Saturday, February 27, 2010

mass firings & teacher hate

Just reading the comments from an article on the mass firings in Rhode Island is enough to make me hate humanity.

Really? There are people out there who believe these teachers had it easy? Who believe they are over paid? Lazy? Cushy jobs with extended vacations? Don't work as hard as those in the private sector? Should be paid less? The kids aren't learning just because the teachers are too busy talking to one another?

Who are these people??? And what planet do they live on?

I recently had a conversation with someone in his first year of teaching at a private school in our area. He doesn't have an education background, but the opportunity arose and he took it. When I asked how his first year was going he just shook his head. "Nobody tells you how hard this job is" he said, "Nobody tells you that even though your hours are from 7:30-3 you don't have time to do work during that time- that's when you're TEACHING. It's like presenting at meeting after meeting in the private sector for 8 hours, and then you have to spend the rest of your day preparing for tomorrow's meetings. I am just tired. All the time."

I felt for him, but was also surprised he didn't realize what he was getting into. I guess I forgot the rest of the world doesn't realize what sort of job the teaching profession really is. And I suppose it's the people, who don't know what's happening inside our schools, who believe teachers are overpaid and don't work hard enough.

I'd like to invite them to come in and spend a week with us. To live from 8-3 without going to the bathroom. To eat lunch while planning. To keep our same hours- to get to school early or stay hours late to be prepared, meet with parents, meet with administration, get lessons completed, grade, and still manage to have awesome lessons when the children are here.

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I have a lot to say about the mass firings & not just the teacher attitudes, but I'll save it for another day. My biggest issues are:

-teachers were expected to do the same thing they had been doing, just more of it. Perhaps there should have been a look at shifting instruction, or looking more deeply at what issues were. If it wasn't working in the classroom, why would it work after school?

-Has anyone actually eaten lunch with their children? Because if you have, you understand the teacher's feelings.


Sneaker Teacher said...

Wow, those comments were intense. It amazes me how many people believe that being a teacher is a fluff job that is marked by vacations and not really working. Where they get the idea that teachers make 70-80,000 is beyond me! Geez...people can be really mean...

Vagabond Teacher said...

For some inane reason, people's perceptions of teachers never grow up. They think that because as children they saw their teacher from 9-3, that the teacher must only be there for that period of time. It's a bit like an infant's sense of permanance. Once Mom leaves the room she no longer exists. Why some adults never grow past that perception is a mystery.

And this business of lunch kills me. Why are employers trying to control the little bit of free time that people can squeeze out of the day? Before I went into subbing full-time I had a job with a company. One day while I was at lunch, my boss called me on my cell phone wanting to know why I'd left the building for lunch. I was a salaried, full-time professional with 12 years in my field and I'd always left work on my lunch hour. She told me at THIS company, I should only take at most a half hour and I should be eating at my desk. It's one of the reasons I quit that job. Working through lunch by choice is one thing. Having it mandated is another thing entirely. These teachers have every right to question the demand.

Jason Buell said...

In the science world there's this big thing about communication. A couple of years ago scienceblogs got into a tizzy with framing and the AAAS conference was dominated by communicating science to the public. I bring that up because clearly as teachers we need to do a better job communicating what it is that we do. Just as anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers just don't seem to get how science "works", the anti-education community don't really seem to get how teaching works.