Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can I Vent?

Now that summer vacation is here, can I vent?

What is the message a parent sends to their child when at the end of the year they give a very nice gift to the teacher whose class their child earned an “A”? Notice I said “earned” teachers do not give grades. It happens every year, there are times when I am the recipient, and there are times I am not. It is so wrong. They often include a little note that requires you “read between the lines” it may as well say: "Ms. So & So is a bitch... make sure you show her your gift."

Times are tough and if you spent on each teacher it can be costly. Why can’t parents teach the value of a thank you? Some of the treasures I keep are the heartfelt notes telling me about an animated dinner conversation where their child gave the family a history lesson on the Persian Wars or What if Spain's Armada was victorious?

I have come to the conclusion everything that is wrong with our profession comes down to one thing RESPECT or lack of respect in some cases.

It is not just the parents lack of respect either. I was at the mailboxes at school when a veteran teacher pulled out a paper with next year’s assignment. In one fell swoop she found out she is teaching another grade level, on another team and her room was changing. I have seen it happen over and over again. Administrators look at scores, and then move teachers around like they are playing checkers. Often the teachers with the best scores or strongest discipline get screwed because “someone” thinks they can fix anything. The first time I was selected Teacher of the Year twenty some years ago, the next year I was teaching the “At risk” students that we lovingly referred to as “sweat-hogs” or “rocket scientists” in those days.

When a teacher is not happy with their subject, grade level, team then they do the minimum. They no longer come in early or leave late. Extra work planning field trips, extra hours putting together shows... why should they? Work is not fun anymore. The morale can make or break a school.

Thank God for the new blood, the untainted who carry on and put together our shows, our luncheons, our bridal and baby showers. We love you. We remember who you are, we used to be you.

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