Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lunchtime Rant

During my lunch break I was reading comments about the possible Chicago teachers' strike. I'm going to be lucky if my blood pressure doesn't kill me. When did half the country decide that teachers are the root of all evil? I work 9 hours a day during the week, plus another 5 or 6 on the weekend teaching 6 classes, each with 35 students, how to read, write, and think critically. Despite the challenges the kids bring with them, most of them work hard and are good kids. Apparently, I'm just a lazy public employee who never works, couldn't handle a real job, and gets paid an exorbitant amount. I'd love to see the commenters get 200 students actively and enthusiastically engaged in a lesson, grade dozens of essays, break up a fight, work metal detectors, call parents of struggling students, differentiate instruction to handle kids of all types, mentor a new teacher who doesn't know how to handle a troubled student, and reread King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" for tomorrow's lesson before lunch. That is what this lazy teacher has done for his exorbitant 50 thousand dollars so far today.

I'm furious with how we have become scapegoats for the right wing.  I feel a calling to educate low income students for not a lot of money.  I grew up poor.  I know firsthand  how important education is to survive.  I chose to teach so I could make a difference.  It may be a cliche, but it is also true.  Somehow this choice makes me public enemy number 1.

3 comments:

Elisa said...

Bravo (brava?). Do you think we will live long enough for the current national education system to be thrown out entirely and revamped? What will be the impetus for change? It certainly doesn't seem to be coming from NEA or any other teacher advocate groups.

Elisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marc B said...

The US is at the intersection where the strong collective bargaining of public employee unions is shining a light on how dismally a large chunk of the private sector workforce is paid, hence the backlash. The main problem though is the declining revenue in cities with elected officials now having to rework contracts to avoid deeper budget deficits. If the revenue was there, big city mayors would rather not go after teachers and other essential service professionals. But with diminished revenue caused by wage stagnation, the pain of the private sector will eventually impact many public sector employees.

Instead of lashing out at teachers, commentators should be angry at the forces of Globalization that have wrought havoc onto the US standard of living. This is what you get when both major political parties promote free trade, cheap labor, outsourcing, H1B visas, NAFTA, GATT, and entry into WTO. Remember the "Battle in Seattle"...