Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear Stakeholders, (Letter from a teacher)

People are so quick to label teachers as bad, ineffective, lazy, or just there for an easy paycheck. Believe me when I say that we are not just there for the check because there are truly easier ways to make money.

You never hear about the teacher that teaches thirty years in the inner city and she gets a class of thirty five kindergartners who are not socialized enough for school. She deals with their social issues, and maybe by the end of the year they all can sing and identify and sometimes write their alphabets. Because all her students are not proficient, people say she is a bad teacher. Did I mention that the 5 classes of teachers must share one assistant? Seriously, will the highly “qualified” teacher be able to sleep? Because she is expected to have an individualized plan for all of those students and she is going to be asked to meet their needs.

Unfortunately, she can't take them home with her and give them the reinforcement they truly need. She can't make the parents stop bringing in strange men into the house. She can't make them stop allowing their children to watch Cinemax at night; she can't keep the children off the internet watching porn. She can't make them stop watching TV all night so that they can be awake to learn. She can't make their parents give them their medication. She can't make sure the lights are on or the bills are paid so the children won't end up out in the street. She is not allowed to do any of these things, and if she does she is "unprofessional". Or, she accused of masquerading as a teacher (pedophile), if she becomes overly involved in the children's lives. It is tiring, and time consuming, and unfair to put the entire onus, blame, and sacrifice on the teacher. Yes she sees the children more than you do, but she can't claim them on her taxes. She can't overstep her bounds and try to teach the children her sense of values, because it may be in direct conflict with yours. Even though her value system may actually help your child succeed. If she does, she faces the risk at her peril.

She is usually underpaid, underappreciated, and doggedly overworked. I know for a fact she is always blamed for everything. She is looked upon as an overpaid babysitter. She is not valued, but you expect her to raise your children.

We need to ensure that the onus is put back on you, the parents and your children as well. Parents, I did not have your child. They do not belong to me. It is my job to teach them, but can you please help me out? Can you attend the parent teacher conferences, return my emails, answer my calls, and could you please make sure that your child, not you, does his homework? Thank you for putting in the effort to get the assignment turned in, but unfortunately you can’t take the state mandated test for him, and it makes me look like a horrible teacher because thanks to your help, his grades are higher than his ability.

Also parents, be realistic about your child’s ability. If he has a learning disability, please don’t pretend that he is "normal". It’s okay if he isn’t. (None of us are really "normal".) We will work with him. We have been mandated to do so. And if you don’t remember anything else, please remember this: we have 20+ special darlings in our class, and we are trying our hardest to give them all our undivided attention.

Now children, since we are all in this together, you are not without responsibility. Yes, you are children, but in most states if you kill someone, you can be charged as an adult. Everything we do in class will not be fun. I can only jazz up the purpose of a spreadsheet a little. Some things don’t lend themselves to all entertainment all the time. I will try hard to make your lessons more relevant and interesting, if you will at least give me the courtesy of listening to what I have to say, and I would love to have your cooperation so that we can collaborate on your educational process. All I ask is that you meet your teacher half way. It is your future you know.

We are all in this together. If you are going to cast blame…….. Please don’t forget your part in the educational travesty.


Fed up technology teacher

1 comment:

Get Togetha said...

Thanks for your post on the Black Snob. I truly appreciated it.


Former Classroom Teacher.