Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unauthorized Thanks to Teachers from Ignorant People


Ignorant: Lacking in education or knowledge. Unaware or uninformed.
                       -American Heritage Dictionary

A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook followers if they would advise a young person considering a career in teaching to forge ahead or take a different path. Almost all of them said to avoid teaching. Many said that they LOVE teaching, but that they get to do so little of it these days with all of the red-tape, standardized testing, and requirements that it is not worth it anymore. Add to that the low pay, continually decreasing benefits, and lack of respect and it really does get depressing.

So, in this month of thanks, although I am completely unauthorized to do so, I offer these words of thanks from ignorant people who would surely thank you themselves if they had even the smallest inkling of what you do for their children, families, and country:

From the ignorant parent:
Thank you so much for your amazing dedication to my child. Thank you for taking my calls and maintaining a polite demeanor  even when I call you several times a week, in the evening, on your home phone. Thank you for promptly and patiently answering my long and often rude emails. Thank you for listening to my concerns and meeting my needs to the best of your abilities. Thank you for politely declining my suggestions when they are not actually in the best interest of my child or her classmates. Thank you for taking extra time with my child, even when he is part of a class of 36 other students. Thank you for doing so much more than the "babysitting" that I tell all of my friends you are doing. Thank you for spending your evenings and weekends grading papers, planning lessons, and creating materials for my child. Thank you for spending your money on  classroom supplies that I should be providing. Thank you so very much for dedicating the better part of nine months of your life to my child.

From the ignorant administrator:
Thank you for continuing to take on more and more unpaid responsibilities that I continue to heap on your shoulders. Thank you for filling out all of my paperwork, meeting all of my requirements (even the stupid ones), and attending a plethora of endless and often useless staff meetings. Thank you for dealing with my surprise visits to your classroom. Thank you for submitting detailed, common core aligned lesson plans each week. Thank you for finding creative ways to deal with the extremely limited number of copies I allow you to make and resources that I provide. Thank you for continuing to treat me politely when what you really want to say to me would not be at all pleasant. Thank you for persevering in this negative environment, which I have had a major hand in creating, so that your students thrive and our school gets good test results.

From the ignorant politician:
Even though I myself have never taught in a classroom, thank you for implementing all of my policies, regulations, and tests, that in most cases, do not accomplish the goal for which they were created, and in fact waste your extremely valuable time. Thank you for forgoing field trips,eliminating recess, and dropping most of the fun, creative, and inspiring parts of your curriculum so that you can spend that time prepping your students for the standardized tests I am requiring them to take each and every year. Thank you for continuing to teach to the best of your ability, despite the fact that I have lowered your pay and cut your benefits.

From the ignorant tax payer:
Thank you for giving our nation's children the skills they will need to thrive in our ever-changing world. Thank you for continuing to work in conditions that are less than optimal and sometimes downright dangerous. Even though I have demonized your profession and blame you (rather than poverty, abusive and neglectful parents, inner city gangs etc.) when children fail in school, I still appreciate that you are working to find new approaches and learn new strategies to help these children succeed. Thanks also for all of the things you teach our children that are not part of the academic curriculum such as accountability, perseverance, compassion, and citizenship. I appreciate that your influence has helped many at-risk young people to turn their lives around and become productive members of our society.

I want to wrap this post up by saying that I realize that I have written in broad generalizations that are obviously not true in every case. I also realize that some people may find this post offensive. But at this point, I am so appalled with the way that teachers are treated and regarded that I really don't care. It should also be noted, that I myself am not currently teaching. Quite frankly, I don't have it in me to teach in today's climate. I deeply admire those who do. 

29 comments:

Lisa Mattes said...

Great post. Soooo many true points. :)
Growing Firsties is having a Pete the Cat Giveaway that benefits Hurricane Sandy Relief!"

Trisha said...

Thank you for validating how I might feel on any given day!

Trisha

Dawn Miller said...

This post is sad but true. I have watched year after year the teacher being portrayed as the bad guy. Thanks for boldly putting a much needed reality check out there for the people who need it the most.

murfmom said...

Thank you so much for saying what we all,unfortunately, know is true.

~Stephanie said...

Standing up applauding.

~Stephanie
Teaching in Room 6

Theresa said...

I am so glad that you actually put into print what the world needs to hear. I love teaching, but I hate seeing that my son will enter the profession in just a year and a half.

shellyx6 said...

