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I Need to Blog Less After Drinking...

(18 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by wyfbane
  • Latest reply from deathmetal
  1. wyfbane

    wyfbane

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    So. I have to blog for one of my classes. I was feeling a bit down because I had to tutor a kid today who is a smart kid. He is a hyper little shit, but just a good kid. 7th grade, probably functioning in the middle of the 4th grade, academically. This sort of thing breaks my heart and makes me want to choke slam the parents.
    So I was drinking a lot, as I worry for this poor kid and how his life is likely to turn out when I remember. "Oh Shit, my weekly blog for English!" So this is what they got:

    With regards to teachers and teaching, I feel like there is a missing dimension. I mean there are always so many facets to all arguments these days. I miss when I was a blind idealist. sigh.

    Tucker (Catlin Tucker, author of many English methods books/blogs) is calling out teachers to be engaged. That is awesome! She is uber-engaged and has a great mind, great co-workers, great books, great support system, and a great administration. A great what? A great administration? Who gives 2 shits about administrators, this is all about the kids, right? Wrong. Okay, well not wrong, but certainly school administrators are a factor that bears noting in any discussion regarding teacher disengagement/burnout/hari kari.

    Most of the people in this class are not yet teachers, and many of you are (waaaaay...way way... way way way) younger than I am. I am unsure what experience you have had with school administration, but I am telling you, it will make or break you. My little brother pissed off his principal (not pal, after all as it turned out) in the 3rd grade and was put in, "the problem track." This was in the late '70s. He never broke out. My parents had to send him to private school in order for him to not get the, "send him to shop" recommendations from his counselors. It was evil. He was smart and was pigeonholed his whole career in public school. I hope the "track" system for channeling students into different learning tracks based on the whims of one person is gone forever.

    I have seen other schools with sub par administrators as well. If you have an admin who is either a jerk or is him/herself disengaged you can find yourself in a position where burnout/disengagement has a much higher probability.

    Another factor that can destroy a teacher is personality type. There are people who are able to focus on the job, do that job, then go home. These people are relatively rare. Many people worry and have stress. This will affect one by degrees. Worrying about students is normal. Co-workers, still normal. All the problems that happen in a school, from the janitor to the principal's sick bassett hound: you may need to medicate.

    If I were the teacher of the young man I tutored today (2/3 of the way through 7th grade and cannot do long division of 4325/3) I would approach the parents and discuss study habits. Many years gone are the days when the RIGHT conversation could take place:

    Me: You child is so smart, I care about him. He is a joy to all those around him. He needs to stop playing ball until he can do BASIC F*****G MATH.

    Parent: You can't talk to me that way.

    Me: I wouldn't have to if your kid could do BASIC F*****G MATH. He learns it so fast it would only take about 3 months of tutoring to get him all caught up. I will stay after and help him. (which is a testament to how awesome this kid is. I F'ing hate math)

    Parent: Ok.

    Those conversations just cannot happen now. You will get suspended, maybe sued.

    Now of course no one really has those kinds of talks anymore. The few conversations that do take place are much more toned down. But you need to be careful. I advise doing all communications in writing to cover your ass. But in writing you run the greater risk of being misunderstood. You also have to watch out who the admins are looking out for in your school. Often times, they will side with the parent over the teacher in a disagreement. And again, many parents sue.

    I will let you in on a secret. You know why you REALLY pay those teacher union dues? It is because members of the union are represented by union lawyers in the event of a law suit. That is right. Your future union dues are basically malpractice insurance.

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that in addition to stats and whatnot, it is important to evaluate all the reasons teachers become disengaged. They don't just wake up one day and decide to stop trying. They usually are trying and the system fails them, or they cannot adapt to the system.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. pagan

    pagan

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    I think you did fine, love to buy you a drink

    Nowhere in the world will such a brotherly feeling of confidence be experienced as amongst those who sit together smoking their pipes
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Well said. You should drink more often.

    A friend of mine teaches high school science in one of the wealthiest districts in the nation. The stories he tells of parents blaming teachers for their own failures at raising children are almost unbelievable. What we are seeing is less of a school problem per se and more of society as a whole problem, at all socioeconomic levels.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. mortonbriar

    mortonbriar

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    grog n' blog! well written, and generally concerning for this young parent...

    I don't really care if the cup is half full or half empty, I just want something to sip on.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. tbradsim1

    tbradsim1

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    Wy I feel your pain, you want to do a good job, but it's gotten so political you can't. As an old man I can tell you and it sounds hooky, Do the best you can for yourself, piss on the school.. I see the decline in takeing responsibility , it's never there fault.i saw you were a Vet, in the Army, Be The Best You Can Be, live up to that motto and you can look in the mirror. I wouldn't be a teacher 5 minutes till I started kicking ass and getting fired.

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    wyfbane, you need to drink more often before posting. The liquor helps with lucidity. I've done a little teaching long long ago and walk by a place that right now is looking for teachers but I would never ever teach in today's world because it has been made impossible for the very reason that Bradley has pointed out!

    you want to do a good job, but it's gotten so political

    Everything today has gotten too political, but unfortunately, I could never abide by all the rules and restrictions in public schools these days. Some of them locally mandated, a lot of them federal. Much less abide by them as a student. The searches, the pat downs, the no talking, the zero tolerance, treating kids like criminals. Treating teachers like criminals. The intense legal concerns. The strict control of every situation until all of the fun of learning is removed from it.

    There was none of that when I was growing up, I remember starting out in school sitting in class with wooden windows that we had to swing open to let fresh air in and the window didn't even have a screen. For recess we went out and played in the parking lot which had a little stream down the one side and you could catch a crayfish.

    No one wants the world of today but everyone abides by it, no one claims making it this way but no one is willing to try to change it.

    To Master Po: Is it not being able to see that makes you tire of life?
    Master Po: No! It is being able to hear!
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. prndl

    prndl

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    My daughter and her husband are both teachers at the middle school here. He teaches history, she teaches Special Ed. (or so it was called when I went to school...it's gotten a lot fancier name since).

    Years ago, on her very first day teaching school here, she gave her class a series of tests to gain her starting point of where the students' abilities lie. The results, sadly, were typical and expected...except for one boy who aced the test. He also aced the second test, as well as the third.

    With tests in hand, she walked into the principal's office later that day and told the principal that she could find nothing physically, emotionally or academically wrong with the boy and recommended to him that the boy be moved in the general school body.

    "We can't do that", said the principal.

    "Why not?", asked my daughter.

    And the principal answered, "Because the teacher you replaced said the same thing and the boy's mother threatened to sue the school system if we put him back into the regular school body".

    In other words, as long as the boy was in Special Ed., the mama was getting a "crazy check" from the federal government and the local school board was more afraid the federal government would back the mama instead of backing the school board's decision to file fraud charges.

    No wonder they call it Public Screwel, anymore.

    Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. gloucesterman

    gloucesterman

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    Public education is broken for a lot of reasons beyond uninspired leadership. It's why many of the better off families now utilize private schools. The great tragedy is that millions of children are left behind, hopelessly unprepared to compete in an ever more technical world. It might just be time to rethink the whole system with an eye to what the future needs and how is that best achieved.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    It might just be time to rethink the whole system

    That is happening right now! At least it is trying. There is a new lady heading the DOE but the problem with the DOE as well as every other governmental body is that the vast majority is controlled by self-interested special interests, and they don't want anybody rocking their gravy train. IE, the world is full of crooks.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Excellent read. Sadly, many kids are making it to grad school without basic math skills outside of what they memorize for standardized exams. I taught a ecological modeling class for doctoral students only. I sent a questionnaire to the 8 students asking them about their math skills with a few simple Calculus questions. I invariably had to teach a 6 week summer primer to get the students up to speed on the basic Calculus necessary for the class. Sadly, it did not matter if the student graduated Stanford or State U. I am so damn glad I missed the sissification of education and helicopter parent phase. I got my ass whipped for bad grades, missed assignments, and God forbid, back talking a teacher or any adult.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    That is because they are dumbing down educational standards. I kid you not when I say that the average college grad of today knows much less then the high school grad when I went.

    I was in PT the other day and asked the new PT grad trainee there how many bones were in the human body.

    He didn't know. He is my physical therapist?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. indianafrank

    indianafrank

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    wyfbane, very well stated.

    If I taught today I'd be fired for sticking Billy in the corner of the classroom, and failing students who have no right to pass.

    I don't know where I'm going...but sooner or later I'll get there.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    Kids are moved on that really shouldn't be but I think they move them on to avoid hassles. Questions asked. Looks bad for the school. And another year might not do them much good anyway. The system is designed to regurgitate answers on a test, then you move on. A week or a month later, most kids have forgotten most of it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. wyfbane

    wyfbane

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    Thanks everyone! I appreciate your support.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. brian64

    brian64

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    Nothing will improve until you have separation of school and state. Or at the very least, separation of school and the federal government.

    The most important first step would be to abolish the federal DOE altogether and get the federal government completely out of the equation.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. pagan

    pagan

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    It might just be time to rethink the whole system

    ... getting a Dept of Education Sec who will support choice is a great start

    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. mso489

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    I was a faculty spouse to my late wife for 23 years, and several years before that before we were married. She had foreign students who were supposed to be merged in her regular literature classes. Parents would tell her what grade they expected for their child (boy, did they get straightened out ever so politely). At one time, I dreamed of teaching, but being married to an excellent teacher cured me of any illusions. I'm not patient, sociable, political, or confident enough to do that job. Being in front of thirty people most of the day, forget it. All homage to the teaching profession. How teachers survive education courses and administrators, I have no idea. We used to read the education texts from the required summer accreditation courses and ended up laughing until we rolled on the floor. I don't know who the authors or editors or publishers are, but they are ignorant scamming rascals.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. deathmetal

    deathmetal

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    I have seen other schools with sub par administrators as well. If you have an admin who is either a jerk or is him/herself disengaged you can find yourself in a position where burnout/disengagement has a much higher probability.

    A forgotten truth from our great grandfathers: leadership is a rare and important skill. They call it "administration" or "management" today, but not all who do it know it.

    "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner

    The Metal Mixtures
    Posted 2 years ago #

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