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good teachers rock the world...

updated mon 11 aug 03


primalmommy on sat 9 aug 03

I have all the respect in the world for teachers who have their hearts
in what they do. I had some good ones I will never forget and I owe them
a debt of gratitude. I WAS (i think) a good teacher, young and
idealistic, just out of college and trying not to be deflated by the
attitudes of some (not all, some) of the old timers in the teacher's

I remember in elementary ed classes being told, "here are new and
exciting ways to teach kids to read.. and here are all the reasons they
work... " and always it ended with, "unfortunately, you won't be allowed
to use this approach in most systems"... same for art, same for issues
like the problems with testing or grading, outlined by my education
profs but -- sadly -- as a teacher you have to work within the system,
accomodate the parents, and the folks making decisions (as I remember
it) have no clue about what goes on in the classroom or what teachers

I saw my college students change majors when they looked at their
student loans and found out what teachers earn. It's a travesty when
somebody like Jennifer Lopez (not picking on her, it's just that her
cleaveage happens to be flashing in an ad on my computer screen as I
write) can be a bazillionaire, but we don't value teachers enough to pay
them what they're worth.

In my part of the country, what is happening to the schools parallels
what is happening to the urban neighborhoods: everybody who can afford
to pulls out, and goes to the suburbs (and private schools).. then stops
caring about what happens to the system they abandoned. I used to get so
angry at students who acted superior because their expensive private
schools had better GPAs or fewer discipline problems or whatever.. it
never occurred to them that that their schools reserved the right to
kick out anyone who doesn't meet their 'standard" .. and the public
schools are expected to absorb all those kids, understaffed and

Please do not take my strong opinions as teacher bashing. I was one of
the teachers who felt under the thumb of a flawed system but believed
the kids deserved my best despite that. Possibly I have forfeited the
right to rant about it because when it came right down to it, I quit the
good fight and chose to stay home and teach my own.. at least for now.

The kind of world my kids will live in lies in the hands of people
teaching right now. The kind of crap teachers put up with from parents,
administrators, disruptive and even violent students, makes it another
one of those jobs that most people wouldn't do unless they had their
hearts in it ... certainly it isn't for the big bucks. I am still
concerned about the damage that can be done by a burned out or unkind
teacher.. but I could say the same about nurses, police officers,
anybody who has a major role in the lives of those who need them.

In the local secular homeschool group for which I am coordinator, we
have portfolios assessed by certified teachers at the end of the year.
This has never been an issue because a surprising number of
homeschoolers ARE certified teachers, some of them still teaching
school... or are married to teachers. One could infer that they don't
want their kids in the schools they work in... but one could also infer
that just because families homeschool doesn't mean they are not
invested, active in and supportive of schools.

Anyway don't pay me no nevermind. I see some prof/academia bashing on
this list, and folks have pointed at some nightmarish teachers, but I
don't think anybody blames teachers for the problems of the system. Even
folks who opposed the war supported the troops and were damn glad
somebody was there to take that role ('cause it's too scary for most of
us.) Teachers are the troops.

And don't mind that Phil, either... he's like a cross between
Shakespeare and Jack Kerouac, on speed... Phil, you're either a genius
or a total nutbar or both, but think of the acres of forest being saved
by your posts being published on line instead of in print... ;0)

I don't know if I had kids because I am an optomist or I am an optomist
because I had kids.. either way I wouldn't advise having them just to
find out..

Yours, off to bed, potter's guild shindig tomorrow...


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