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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Wendy....

(I refer you all to the most recent comment on "What Ails You")

Dear Wendy Graham-

I appreciate your comment on my recent blog post however, I have to ask Wendy... Did you even read my blog before commenting? The article you're asking me to consider contributing to is meant to be a positive, encouraging one with 100 reasons to become a teacher. In case you haven't noticed, I can no longer even come up with ONE!

Right now, after everything I've experienced in the last few years in both public and private institutions, I can see no good reason for any rational human being to become a teacher. Consider our current society. From almost day one children are encouraged to find entertainment in mind numbing video games and borderline inappropriate television shows. Parents spend more time shopping on EBay than reading to their kids. The average middle school student can't place the state of Massachusetts in national geography let alone tell you anything about contemporary history. High school students are graduating with the minimum of useful knowledge, having learned more about the continent of Africa than about the American Revolution. Teachers are governed by curriculum frameworks and standardized state testing, both of which are inherently flawed, being designed to essentially sap teachers of creativity while making it impossible for them to effectively pass on the love of learning.

Yes, I plan to spend the summer teaching a college course. I plan to teach college students who have chosen to sit in my class and soak up every word I say. However, I will teach each class knowing that the number of students continuing on to college will decrease incrementally year by year. I will also keep in the back of my mind the thought that many of my future students will have no idea about the history that effects the subject I will be teaching. Will they know about the Holocaust, who Hitler was, how the United States Eugenics movement contributed largely to Hitler's doctrines? Most likely not. Will they understand that just a few short decades ago there was no such thing as special education or disabilities advocacy? That some of them, if dyslexic or maybe hard of hearing, would never have been allowed in my class? Definitely not.

Today's students feel entitled to an education but they don't understand what education is supposed to mean to us as individual human beings. They attend school simply to make social connections that they may or may not use appropriately. Some will unmercifully bully others until the one being bullied takes irreversible action. Others will spend their days texting, updating their Facebook status, and planning the next big event. They see the movie instead of reading the book. They use Google instead of an encyclopedia. They download magazines instead of going to the library. They want everything at the speed of light.

And don't get me started on special education. At the risk of putting myself in a position where I will be blackballed from special educaiton until the year 2056, I will say that the diagnosing of special needs has gotten out of hand. On the other side of the coin though, the ill treatment of those with a true disability is abhorrent. Special education is an oxymoron. There's nothing special about it. And there's no education involved.

Before I rant to the point where my head explodes, let me wrap this up by saying, show me a teacher that isn't counting down to retirement and maybe I'll be able to think of a reason to get into the profession in the first place. In the meantime...

Reason #1 to Become a Teacher: Summers Off

Love and kisses,


  1. So. Um. How's the new job going?

  2. I got trolled by her too. What a tool.

    Oh, and ouch!

  3. You can't see it, but I'm giving you a standing ovation!

  4. I don't think she was asking if you wanted to CONTRIBUTE to the article. Read it again- I think she was asking if you wanted to read it! And it sounds to me like you could use some optimism!

    There are a lot of things wrong with the education system, and I may be new and idealistic and all that. But to me, some of the things so wrong with education are one of the biggest reasons for me to be a teacher.

    With so many things broken, they need strong, motivated teachers to make a difference. I may not be able to do everything, but I can do a little, and it's worth it to me. These kids need the good teachers teaching them the things they need to know more than ever because of all the things you've said.

    If you can't personally do it, that's fine. It's a hard job. But that doesn't mean it's wrong for any other human being. I'm sure your own experiences have led you to this conclusion, but I have seen special education classes that do educate, students who are taught outside of the history books, and teachers that understand students' affinity for technology can help them to learn.

    Just because you decided you had to get out doesn't mean that there's no good reason to become a teacher. I hope this was a rant and you aren't honestly so cynical that you believe that.