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unleashed vitriol toward teachers - oh?

updated tue 12 aug 03


pdp1@EARTHLINK.NET on sat 9 aug 03

Hi Nanci,

I 'condem' the institution of 'schools' utterly and without
any hesitation whatever..

I have no hostility toward 'teachers'...

Nor have I any hostility worth mentioning, toward anyone.

I percieve all concerned to be victims, more or less, of
eachother's acquiescences to a process as is dehumanizeing.

Do you feel that I have unleashed any 'Vitriol'?

If so, please address me as an individual?

If I am not among the abstract 'whom' as you address, then
would you allow me the pleasure of knowing that?

Try it!

It would do you good...!

And know please Nanci, there are likely no more than four or
maybe five (out of over three Thousand) People on this
'list' as have said anything as may be taken as censure or
reproof or disapproval of 'schools'...and NONE about
'teachers' generally....let alone as may intimate of
'Vitriol'...and at most, maybe two as have said anything
'strong' as I can recall...and I am one of them.

I have observed a complicity between the actions of
abandonment by parents, of Children, to 'schools', and thus
to teachers as exploit the anxieties of that abandonment
under the guise of 'teaching' them something.

Is that what you mean?

So maybe you have no basis to worry on that score. You have
endless approveing comrades and a vast perponderance of
People 'on' your have the whole nation on your
side, the federal and state governments on your side, you
have in effect over two-hundred-and-fifty-million people
'on' your side...

So..lets say (so far as the 'list' goes...) it is about as
three thousand - to - two, maybe... so far as 'sides', in
that way of affinity...

I am 'against' the present form of 'school'...whether we
think we have good-teachers or bad-teachers. Period.

Maybe I will find one or two people as MAY agree,
and then again maybe not.

So...lets say so far as for 'sure'...there is just me.

One 'against' three thousand... is still too scarey?

Try anyway!

I am happy to discuss it with you as long as you like.

May I make a suggestion?

Begin by telling the most essential terms possible
for you...WHAT it is you 'teach'?

We may have a constructive foray into these matters, and I,
as a reciprocal courtesy, will tell you anything you should
ask me for.

Fair enough?


Best wishes,

Las Vegas

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nanci Bishof"
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 1:18 PM
Subject: Unleashed Vitriol Toward Teachers

> I am a teacher and an artist who is a member of this list.
Over time there
> have been several barrages of vitriol unleashed against
teachers and the
> education system. I and other teachers who I've emailed
off list have picked
> up on
> the hostility toward us. Personally, it makes me feel
unwelcome to be a
> member
> of this list.
> I know of no teacher who rises in the morning thinking of
ways to
> deliberately damage the psyche of any student. Perhaps I
am just blessed to
> be among
> those who truly care about our students. Most of us are at
school early or
> stay
> late or do both. Most of us carry our jobs home with us
literally and
> figuratively in order to provide our students with
appropriate, timely
> feedback on their
> work, develop lessons that relate to their lives and that
will help to make
> them want to learn. Most of us worry for their futures as
we do for our own
> children. We want them to be prepared not just in
knowledge but in skills
> that
> will carry them beyond the knowledge. Often that effort is
unmet by the
> student,
> the parent or the community.
> Yes, we meet in rooms arranged to facilitate communication
to a large group.
> We don't have the luxury of just a few students within the
class. Rooms
> within
> buildings specialized to help provide the resources for an
environment for
> learning help us to be successful. The only thing I've
known a teacher strive
> to
> control are the environment and behaviors supportive of
learning. Most of us
> think of ourselves as facilitators. We can present
information in a learning
> friendly environment and manner. We can help guide a
student toward
> achievement. We can't however do it for them.
> Unlike the factory that has control over the 'quality' of
its components and
> can send back to the supplier inferior goods, the public
schools can't and
> wouldn't want to send back the students that don't meet
the highest
> standards.
> Our job is to provide the environment and opportunity for
all to learn.
> Unlike
> the factory, we aren't interested in 'cookie cutter'
outcomes that are
> identical. Teachers celebrate the development of
independent thinking and
> achievements
> of their students beyond the expected benchmarks for
> Teachers are only 1/5th of the equation. The rest of that
equation includes
> the parent, the student, the community and the government.
How many of you
> have
> lobbied for your legislators to fully fund the needs of
education? How many
> of you are willing to pay taxes to support that funding?
How many of you
> volunteer your time in your community's schools? How many
within your
> community are
> functionally literate, capable and willing to prepare
their children for
> learning? How many aren't and how many who are volunteer
to fill the void?
> Your
> teachers do. We can make far more money in industry, have
better benefits and
> retirement packages than we do on average in teaching.
> Too many of our kids, and yes, teachers do call them 'our
kids' come to
> school without having enough sleep for them to physically
stay awake or fully
> participate in learning because they're too tired. How
many come to school
> without
> proper nutrition which does impair their ability to learn?
How many come to
> school with inadequate or inappropriate attire for a
learning environment?
> How
> many have parents that don't send them the message that
school and learning
> are
> important? How many parents don't go beyond their child's
response that there
> is no homework, they did okay on the test or they've
turned in all their
> work? How many parents don't begin to provide the basics
of a physically or
> emotionally safe environment for their children? Too many
for me to count.
> The
> number of parents not providing these necessities far
outnumbers those who do
> today. That's the environment teachers are working within
in our society
> today. Oh,
> and please don't assume that because a child lives in a
nice home, in a
> 'good' neighborhood, their family is religious and has
enough resources to
> provide
> for them appropriately that the child has a safe
environment. Teachers know
> better.
> I suggest that each one of you try to be part of the
solution rather than
> part of the problem. Our schools desperately need your
help rather than your
> condemnation. Our children's futures as well as our future
as a country and
> our
> form of government as a democracy is dependent on the
education of our
> children.
> There is nothing more important than the education of our
> Everything else falls from that.
> nanci bishof
> Send postings to
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your
> settings from
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached

