HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The Exhaustion Of The Ame...

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:36 AM

The Exhaustion Of The American Teacher

With the 2012-2013 American school year still in its infancy, it’s worthwhile to note that the people doing the actual educating are down in the dumps. Many feel more beaten down this year than last. Some are walking into their classrooms unsure if this is still the job for them. Their hearts ache with a quiet anguish that’s peculiarly theirs. They’ve accumulated invisible scars from years of trying to educate the increasingly hobbled American child effectively enough that his international test scores will rival those of children flourishing in wealthy, socially-advanced Scandinavian nations and even wealthier Asian city-states where tiger moms value education like American parents value fast food and reality TV.

The American child has changed, and not necessarily for the better. Many shrill voices argue that teachers must change, too, by simply working harder. The favored lever for achieving this prescribed augmentation of the American schoolteacher’s work ethic is fear, driven by a progressively more precarious employment situation.

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.
<snip>
Adults—not merely teachers—have caused these little ones to stumble, but journalists and nonprofits and interloping government experts offer not a hand to the young but rather a cat-of-nine-tails across the backs of their teachers. Injustice for teachers is confused with justice for kids.

“Waiting for ‘Superman’” told teachers they were terrible, callous, and incompetent, that only magnanimous charter school operatives could save victimized children from their rapacious clutches.

NCLB told teachers they would only be considered successful if 100% of their students passed 100% of their tests.

Condoleezza Rice told teachers they were so ineffective that they were a national security threat.

Chris Christie told teachers that when two or more of them gather, they are thugs. Suddenly, the apple-themed knit sweater is a symbol of American menace rivaling the leather biker jacket.

“Won’t Back Down” actors Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhall, Ving Rhames, and Holly Hunter used their art to communicate that teachers only want union protections so they can lock poor children in closets, and that the only way to protect children from the plague of heartless unionized miscreants mal-educating them across this land is by letting their parents hand over local schools to wholly benevolent charter school operators led by the friendly Mother Teresas behind Parent Revolution.

Teachers learned from Bobby Jindal that public schools are so lousy that Louisiana is better off paying for its children to attend private schools that no state official has ever visited, that teach any curriculum whatsoever, and that are exempt from any accountability mechanisms at all because, you know, the free market will ensure their quality. (Though choice will allow children to vote with their feet by leaving public schools too, you can bet that arcane accountability measures will remain firmly in place for them.)

StudentsFirst told America to distrust its teachers. Eric Hanushek told America that larger class sizes will improve education and, gee-whiz, they’re cheaper too, so why wouldn’t we grow them? Bill Gates seconded the motion.

Barack Obama told teachers he hated teaching to the test, and then he built Race to the Top of Test Mountain.

<snip>
And so we fix nothing. The American schoolteacher is exhausted. I am exhausted. Tom Petty once sang, “Let me up, I’ve had enough.” That. Please.
<snip>
http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-exhaustion-of-american-teacher-by.html?m=1

As Fanny Lou Hamer said, "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."

18 replies, 1977 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 The Exhaustion Of The American Teacher (Original post)
Are_grits_groceries Jan 2013 OP
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #1
gadjitfreek Jan 2013 #3
Are_grits_groceries Jan 2013 #6
justiceischeap Jan 2013 #8
narnian60 Jan 2013 #9
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #10
narnian60 Jan 2013 #13
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #15
gadjitfreek Jan 2013 #2
ReRe Jan 2013 #4
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #12
narnian60 Jan 2013 #14
gadjitfreek Jan 2013 #17
ReRe Jan 2013 #5
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #7
sadbear Jan 2013 #11
Puzzledtraveller Jan 2013 #16
Are_grits_groceries Jan 2013 #18

Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:46 AM

1. I'm hearing a lot of parent hate in this post

That doesn't help solve anything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:41 AM

3. Not hate...frustration.

I had a parent tell me "I don't know what to do with him!!" I have an idea...take away his cell phone!!!! Parents have this GIGANTIC bargaining chip to hold over their kids' heads...it used to be the car but the cell phone is so much better for this. If you can't maintain a certain level of grade, you lose the privilege of having a cell phone. Or at least disable their texting plan. Parents don't want to be the bad guy, they'd rather be their child's friend. Sorry...when they grow up, then you can be friends but until then act like the grownup in the situation. The job of raising kids has, in part, been passed off to teachers. Fortunately it is not entirely lost but it's far too common to have a parent who abrogates their parental responsibilities.

I had a kid who could never get to class on time. His mother's excuse? "He likes to take hour-long showers in the morning." Wait, what? Isn't it your job as a parent to make sure their lazy ass is out the door in time to get to school??? I had another kid who was proud of her drug use. Her mother's response? "Her dad is an alcoholic and we don't want her drinking so we let her do drugs." Sometimes parents are the ones in need of serious growing up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:20 AM

6. There are a lot of great parents.

However, you have never been hammered by parents who are beyond pissed because their kid was subjected to something they did not like. It may have been something beyond your control but they didn't care.
I have had the pleasure of dealing with a few who wanted nothing less than my job. These were over enforcing basic rules that everybody had to follow. Their kids were not to be held to those standards because they were special. The penalties were generally detention or a lower grade. NO, I am not kidding. Their kids were untouchable in their minds.

And woe be unto you if you have spineless administrators who want to do nothing but appease them. This is why unions are important. Without them, you my have nobody in your corner or the money for legal recourse.
I want bad teachers gone too. However, i do not want anybody gone unless there is concrete evidence of their problems. Too often, i saw administrators who never documented anything. When the time came, they relied on memory or gossip.
When I even wanted to send a kid to a counselor, I better have complete info about what I had done to help that student. I learned to build a chain of written events and my response before I even breathed about a student. This was in addition to trying to teach. The kids do deserve due process. I felt like I had better practically have witness statements in some cases.

