HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » A must-read: "The E...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:07 PM

A must-read: "The Exhaustion of the American Teacher"

The Exhaustion of the American Teacher
September 12, 2012 By John Kuhn

< . . . >

But teachers by and large aren’t afraid; they’re just tired.

Meanwhile, no one is demanding American non-teachers change anything. Michelle Rhee wastes none of her vast supply of indignation on American public policies that leave a quarter of our children in poverty while, not coincidentally, the profits of Rhee’s corporate backers reach new heights. And no one but Paul Tough dares to hint at the obvious-but-politically-incorrect reality that a swelling army of kid-whipped or addiction-addled American parents have totally abdicated the job of parenting and have raised the white flag when it comes to disciplining their children or teaching them virtues like honesty, hard work, and self-respect. Americans have explicitly handed off character education to schoolteachers. Such a practice says a great deal about our nation’s expectations of its parents.


< . . . >

Truth is, the problem with the American student is the American adult. Deadbeat dads, pushover moms, vulgar celebrities, self-interested politicians, depraved ministers, tax-sheltering CEOs, steroid-injecting athletes, benefit-collecting retirees who vote down school taxes, and yes, incompetent teachers—all take their turns conspiring to neglect the needs of the young in favor of the wants of the old. The line of malefactors stretches out before our children; they take turns dealing them drugs, unhealthy foods, skewed values messages, consumerist pap, emotional and physical and sexual traumas, racist messages of aspersion for their cultures, and countless other strains of vicious disregard. Nevertheless, many pundits and politicians are happy to train their rhetorical fire uniquely on the teachers, and the damnable hive-feast on the souls of our young continues unabated. We’re told not to worry because good teachers will simply overcome this American psychic cannibalism and drag our hurting children across the finish line ahead of the Finnish lions.

< . . . >

18 replies, 2299 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply A must-read: "The Exhaustion of the American Teacher" (Original post)
markpkessinger Dec 2012 OP
sabrina 1 Dec 2012 #1
madfloridian Dec 2012 #2
ancianita Dec 2012 #3
VPStoltz Dec 2012 #4
AnneD Dec 2012 #5
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2012 #6
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #7
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2012 #10
katmille Dec 2012 #8
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2012 #9
femmocrat Dec 2012 #11
AnneD Dec 2012 #15
Lifelong Protester Dec 2012 #12
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #13
markpkessinger Dec 2012 #16
Ninga Dec 2012 #14
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #17
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #18

Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:34 PM

1. Good article. But those attacking teachers, Rhee and her ilk, are not interested in

children, they are interested only in money and the privatization of Public School funding.

Bush's NCLB was a cynically named and cynical attack on the Public School system and that attack has continued under this administration. It is all about privatization, just as the attacks and lies about SS is all about privatization of that fund also.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:52 PM

2. Great article by Kuhn. I do think teachers are more than tired, they ARE fearful.

Very fearful for their careers, as well they should be.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:07 PM

3. I'm so glad you posted this. Teachers know one thing: they will commit to communities

that commit back to them. Otherwise, they're answering a "calling" which might take them to a place that validates and appreciates their knowledge, skills and holistic approach to children more. They have families, too, and their calling isn't their families' same calling.

The public context of public education is everything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:16 PM

4. Two things: if only parents would make sure their children came to school PREPARED TO LEARN - and -

if only the administration would get out of the way and LET TEACHERS TEACH!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:35 PM

5. Now if the students scores are not as high as they should be.....

It affects your ratings. And the kids are tested to death. They come in to middle school reading on a 4 th grade level. You work your ass off and bring them up to a 6th grade level but they are 7th graders. You are a bad teacher and are put on probation. Your student's dad is in jail and mom is working 2 part-time minimum wage jobs. He tries to do homework but the street calls and he has no supervision or an example. He comes in late sleeps through your class and doesn't pass, but you are the bad teacher...you didn't get through to him....

I work as a middle school nurse and I don't see how these teachers do it. I don't think I can stand 2 more years. Espically if I have anymore day like I had last week. Kid took some pills, shared them and both started hallucinating in class. Now honestly, how much learning did those kids have, and how much quality teaching do you think their teacher was able to do that day. I know I was a nervous wreck. Restraining that kid was like an aerobic workout. Someone else had to deal with the other student.