As a parent, that made me tear up a little bit. I've been planning on emailing the principal at my childrens school to let him know how much I appreciate his staff. I will definitely do this tomorrow morning. I make sure I tell the teachers how much I appreciate all their hard work but after reading this, I think I'll tell them a little more often. Thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for boldly putting into words that many teachers feel regularly. I wish we could take your words and shout it from the mountain tops!

Runde's Room said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this, Rachel! Thank-YOU so much - this was exactly what I needed this week (oh, who am I kidding ... this year!).

Jen
Runde's Room

A M Smith said...

Amen....So Glad you wrote it b/c I've felt way too much joy has been sucked out of teaching...like a little more each year. This is my 12th year. I often wonder if I can make it to retirement? We shall see!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!! If any of those mentioned would take the time to follow a teacher for an entire week (at school and at home) maybe they would realize what we sacrifice to educate their children.

Anonymous said...

Wow thanks soo much for putting into words what many of us feel on those days when we just dont know how much more we can take. I love teaching & your great resources make my life a little easier:)

Sally said...

Thanks, Rachel, for validating our feelings! In my 35 years of teaching, I've seen the work load grow and grow, while the paychecks and the respect diminish. Unfortunately, I've known all the people you listed.

Sally from Elementary Matters

Anonymous said...

Thank you.... just.... thank you! I quit 2 years ago and never looked back for ALL of the reasons you mentioned! The only thing I can say is that at least my principal was a really good one and I knew that a lot of the ridiculous policies came down from the damn politicians (the data, the meetings, the data meetings, etc.) or from top admin. No more spending thousands a year on books and supplies and being told I don't have a wide enough variety of 7th grade level books for Mama's little 2nd grade genius. No more watching kids bawl their eyes out because they missed their goal on those stupid frickin' speed reading tests (DIBELS, anyone?) by one word, even though they can run circles around the "top" readers when it comes to comprehension. No more being beaten up because a kid went from reading 0 words per minute at a 1st grade level to reading 45 in 3 months at a 3rd grade level, but it isn't good enough because she wouldn't reach the end-of-year goal for 4th graders. Screw all of it! Like I said... never looking back. Sad, but true.

Stacy Pearson said...

You hit the nail of the head Rachel! I loved the way you said it too. Very creative!

Sally said...

Thank you Rachel! True, but also entertaining to read!

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Thank you! We are trying so hard to stay positive. When we say those things it just sounds like whining and no one really wants to listen.

April Walker said...

Fabulous post!
~April Walker
ideabackpack.blogpot.com

Margarita said...

Hi!
I'm a Spanish teacher and I can tell you it's the same here :(
If you don't mind, I'll translate your post into Spanish so that my friends could read it.

Rachel Lynette said...

Hi Margarita,

I would love for you to translate the post! Please just remember to keep my name attached to it (and a link to the original post if you are posting online). Thanks!

Rachel

Patti Chambers said...

Ahhh! That was lovely!

Anonymous said...

So many of my peers who are wonderful teachers fantasize about leaving the profession because of all the "stuff" and the continually escalating finger pointing...myself included. Many are trying to find a way to actually do it. It's very sad, especially when we all actually enjoy the teaching part and are good at it!

Maria Manore said...

Ah, the life of a teacher....thanks for the great post!

I'm also participating in Charity's giveaway and I wanted to stop by and say "hi!"

Maria
Kinder-Craze

Jen said...

Awesome! =)

Jen said...

Awesome. =)

~HoJo~ said...

I actually just talked to a principal today who said that last year 185 staff members left their district. Seventy-five of those were retirements, with roughly 40 of those people choosing to take early retirement. The other 110 were people leaving the profession OR leaving the state to go somewhere with higher pay. Thanks for writing this!

Anonymous said...

Great post and oh, so true. I am looking to leave this job, which I used to love, because of all the reasons stated. Perhaps the only missing element is the thank you to the school board for requiring even more 21st century learners be produced in a classroom with NO computers! Ugh :-(

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting. I wish I could share or repin but sadly in MI a my publicly voiced OPINION can get me fired.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. This says so much about today's education. I've been doing this for 40 years and I'm tired. Not tired of teaching, but tired of all the other nonsense that goes with it. The pressure is starting to show and I don't know if I'll stay much longer. Makes me sad.

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