Saturday, August 25, 2007

Teachers and the Idiot Parent Blogger!

Every August a group of very foolish bloggers suddenly think it's their right to trash teachers.

"Oh, I had such meanie teachers they made me quit school in the 11th grade!" Whine.

"I went to parent teacher's night and the stupid, crazy teachers couldn't even run a PowerPoint presentation." (this particular one wants to make me bite nails on a regular basis - -- which is why I don't read that whiner much -- and she lives in my home town!). Whine! Whine! (I don't feel bad about linking to this one -- she is always complaining about other bloggers . . .fair's fair).

"Why should WE respect teachers who are lazy and incompetent -- AND then they get three months off EVERY summer?" Whine! Whine! Whine!

And on and on they complain and groan and moan.

All this carping -- by folks who have never stood for 90 minutes before a classroom of 15 year olds right before lunch -- makes me want to puke.

Here's the thing -- and I've been on both sides of the world (business vs. education) -- when you walk through the school doors at 6:30 a.m. (not 7:30 you dweebs!) until you leave at 3:00 p.m. (if you're lucky) you are on call. You don't get a coffee break. You don't get a bathroom break. Elementary teachers don't always get a lunch break. High school teachers get 20 minutes for lunch -- NOT an hour. The day IS intensive and that tension does NOT let up because you need (want) to sit down for minute.

In business, you work for 15 minutes (on your butt -- not on your feet) and someone stops by your cubicle to chat. You work another 15 and you head down the hall for coffee or a coke. You feel the urge to pee, you go to the bathroom when you need to. You can call your spouse to arrange for dinner that night, or call your child and see how his day is going, or arrange for tickets to the ball game. Ask a teacher if any of those things EVER happen during his / her day!

I teach 90 minutes blocks. It's intensive the entire 90 minutes. I don't sit down. I dance. I cheerlead. I provide instruction. I offer up examples. I give individual attention. I meet with five different groups during a ten minute time-frame. Kids touch me all the time. They touch me physically and mentally, pulling out my energy and absorbing it like a sponge.

One 90 minute block with a five minute passing period, followed by a second 90 minute block, another passing period -- and finally a 105 minute block. All of that's before my 20 minute lunch. Then I get 45 minutes for planning -- and because I'm a cooperative teacher I actually do use my planning period for meetings. I end my day with a 45 minute block of teaching study skills. The I have 30 minutes to attend content area meetings or prepare for the next day.

I walk 1.62 miles a day to do this -- inside a huge old building that is somewhat air-conditioned and even less heated. I'm usually either hot (summer) or freezing (winter). The only elevator is a freight loader at the back of the building and school is three stories tall. I stand during most of the 90 minute time-frames -- or I walk around, touching kids, keeping them focused, using my body as a tool in my teaching.

I counsel kids that others want to kill. Tell me, business people -- just how many people DO YOU work with that can get killed by just stepping outside the building? I work with pregnant 16 year olds. I counsel students with severe learning disabilities whose parents (you! you folks who are out there complaining about teachers) haven't provided the kids with breakfast, the proper meds, or a good night's sleep. I walk the halls after a Code Red has been called -- looking for the intruder that may come armed with a gun or a knife or a bomb.

The parent I listed above skipped her Advisory meeting at her son's schools because she was pissed that the teachers she had visited with couldn't produce PowerPoint presentations for her to view (and to be fair, because she was feeling guilty). Gad. This is wrong on soooo many levels. First -- Advisory. These classes meet once a week in our school and are designed to make a connection between the school, the child, and home. The Advisory teacher should be the one the PARENT wants to meet -- and if you haven't learned that yet, then you, yes - YOU PARENT -- the one constantly carping about MY profession, haven't bothered to know about your child's educational day.

Secondly, no PowerPoint presentation in my classroom? Lady -- I MADE MY LIVING doing PowerPoint for the senior executive level of the #3 telecom company in the world! I make better PowerPoint presentations than you EVER thought about -- but I have NOTHING to show them on! What! You think every classroom is filled with media software right at our disposal! I wish! We'll raise your taxes, idiot -- then maybe I'll have the right materials so you can view MY PowerPoint presentation. And I'll blow you away with all my animation and slide transitions and rising and falling music! Hell, lady -- I don't even have a white board or an overhead projector. I'm glad to have chalk and a blackboard!

So get off my back! Get off teachers' backs. Stop your carping. Pull your whinny self out of your depression and quit blaming teachers for all the problems you've faced in life. Just like every other profession -- we have great ones, good ones, mediocre ones, and poor ones.

Honestly -- nobody you had for 10 months of the year for 60 or 90 minutes five days a week along with 30 other squirming bodies ever ruined your life, unless they met you after school and did something unspeakable. Your own parents may have ruined you -- or you might have ruined your life by the choices YOU made (dropping out of school) -- but your English teacher barely dented your exterior. And if she did make an impression on you for the good -- hurrah! She really WAS a miracle worker! Praise AND respect her!

As parents you owe teachers the same respect you would offer a co-worker or the janitor in your office building. Nothing more or less. But you owe them the common courtesy to stop griping about how they "ruined my life" -- because they honestly DID NOT! Quit complaining because you wish your life was different -- and quit blaming the teacher because it isn't.

Rant over. For this August. Go to last August, though, and the same woman set me off.

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