But it is the teachers fault for not reaching each kid in her overcrowded classroom. What a pile of poop.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnneD (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:52 PM

6. Not to mention that principals play favorites

New teachers or teachers the principals don't like get stuck teaching the basic classes with slow learners as "punishment". Teachers that they like are "rewarded" with honors students who can practically teach themselves. In Texas, most of the secondary principals are ex-coaches, so they always give coaches good teaching assignments. I had a masters in science education but was never going to get more than one or two periods of biology, my main teaching field, because those classes were set aside for coaches who had majored in PE. Remember the comic strip Funky Winkerbean with the coach that was always showing films? We had a coach that would go sign up for a TV and VCR for every Friday for the entire school on the first day of in-service. But he always got great evaluations because the soccer team got trophies. That was in the days before standardized tests though. I'm sure he retired as soon as he could.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:01 PM

7. Your post captures, in a nutshell, a serious problem in American education: the

 

hugely outsized influence athletics plays. My father taught math for many years in western Kansas and said the athletes in his classes missed many days b/c they were always traveling to this or that athletic contest on buses and so 'excused' from class. It used to drive him insane.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:33 PM

10. Yeah, and athletics was the only way they got out of class

I was the sponsor of the science club one year and some of my students were interested in watching a surgery. They don't do surgery on weekends except for emergencies, so it would have been on a weekday. I couldn't do it. The only thing that kids could get out of class for was something that could bring back a trophy. Just a learning experience wasn't enough.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:06 PM

8. Let's hear from the teachers

I hope you are listening to the teachers. As an educator for 42 years (classroom teacher, then guidance counselor) I had to deal with so many people trying to say "what teachers need" -- business people, lawyers, media people, politicians -- when not of these people had spent one hour in a classroom. The general public has no idea what teachers have to deal with and it is time to give teachers a voice. Even as a guidance counselor, I can't tell you how often I deferred to a teacher because she (or he) saw that student EVERY day, and I only saw the student occasionally. Listen to the teachers!! They know what they are talking about. They know what students need. They know what schools need.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to katmille (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:27 PM

9. Yup, Bill Gates went to private schools his whole life

He never spent a day in public schools even as a student! Arne Duncan ran charter schools. Margaret Spellings experience with public schools was only as a student. I know. I went to school with her 3rd through 12th grade. She majored in political science in college; no experience with public schools as a teacher or an administrator Rod Paige had a career in public education, but he was never a classroom teacher, he was a coach! God dammit! The Secretary of Education should be a teacher!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to katmille (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:04 PM

11. Thank you!

Very true.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to katmille (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:25 PM

15. I always consider the teacher's judgement....

and frequently back them up (esp with the non verbal special ed kids). What the adminestration and principals need to do is help the teachers do their job, not micromanage them.

Now Rod Paige did teach...but it was as a coach teaches. He use to crack me up. He always pronounced 'administration' as 'menstruation'. It was a constant source of smirks for us Nurses. We figured that since the administration was frequently on the rag, he was correct in his pronunciation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:08 AM

12. Certainly tired of outside 'experts'

tired of doing more, and I mean MORE with less, and I mean LESS

tired of mandates

tired of things that take teachers away from instruction (see mandate listed above)

tired of being blamed for all of society's ills

tired of being compared to countries where they acutally give a crap about teachers and education, where everyone has health care, cradle to grave

tired of being the punching bag of politicians

tired of being seen as the next place some corporation can make a buck.

In short, we are tired.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:13 AM

13. +100000000000

I'd write more, but I'm too damned tired.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:32 PM

16. I have two sisters who are teachers . . .

Actually, one of them retired at the beginning of the year. I've seen first hand the kind of dedication they've brought to their vocations that has gone mostly unrewarded. I've heard, over many years, the frustrations of ever-changing state mandates, meddling administrators, etc. So i'm right there with you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:17 PM

14. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:35 PM

17. kr

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:50 PM

18. In my lifetime,teaching has changed a LOT

When I entered school in 1954, the teachers were all women..and I never even had a young woman as a teacher until about 6th grade. Until then, they were ALL single women who "claimed" us as "their" kids.

A whole era of single female teachers was gradually replaced by younger women who often were married and had families of their own. They were no longer "available" to work all those extra (probably unpaid) hours, because they had obligations to their own family.

Women had few options for work back then. They could be a nurse, a secretary, a "salesgirl", or a teacher.. That was pretty much the gamut for most.

A woman who was 30/40-something in the 50's & 60's , would have been school age or better during the depression and very few of them attended/graduated from college. Women of that era married young and often had many children, so going to college after marriage/high school was not the norm. The women who were "spinsters" were usually the ones who (because they had no husband to rely on) HAD to support themselves, so if they could manage it, they went to secretarial school or teacher's college.

As unmarried women, they were believed to be always-available, and eager to stay late, come early and to always do whatever was needed from them.

Women who were born in the 40's & beyond had more options , and since marriage combined with work was not unusual by then, they also had families of their own and teaching was a job for them...not as much as an avocation, as an occupation. It's no wonder that teachers started pushing back.

there are just so many hours in the day and they have families of their own.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread