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Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:25 PM

Why people look down on teachers

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-people-look-down-on-teachers/2012/09/14/0347c52a-fddf-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_blog.html#pagebreak



<snip>

It’s odd. Even if you’re the most toolish striver — i.e., many of the people I grew up with — teachers are your ticket to the Ivy League. And if you’re an intellectually ambitious academic type like me, they’re even more critical. Like I said, people move to Chappaqua for the schools, and if the graduation and post-graduate statistics are any indication—in my graduating class of 270, I’d guess about 50 of us went onto an Ivy League school — they’re getting their money’s worth. Yet many people I grew up with treated teachers as bumptious figures of ridicule — and not in your anarchist-critique-of-all-social-institutions kind of way.

It’s clear where the kids got it from: the parents. Every year there’d be a fight in the town over the school budget, and every year a vocal contingent would scream that the town was wasting money (and raising needless taxes) on its schools. Especially on the teachers (I never heard anyone criticize the sports teams). People hate paying taxes for any number of reasons — though financial hardship, in this case, was hardly one of them — but there was a special pique reserved for what the taxes were mostly going to: the teachers.

In my childhood world, grown ups basically saw teachers as failures. “Those who can’t do, teach” goes the old saw. But where that traditionally bespoke a suspicion of fancy ideas that didn’t produce anything concrete, in my fancy suburb, it meant something else. Teachers had opted out of the capitalist game; they weren’t in this world for money. There could be only one reason for that: they were losers. They were dimwitted, unambitious, complacent, unimaginative, and risk-averse. They were middle class.

No one, we were sure, became a teacher because she loved history or literature and wanted to pass that on to the next generation. All of them simply had no other choice. How did we know that? Because they weren’t lawyers or doctors or “businessmen”— one of those words, even in the post-Madmen era, still spoken with veneration and awe. It was a circular argument, to be sure, but its circularity merely reflected the closed universe of assumption in which we operated.

<snip>

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why people look down on teachers (Original post)
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 OP
loli phabay Sep 2012 #1
hughee99 Sep 2012 #7
MichiganVote Sep 2012 #8
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #9
loli phabay Sep 2012 #19
meaculpa2011 Sep 2012 #22
roguevalley Sep 2012 #18
dkf Sep 2012 #2
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #3
dkf Sep 2012 #10
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #11
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #14
Smarmie Doofus Sep 2012 #20
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #15
Smarmie Doofus Sep 2012 #4
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #5
coalition_unwilling Sep 2012 #16
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #17
cr8tvlde Sep 2012 #6
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2012 #12
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #13
woo me with science Sep 2012 #21
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #23
gulliver Sep 2012 #24

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:36 PM

1. id say another reason is that for every good teacher a person had they had a bad one

 

teachers are like every other profession there is good and bad unfortunately you tend to remember the bad more.

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Response to loli phabay (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:03 AM

7. Good point, and beyond that, you may go through life

having to only deal with a few different doctors, lawyers, etc... and if you find ones you like, you tend to try to keep with them. For teachers, you have to have many, many different ones. Since most people would likely deal with more teachers during their life than they might with many other professions, the chances of finding a few bad ones increases.

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Response to loli phabay (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:16 AM

8. Actually lousy students and even lousier parents remember the "bad" ones

Good students and good parents only bother to recall the good ones.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:21 AM

9. Excellent point.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:42 AM

19. you really believe that, sorry but even the best of students can have a crap teacher at some point

 

i can guarentee most people have a t least one teacher that didnt exactly inspire them.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 10:16 AM

22. I guess I'm a lousy parent...

for pulling my son out of a class with a teacher who could barely read, write or speak.

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Response to loli phabay (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:40 AM

18. actually, for me after nearly 30 years in

we were the lowest rung of government anyone could pummel within their reach, we were the ones who got a career when plenty of others got married, bought cars etc. and we are educated and they didn't go. I got called a socialist by a parent in 1978.

And last but not least. Everyone went to fifth grade so everyone is an expert.

Never underestimate the cretinism of people who think its easy. One male, a doctor came to help in a first grade party my class had. He helped and then walked to the door and stood staring out. I went up and asked how he was and he looked at me and said, "I don't know how you do it."

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:43 PM

2. I think you only gain an appreciation for teachers when you realize how hard it is to grab kids

 

Attention and keep the class in order. That takes a lot of skill.

Back in the clueless days of college, the assumption we had was the classes were pretty easy and the job allowed for a lot of time off. Most of the guys I knew who became teachers did it because they wanted summers off to surf. Seriously. The women did it because they "liked kids".

