarely and out of necessity, assign teachers to classes for which they are not certified. This is unfair and misleading.

As a member of the Illinois State Educator Licensure Board, I know firsthand what it takes to become a teacher in Illinois. If teachers are assigned to classes for which they are not technically qualified, it's usually because districts can't find qualified teachers.

Why? A big part of the reason is that our profession has been so torn down that few people want to become teachers. 

A typical Illinois public school classroom is led by a highly qualified, highly motivated teacher who is deeply committed to making a positive difference in the lives of her students. That’s a truth I would love to see on the front page of the Tribune.

Here’s a challenge: Send a reporter to work with me for one week. Be ready to pay him/her some overtime because I routinely work 10 to 15 hours a day. Like most of my colleagues, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks purchasing paper, pencils and other school supplies that will be distributed to many of my students whose parents work minimum-wage jobs.

While imperfect, our public schools are working for hundreds of thousands of Illinois students, helping young men and women become productive citizens.

When I was the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year, it was part of my mission to spread the good news about public education. It would be nice if the Tribune’s mission included telling the truth about public educationinstead of trying to run down our schools and the people who dedicate their professional lives to their students.


-- Annice M. Brave, Bethalto, Ill., teacher at Alton High School

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