Nanci Bishof on sun 10 aug 03


any hesitation whatever..>

When you condemn the 'institution' you condemn those that are that
institution. In this case you condemn the people that are the heart of any school, its
teachers. Without them, there is no school, just a building.

eachother's acquiescences to a process as is dehumanizeing.>

Teachers are not victims. They make an active choice to teach. They make that
choice in the face of low pay & scorn from many thinly disguised by some but
blatant by those who do little if anything to cure what ails schools. Our
society loves scapegoats and currently, teachers within the public educational
system are it. Private schools are perceived to do a better job of educating
kids. In reality there is not substantiation of that charge. They are exempt from
certification, standardized testing or the publishing of the results should
they choose to do so. They also generally have a hand picked populace with
parents that are interested and supportive of the educational process. They do not
have to deal with disruptive students; they expel them from their schools.
Neither do they have to take all comers through their doors. Rarely will you see
a private school that will while public schools accept them willingly.

eachother's acquiescences to a process as is dehumanizeing.>

To educate is to humanize. Your charge is way off base. Education allows us
to go beyond the provision of the basic needs of survival to elevate ourselves
and turn our gaze from ourselves toward the benefit of others.

abandonment by parents, of Children, to 'schools', and thus

to teachers as exploit the anxieties of that abandonment

under the guise of 'teaching' them something.>

Phil, do you even realize the attack you make on the integrity of teachers
you create when you say teachers exploit children? That is the point you make in
the above statement. By accusing us as exploiters of children you paint us as
despicable monsters. In my opinion you have a very warped view of both the
education system and those that comprise it. And yes, I do think you are one of
those I referenced who lease vitriol upon teachers.

The subject I teach is art. What I teach are skills for living; creative
thinking, problem solving, critical analysis, appreciation for viewpoints and
messages other than our own. I also teach math skills and concepts as well as the
language arts we use in description or explanation. I guide my students to an
appreciation for the interconnections between what is produced in art, the
conditions of society, belief systems, and the government of the inhabitants of
an area. I guide them to see the beauty in art made by less skilled hands than
those of a master. I guide them to see that assessment should include
incorporating the knowledge base and skill level of the creator of the artwork not
just how it stacks up to the Western European masters. I lead by example through
participating in giving back to our community through our art by serving on
the organizational committee for brAIDS' ArtReach and donating works to local
charities for fundraising events. As a class we create bowls every year for the
Empty Bowls project. I also teach fairness in dealings, respect for others,
socially acceptable behaviors, dispute resolution and hopefully responsibility.
The age group I teach is middle school and they range in age from 11 to 17. I
don't hold them responsible for their parents, but do hold their parents
responsible for them.


Jan L. Peterson on mon 11 aug 03

I did two years, fifth and sixth grades, at a Private school. They moved
things right along. Kept you really busy. Homework every night. When I went back
to the public schools, I had had most of the subjects we studied until my
Junior year. I was bored, bored. If it had been for research papers, journalism,
and the library, I would have been a disruptive student. No teacher would call
on me after the first month, because they wanted to give the slower students a
chance. I had no parent to fight this, and didn't know how to do it myself.