But I think it is the reality of being in the classroom that is the shocker. The truth is its TOUGH.

The realization that it is a tough job is what turned me into a believer in reform. I do not believe that teaching is easy so that anyone can do it well. It takes very special people with great communication skills. That makes me more disposed to the idea that not everyone should have tenure.


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Response to dkf (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:46 PM

3. That would take a willful misunderstanding of tenure, to take that position. nt.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:22 AM

10. Call it tenure or job security or whatever you like...

 

My mother got her degree in education, then realized she wasn't very good at keeping a classroom of kids in line so she found something else to do.

Teaching is too important to keep people who don't do it well.

It's just as important as a doctor, maybe even more so. Would you want to keep a doctor who wasn't up to it?

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Response to dkf (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:23 AM

11. So she opted out, yes?

Tenure is for people who stay and are good at it, not for people who suck, like dear old mam.

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Response to dkf (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:27 AM

14. that's why she got out, like about 50% of newbies do within their first five years. plus there

 

are 3-5 probationary years before you get anything like job security (i won't call it 'tenure,' because these days, it isn't.)

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 03:25 AM

20. We should stop calling it that. "Due process" is closer to what it really is.

>>> (i won't call it 'tenure,' because these days, it isn't.)>>>>

Or maybe "retention rights."

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Response to dkf (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:28 AM

15. and not "everyone" does. don't know where you got that idea.

 

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:50 PM

4. This is the tone I pick up, esp from NY Times editorials on the subject:

>>>>And when I hear journalists and commentators, many of them fresh out of the Ivy League, talking to teachers as if they were servants trying to steal the family silver, that’s what I hear. It’s an ugly tone from ugly people.>>>>>>.

And some columnists. Brooks and Kristoff come to mind.

Esp. Kristoff. He's turned know-nothingness into a fucking art form.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:53 PM

5. +1

We're just in the way. No accusation too scurrilous. We're running wild through taxpayer money, like nude gazelles, etc. It's so mindlessly random, but relentless...

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:29 AM

16. I really don't understand why any sentient being would choose

 

teaching as a profession in the United States any longer, given the virulent anti-intellectualism that underpins much of the current contempt for teachers and pedagogy.

It's really a shame, because I really do believe in the power of universal public education to produce broad social beneifts. But I can't blame anyone who, looking at the current climate, opts not to become a teacher.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:35 AM

17. I like working in a system that isn't geared toward profit.

I teach art, so my subject isn't (yet) given a battery of tests. I know that despite all the obstacles, I am giving students a way to look at the world that is slightly subversive. Lots of personal reasons, I guess. I'm an aging punk and an anti-capitalist. I've found my niche. It would be hard to encourage young people to enter this profession these days though.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:58 PM

6. I'll never forget the excitement...all those years of education...first day of school

and there I stood, 21 years old, in front of 32 eager first graders...terrified.

OK...Pledge of Alliegance...check. Call the roll. check. Sing some songs. Check. And I swear those kids knew I was new, but we all just fell in love and managed just fine.

Kind of like your first kid...what to do? But we all survived.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:24 AM

12. General American anti intellectualism

Not limited to teachers. Today I had a talk with a lawyer on a hot item over this site over a certain thing. Well, after talking about it, he said I was right in my understanding, he gave up on those arguments with most folks outside his profession, mostly we have cartoon level understanding of a multiplicity of issues, and we lack any and all intellectual curiosity

Suffice it to say I will take his advise and surrender the field on multiple intellectual pursuits. If it don't fit on a bumper sticker it ain't worth it.

Teachers and attitudes over teachers and book learning are just one of the many icebergs regarding this. Nor do I expect the country to develop that curiosity. The know nothing's of the 1740s, the first group in a long series of know nothing's, win.

I will add, I support education, but at this point within this environment, glad I don't have kids.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:26 AM

13. I haven't experienced that generalized level of animosity the writer has. People here generally

 

say good things about our teachers, even if they're less appreciative of teachers "somewhere else".

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 10:12 AM

21. Well, now there is a corporate, right-wing, coordinated attempt to do so,

and it has infested both parties.

Education is "The Big Enchilada," after all.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002967097

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #21)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:18 PM

23. Yep.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:33 PM

24. Ignorance

A lot of ignorant people only see the taxes and the bad teachers. But the taxes going to teachers come right back into the local economy to pay the wages of other people. And the better teachers do, the better the future will be.

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