The President of a country in financial meltdown due to the incompetence of regulatory officials and the outright greed of the financial industry in general needs to distract the nation and, apparently, the health care thing and the commission on women’s issues (which is an outrage for another day) aren’t enough.
So who’s he gonna call out?
Teachers. But only the “bad” ones who are the root of the growing imbecility problem we seem to have with our young people today.
Yeah, that’s right. If your kid is lazy and/or unemployable, blame it on his or her teachers. They screwed up because they only went into the profession for the summers off and the life-long job security courtesy of those evil unions who only care about lining the pockets of their membership and making sure they have better health care packages than Joe Sixpack and his spawn.
Reason number one I will never set foot in a secondary school classroom again, except as a parent, is the blatant lack of respect for my former profession. I am beyond sick of being blamed when children who’ve been poorly parented fail to thrive after spending 50 minutes a day with me for 9 months out of one year of their entire lives. I had to gestate my own kid longer than I have known some of my students.
Why are American children failing to compete on the international stage?
Why is America failing to compete? Look around. We are a country of something for nothing. That should be embroidered on pillows and samplers and displayed prominently in every home in the United States because we are the example to follow when it comes to putting in as little as possible and whining when we don’t get the maximum in return.
How many people are losing their homes because they didn’t understand something as simple as interest rates and adjustable rate mortgages? These people have children. Those children are the ones who sit in our schools. Apples don’t get up and walk away from the trees from which they fall. They molder on the ground underneath.
Without union protection I would have lost my job when my middle-school principal began harassing me years ago. I made the mistake of pointing out a flaw in an idea of hers and suggesting something that wound up working better. I didn’t know. I was 26. I thought I was doing my job. I didn’t understand the politics and I nearly lost my job. Without unions and contracts that spell out rules to govern the dismissal of teachers, we would have the same kind of nepotism and cronyism that is seen in our government at all levels. The rules protect good teachers from bad administrators who, interestingly, you don’t hear too much about.
An old friend of mine from high school is a high school teacher himself these days. It is parent/teacher conference time in his Nebraska school, and he sat for seven and a half hours in the gym waiting to talk to parents and their kids. Only seven parents bothered to show up.
He was doing his job.
There are poor teachers. Just like there are poor investment bankers, presidents and CNBC business talk show hosts. It’s not a perfect system. Systems run by people never are. But parents and children are two-thirds of the educational equation so why aren’t we discussing them? Where are they in this crisis and debate? They are not innocent victims by any means.
What did we think was going to be the outcome of an educational system forced into parenting and away from curriculum? Why did we overburden an already difficult task with non-essentials and the job of fixing social ills?
Feed kids? Sure. Instruct them in manners? No problem. Teach them to speak English while teaching them subject matter in a language they don’t understand? A piece of cake. Sick kids? We’ve got nurses with band-aids and office help to dole out their meds when the nurse is covering one of the other two or three schools she is assigned to. Pregnant? Abused? Addicted? The counselor will see them now – or maybe tomorrow when they’ve finished with the class scheduling, the conflict management mediation and the federally mandated standardized testing.
Teachers know what they are supposed to be doing. We understand our primary directive. We struggle to stay the course in the face of state legislated curriculum objectives written by farmers, accountants and lawyers who never studied child development and know squat about the latest brain research.
We battle sports, after-school jobs, dysfunctional homes and a mind-numbing array of distractions bombarding our kids via too much technological connectedness.
I never knew a bad teacher. Just like I never knew a bad student. Or a parent who didn’t love his or her kid. I knew people who were swimming against the tide nearly every day and sometimes not making it.
We are a nation way off track when we view our public school system as little more than daycare and our students as nothing more than future employees whose tax dollars will shore up the aged while paying off the debt they are leaving behind. Learning is a process with many pieces and teachers are only one of those pieces. Until we recognize that, nothing will improve.
This is an original 50 Something Moms piece by Ann Bibby.