This exhausted me more than trying to teach. It was also a major issue.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:44 AM

8. I'm surprised, of everything in that post, that's what you decided to focus on

I'm seeing a lot of anti-teacher propaganda in that post. Not from the writer themselves but examples of anti-teacher sentiment that seems to be the norm these days from films, politicians, parents, "journalism"...

You couldn't pay me enough money to be a teacher and I have great respect for those that choose to attempt to teach our children. On top of actually trying to educate kids, they have to deal with the daily threat of death (that's the new norm for teachers these days). Never know when a student or some lone nut is going to come into your school and shoot it up. They have to deal with the threat the if the union is taken away, they are done for. There will be nothing to protect them.

Yeah, I got that parents are frustrating from the post but that wasn't the biggest take away.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:39 AM

9. +100

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:38 AM

10. I have a son who is failing two classes

due to the new standardized test based education system we now have. Believe me I focus on all of it. I don't blame all of the teachers. My son has a wonderful English/social studies special education teacher. His math teacher however thinks my son who is at a 5th/6th grade math level who is learning an 8th grade math curriculum just isn't trying hard enough. Mostly I blame the people coming up with these ridiculous policies. But yes, there are good teachers and bad teachers. I absolutely adored my son's elementary school teacher. She knew just how hard to push, when to back off, and when to let him just have some alone time to decompress. She is one of the biggest reasons he made as many advances as he did when he was in elementary school. But yes as a parent I did comment on the parent hate that was in that post. I hear a lot of teachers on this website blame parents. I don't think teachers understand parents just as most parents don't understand teachers. There is no need for hate on either side. We need to work together to find solutions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:44 PM

13. Speaking as a parent and as a teacher (retired)

I understand where you are coming from, but I know the one thing we can all agree upon is that there are a certain amount of crummy teachers AND crummy parents out there. Luckily, in my experience, there were many more good parents than bad ones, and I hope that you can say that about your son's teachers. Unfortunately, the bad ones in either category make life miserable for those involved.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to narnian60 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:51 PM

15. I absolutely agree with that

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:37 AM

2. I am beyond exhausted.

The new APPR evaluation is still not complete, we have no idea how we are going to be evaluated and the pre-observation form we have to fill out takes an average of five hours to complete. I had completed mine, then we had a snow day the day of the observation so the observer rescheduled for a different lesson so I had to do it all over again. I have complete parental support even though their children have, for the most part, zero work ethic and will not take advantage of the massive amount of support materials (including tutorial videos on YouTube) that I made available to them. But I'm going to be held accountable for this? It's like if a diabetic ignored their endocrinologist's advice and just ate candy and fatty foods. We're going to hold the endocrinologist accountable for that? Either there is personal responsibility or there isn't. I work my ass off as a teacher, I put my whole life into it and now these profit-hungry bastards want to come in and destroy me. I have very little animosity towards most people but these education "reformers" (particularly this evil and sadistic Rhee character) deserve a special place in the hell I don't believe in but wish existed specifically for people like this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gadjitfreek (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:17 AM

4. I don't know...

...if there's a heaven or hell either, but I do know that karma is real. But I'm even losing faith in karma these days. Karma is way behind. You put a real face in this whole education dilemma we're in. I am not a teacher. I don't have any children or grandchildren in school. My children are grown. But my heart goes out to all of our teachers who are being put thru this maddening privatization crap. And that is all it is. Privatizing our precious teachers and children. It's evil. Period. Hang in there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gadjitfreek (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:57 AM

12. I never used the support material my teachers gave me

My kids do most of their homework on their own without any prompting from me, but kids are kids. Even my 18 yr old senior who works her butt off doing hours of homework doesn't do all of her homework. At some point her little brain says okay enough is enough I need some fun time. My son does most of his homework but he does not always do his math homework again because they have him learning an 8th grade curriculum when he has a 5th/6th grade understanding of it. I don't blame him for not wanting to do homework in that class. What's funny is he will gladly go to a math website and play math games but tell him to do math that is 2 to 3 years ahead of where he is and guess what he doesn't feel so enthusiastic. Kids are kids and they would rather play games than study subjects that their little brains cannot foresee will be beneficial to their future. They don't think about future careers, 401k(s), and mortgages. They think about sleeping in on Saturday mornings and watching their favorite tv show. My daughter is a senior and she has made it through her k-12 educational career, but I don't know how I'm going to get my son through the next 4 1/2 years. Believe me parents share your frustration with the whole system. We need educational leaders who beleive in teaching the whole child not just teaching them how to pass a test. Until we get some leaders who believe in our children again and not just in some statistical data sheet I don't know how we make things better.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:46 PM

14. Agreed & well said.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:48 PM

17. I give my students the time and support

DURING CLASS TIME, yet many choose not to take advantage of it. We differentiate instruction for kids who need it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:20 AM

5. K&R

...because this needs to be read by everyone....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:28 AM

7. Why? We have politicians running (I use that term loosely) education in this country...

Time to give serious thought to getting politicians out of the political business except for allocating funds... all they do is frak things up for everyone.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:47 AM

11. Shit rolls downhill.

And teachers are always on the bottom.

And as a former teacher, yes, I blame parents more than anyone. (I currently have two children in public schools. They have an advantage because I know what it takes to create a working relationship with teachers.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:53 PM

16. Can I add social workers and case workers?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:19 AM

18. By all means.

Many people minding and mending the social safety net are worn to the bone. They have too large a case load and people can get lost. It is virtually impossible to provide even a decent level of help to all of them.
I know there are those working who don't care. However, most do and work themselves silly.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread