Thursday, November 4, 2010

ATTN: Politicians! Here is how you will get my vote!!!

DISCLAIMER: When I originally posted this last week, I was unaware one of my former districts had just been slammed by the media over contract negotiations (That is NOT okay, nor is it my point).  This posting is in no way a reflection of any of them, nor does it reflect my views of their current dilemma.  I FULLY support those teachers; they are some of the hardest working individuals I know.  And honestly, they deserve better.  It's a freakin' tough job!  My thoughts below are more a reflection of the system - the way we do things now, that for me, simply doesn't make sense.  Again, I am not referencing teachers I know specifically.  If you read further, please keep this very important fact in mind.

One of my best friends called me last night.  She was on the way home from a psychology class she is currently taking in the name of continuing education, since apparently, going to college and graduating with honors is no longer enough to get ahead in this world.

Anyway, we started chatting.  My friend currently works as a high school instructional aide, which I feel partially responsible for.  She wants to become a teacher, and I told her this was a good way to begin your career (as I followed the same path).  Unfortunately, shortly after she was hired, a meteor struck the field of education and we have not been able to fully repair the damage it caused.

Our conversation evolved, and we started talking about one of our favorite topics: BAD TEACHERS.  And I don't mean the awful educators who do detestable things like write poems for their students or advocate to prevent the loss of instructional time.  I'm talking about the just plain rotten teachers who should not occupy a classroom.

Unfortunately, there are many.

This is a hot topic for myself, my friend, and just about everyone in my current office, as we have all had to watch undeserving (and unqualified) teachers move inside classrooms we desperately wanted.  And I am not bragging, because I by no means think I'm the cream of the crop.  I have a lot to learn.  At the same time, I know I am better than some who are out there.  Many others are as well.

Here is the key - I'm willing to learn.  I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to perfect my craft and be the best I can be for my students.  And I'm sorry to say, but I happen to think I was doing a fairly good job when I had a job.  I have a file of evaluations that say so.

So, it got me thinking.  The past few weeks, politicians have worked countless hours trying to secure my vote.  And you know what?  I figured out how you can do it.  I will not only vote for you, I will register for your party and fully support you.  I will campaign for you and volunteer on your behalf.  All you have to do is one simple thing:


That's it.  If you do that and allow the rest of us unemployed, starving teachers the chance to show you what we can do, you will have my vote.  I don't care if you're a democrat or republican, a male or female, white or black or Asian or Native Amercian or a combination - I will vote for you if you do this one thing.

Hmmm, so what exactly constitutes a "bad teacher?"  Well, I'm no expert, but here are some examples from real life that I would consider to be hogging a contract (and paycheck on the tax payers dime) that should be carefully reconsidered:
  1. The teacher who will do anything to get out of teaching: host a student teacher every year, attend every single workshop offered in a 50 mile radius, use all sick and personal days, take a "professional sabbatical" to "write a thesis" that most of us do while teaching simultaneously, sponsor clubs they know will pull them from the classroom, leave school early for "personal reasons," and more.
  2. The teacher who does nothing but assign busy work: "I want you to read chapter 6 in your textbook and answer the questions at the end.  When you are finished, write down ten new things you learned.  If you still have time, you can read silently."
  3. The teacher who refuses to differentitate instruction, modify assignments, or make accommodations because "that is not my job - I'm the regular ed. teacher."
  4. The teacher who will not do anything not specifically stated in the contract: help students before/after school, chaperone dances, write college letters of recommendation, attend field trips, decorate bulletin boards, etc.
  5. The teacher who coaches so many teams, their lesson plans include very little beyond crossword puzzles, worksheets, movies, and word searches.
  6. The teacher who does the same bloody thing every single day: "Okay, you know the drill.  First we'll go over the homework, then I'll show you some new samples, and then I'll assign tonight's homework."
  7. The teacher who doesn't insist the kids write because they don't have time to read it.
  8. The teacher who doesn't make the kids read (or read a different book) because then they would have to do more work preparing.
  9. The teacher who assigns a very detailed project, makes it due the last day of school, and then places them in the dumpster once the kids leave for summer.
  10. The teacher who assigns a writing assignment but never reads them.
  11. The teacher who takes forever to grade things but expects the kids to move forward before receiving appropriate feedback/knowledge of what they are doing wrong.
  12. The teacher who makes up or "fudges" grades because "I know what they are capable of - I don't need to read this."
  13. The teacher who does everything at the 11th hour.
  14. The teacher who assigns a project that will take 4 months to complete, therefore accomplishing a 4 month lesson plan (and vacation) for them.
  15. The teacher who gossips with students about other students.
  16. The teacher who inflates grades for students, as long as they are on their team/in their club etc.
  17. The teacher who passes everyone because "it's just easier than dealing with the aftermath when they fail, even though they can't read, write, add, or think."
  18. The teacher who doesn't correct spelling and grammar because "I'm not an English teacher."
  19. The teacher who doesn't use correct spelling and grammar because they don't know how.
  20. The teacher who will never see the other side of things, even when an exception is clearly present.
  21. The teacher who pushes their personal beliefs on the students - and penalizes you for not conforming.
  22. The teacher who sits in a desk, places the class in a semi-circle, and "shoots the breeze" for an entire class period.
  23. The teacher who constantly complains about not having enough prep time, therefore, will not do anything extra for the kids.  (Seriously, just out of curiosity, exactly how many prep periods do you expect???)
  24. The teacher who "hangs out" with their students outside of school.
  25. The teacher who does not grasp the subject they teach.
  26. The teacher who is the King or Queen of excuses, but disciplines the students for making excuses.
  27. The teacher with low expectations - or no expectations.
  28. The "Packet Princess."
  29. The teacher who never changes a test or quiz, and wonders why the kids save their materials and pass it to the kids the year below them.
  30. The teacher who REFUSES to learn and incorporate technology (or update a web site) - Sorry, but it is 2010!!!  Get on board.  (P.S. My web site was fantastic - I miss it....)
  31. The teacher who hands out a "ditto" with a copywrite date of 1973 in the footer.
  32. The teacher who will not monitor the hallway between classes because that is his or her break from the "little monsters."  (And unless you are teaching a class to Lady Gaga fans, you probably should refer to them differently...)
Okay, I better stop.  I could go on for at least another 6 days.

Have something to add to my list?  Leave a comment below!

And P.S. - I ABSOLUTELY SUPPORT good teachers.  There are many.  It is a VERY DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING job that you can NEVER fully grasp unless you have done it yourself.  I'm just sick and tired of "tenure" and "seniority" protecting people who don't actually DO the job they were hired to do.

Seriously, why is that okay???

1 comment:

  1. Sad list, but true. I see this stuff everyday. There is a "packet princess" at the end of the math hallway, although I think that is what the course "Individual Math" is all about. Instead of giving more instruction to those kids who need it most(because ind. math is the lowest level math course you can take), the teacher basically hands out a packet of math problems and teaches about once a week for 5-15 minutes.

    #21 and #22 are my personal pet peeves. I cringe when I see that the frickin' English dept. chair can't use proper grammar or spellcheck in school-wide e-mails. Also, don't even get me started on the summer book everyone in the school (including teachers) had to read that there was no lesson plan for. Five-hundred and fifty pages read for no reason whatsoever.

    Okay, I'm done now.


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