Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Miss Crabtree? Really!

Even Miss Crabtree would be vilified, yes, Miss Crabtree!
Last year at this time I was engaged in the usual teacher's routine of early September and my thoughts were pretty much swirling around the perimeter of my classroom.  But today, aside the personal moment of silence for 9/11, I can't get away from the billboard-sized event of the strike in Chicago. Well, the union issues finally made the front pages of the NY Times and another column by Joe Nocera. In this situation we need to be in front of how the teachers are portrayed because there is an army of media people in the deep pockets of the privatization movement who are out to demonize us with broad strokes. Is it that they think teachers are coddled education slackers who get compensated enormous sums from the strangled tax payer for sitting behind a desk... and with the summer off?  Or perhaps they think we have a different agenda, perhaps a grand conspiracy to create a generation of illiterate welfare recipients?  I really don't know what happened to the image of Miss Crabtree?  Maybe they think we just don't care? Or then maybe it is just a union thing, you know, collective bargaining and all that.  We know schools are failing, hell, we are in them, but we as teachers also know the students and why they are failing.  Look in your old yearbook and see if you have any extracurricular activities at your school.  I can name about six kids I knew in my 8th grade class who would not have been in school were it not for JV Football. Look at my school's 2012 yearbook: we have band (during school) and track (no more) and rock band (also, no more with the teacher excessed). That is it and that is pathetic. This is not news for teachers. I think even most teachers would agree with the precept that we have to make the kids care, to care about something that matters: if not about educating themselves for the love of learning, then at least about getting prepared for a career, or at least a job, or maybe about getting a HS diploma, or of getting to school, of getting up out of bed, of getting up at all.
What on earth do these education deformers know about teaching? The very first thing is a near insurmountable task of making many of these children care about anything. But we try and try and though it is sometimes thankless and often without any real results, you do get to see those standardized test scores at the end of the year and reminisce "Yeah, hey what ever happened to what's his number? 789478 ?  Did he ever graduate?"
And what happens when the kid and their parents do care? They are invited to a charter school.  I watched it today in the hallway at school.  A parent was in with his bright and smiling, young daughter and they were coming to tell her teacher that she was leaving.  Teacher, "...oh back to Puerto Rico?" "No, to the charter school," she said.


  1. So who should be blamed with the recent events? This event should serve as a warning to other states that there should be an option learning once teachers go on strike, like online secondary education degrees maybe?

  2. yeah right. What a scam - just so you know.