Teachers, administrators, read what they’re saying about you

I was starting to worry and fret about you reader-types out there. Parents, teachers, administrators, school board members — nobody wanted to get involved in an educational dialogue, once opened by a local teacher. Which, I guess, is why she wrote in the first place.
Time passed and some did write. I have yet to hear from school administrators, board members or students. I hope you will get involved. Following are two letters I received. I have put full length versions (minus names) here in the on-line version of Don’t Rush Me.
So, as promised last week, here is Teacher Dialogue, Part 3.
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I am a teacher in the —- School district. Although I didn’t write the letter you published, I and many other teachers in many districts in the area could easily write a similar letter. Whomever wrote it described what I see every day, every hour in the high school I teach. Frequently when there is a problem we see an angry parent arrive inquiring as to who was responsible and what did the teacher do that precipitated the situation. That kind of parent rarely holds their own child accountable for anything, it’s always somebody else’s fault. Generally the building administration backs that parent and often makes the teacher the fall guy, citing poor class control and management of that student and the situation. The parent generally negotiates with the administrator for a lesser punishment, and sometimes there is little done to the student after the parent is done ‘negotiating?.
I see children come dressed poorly, exposing way too much, and when challenged will often launch into a tirade and become more disruptive. An example says it all. Several years ago I stopped a girl in the hall wearing a numbered jersey with the caption ‘Porn Star? above the number. I asked her if her mother had seen it when she left for school and she replied ‘my mother bought it for me.? She had a fit when told she would have to go home and change.
I could go on and on, but the point is that letter you published describes the situation in almost every high school in almost every district. I have talked to many colleagues across the area and they all have similar tales to tell. I have an opinion that this will prevail until strong building leadership is present but most schools lack such leadership.
As for the teacher who wrote it, it may be she/he fears retribution from building or district leaders for voicing such an opinion/observation about the ‘clients.? In our district we recently had issues with teachers writing such letters to the daily newspaper. If they signed their name they were ‘invited? by letter to have a little ‘talk? with the superintendent. One teacher in our building received such an ‘invitation? but refused to go. Nonetheless, it can be very intimidating to receive such a letter from the superintendent, so many teachers leave the letter unsigned. District leaders have demonstrated time and time again recently that they do not appreciate public criticism of the situation in their schools when it comes from an employee, and it’s not much of a stretch to think that similar sentiments by other districts exist regarding employees ‘going public.” — D
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Don, I was beyond amused reading your column on Teachers and Education. As a parent I can tell you that the teacher of today is not nearly as good as the teacher of yesterday. It’s not all their fault, because many of the ways they had back then to keep order in the classroom have pretty much been taken away. Administrators fold like a deck of cards anytime a parent gets upset about how little Johnny was disciplined . . . no matter what little Johnny did to deserve it.
From what I can see, teachers today are ill prepared and unmotivated. My kids have had teachers who pretty much sit at their desks and play games on the computer or chat on a cell after passing out an assignment. I’ve had the experience of a teacher complaining IN FRONT OF a class that she didn’t WANT to teach that particular class next year. What’s a kid supposed to make of that? Or a parent?
I know I looked up what Germany does in regard to teachers, and frankly they make our teachers look like a bunch of whining cry-babies. In Germany, teachers make comparable money to what a teacher gets here, BUT (and this is IMPORTANT), they work a much longer day and have school 6 DAYS a week, no three month summers off! And they have to have more education, and more experience, before they get a classroom on their own.
I’ll admit that there are many parents who do not send their child properly outfitted or prepared and really don’t care. But teachers today are also very poor examples, they have a horrible work ethic and dress terribly. And I’d have to say, administrators are overpaid layabouts. I know that for sure, because I worked for (blank) public school district and got to attend many of their meetings. All of these principals and superintendents pulling up in BMWs, Caddys, Mercedes . . . having a nice breakfast spread of smoked salmon and cream cheese, playfully chatting about their latest acquisitions while the meeting is in progress about some issue that SHOULD be of importance. And afterward? Not back to the office, but to the golf course or shopping or the salon! I went to the National Title I conference, a few years back, a place to learn all kinds of things about teaching and funding Title I schools. I saw teachers and administrators there attending FEW if ANY sessions because they were too busy sight-seeing and boozing it up at the MANY parties available to them from hawkers of school products and services
Rush, it’s enough to turn your stomach. Bottom line, from my perspective as both a person connected with administrations and a parent, the educational system is all about gimmies and not about the kids. In fact, nobody seems to give a damn about them. All we hear from teachers and administrators is, ‘I deserve more, I work hard.?
Well, compared to German teachers, they don’t deserve a PENNY more for what LITTLE work they provide! Cut the lavish parties, the waste, and the no accountability. It’s time the educators stepped up to the plate and provide a quality education (and that doesn’t require more gadgets and money, just time and EFFORT).
If the administrators and the teacher’s unions spent a little less time worrying about their next raise or perk, and a little more time worrying about whether or not Johnny knows how to read, write, and spell, maybe we wouldn’t have the appalling dropout rates we do. Maybe we wouldn’t have kids attempting college who are sorely unprepared to do so. Maybe I wouldn’t be served by a clerk who doesn’t know simple math. God help us, this country’s young people are going to hell in a hand-basket because of sheer stupidity and laziness. Yet they pat themselves on the back every chance they get
Rush, the kids today don’t have parents. For a lot of them, all they have is the educational system, and it too, is failing them because of sheer selfishness on the part of administrators. I’m beginning to think that’s the whole problem of our society, selfishness. Parents want THEIR time, the workers want THEIR rights, and the person who loses ultimately is the kid. Apparently, nobody told them that a big part of being a parent is GIVING: time, money, energy!
So is being an educator-but I guess they missed the memo on that. — L
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Administrators, board members and students, what say you?
E-mail Rush at dontrushmedon@charter.net

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