As I walked across the parking lot of the
Eatemup, I was thinking about the letter to the editor from the
teacher of thirty years.
Once again a teacher was trying to explain why
our educational system has been dummied down to the point it
appears none of the students are learning anything. And, of
course, she was trying to explain this to people who have never
been in a classroom. To people who would become upset and rude if
a teacher tried to tell them how to do their job.
How often, I asked myself, do parents
second-guess a doctor who is treating one of their children? Would
they actually not only imply, but also downright disagree with the
diagnoses, prognoses, and treatment of the doctor? I donít think
After all, doctors have been to college and
spent years honing their skills so they could practice their
profession. However, it has become a common practice for a teacher
to be challenged by the student, the parent, an administrator, and
anyone who can get the attention of a TV station or newspaper.
After all these folks must make it public knowledge their baby has
One of the comments of this teacher of thirty
years was how so many students didnít want to be Ďbotheredí with
homework. One student I remember was to do a three-page report on
any subject of his choice. This report was to be in a see through
folder, could be hand-written or typed, should have one or two
pictures, and as much information about the subject as could be
He turned in two pages that were stapled
together. His subject was about ducks so one whole page had a
picture of a duck on it. The front page had very little
information about what type of duck this was supposed to be. There
was not information on its nesting areas, where it migrated to or
from, or what set it apart from other ducks. Nothing much more
than this is a duck, it has feathers and likes to float on water.
I refused the report.
The next day I got a call from the mother who
explained to me in no uncertain terms about how much Ďhard workí
had been put in on this report. How much time and effort she had
spent at the library gathering information and getting a photocopy
of a duck for her son. My impression was that she was angrier
about what she perceived as her grade than she was about the one
the son did not receive. But once again, it was my fault entirely
because I was Ďtoo hard and expected too much in a reportí.
This incident is just one of the examples that
teachers must tolerate. And the problem is that after awhile it
just wears you down. Going to school every day knowing youíre
going to have to justify and explain everything you have done to
someone becomes a great burden. After twenty-thirty years of this
burden and never knowing when youíre going to be blamed or
challenged will cause your enthusiasm to wane.
This would not be too bad if there were an
abundance of teachers. But that is not the case. As many of you
know, there is a tremendous need for qualified teachers. Sure we
can put people in classrooms that come in from their previous
career fields and are knowledgeable in what they are to teach.
The problem is they do not have a clue about
preparing lesson plans. Or how to maintain discipline. Or how to
prepare and distribute tests or quizes. Or conduct a
parent-teacher conference. Or counsel a child who has lost a loved
one to death or whose parents may be going through a divorce. Or
just broke up with their own boyfriend or girlfriend.
And I havenít even mentioned the before or
after school duties a teacher must perform. Or when you have to be
in early or stay late for a faculty meeting. And then after all
that someone will ask you to sponsor one of the schoolís clubs.
Time, time, time. There was just never enough.
Please, donít even start with me on all the
paid time teachers get off. Teachers get paid for so many days a
year and thatís all. Think about this, some of your yearly bonuses
are probably half of what a teacherís annual salary. Yeah, just
try being a single parent on a teacherís salary.
Ah, I see my friends sitting in our favorite
booth. My burden has been lifted. It has been shifted to shoulders
younger and stronger. Not yet beat down. Peac