Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teachers Have Opinions, Too

I think that often time, as parents, or members of a community, and especially as children, we forget something very important: Teachers are regular people, too.
Teachers have a very important job.  I respect what they do.  I think the problem is that we sometimes expect some sort of life altering change the moment you become a teacher akin to taking all sorts of vows to the church, like a vow of poverty, silence, etc, upon becoming a monk.  We expect teachers to forgo all normal human feelings of anger and frustration. We expect them to have a smile on their faces every single day.  We expect them to never get sick, and get upset when they do.  Then, to top it all off, we expect them to do it in some cases for wages that are less than what the guy who collects trash makes.
Why are our exceptions so high for them, and our own for ourselves as parents and community members so low?
We want so much from the teachers that are there to mold the young minds we send to them, but many of don't want to be a part of it.  We get frustrated if we have to spend more than 15 minutes a night on help with homework, or we just don't help at all.  We leave it all up to the teachers, and then wonder why our children aren't succeeding.  I just don't get it.

The internet is all abuzz because one teacher let out her personal feelings, and people didn't like it, at all.

Natalie Munroe, a high school teacher in PA, used to write a blog.  She doesn't any more, since a student at her school found it, turned her in, and got her suspended.  You see, much like when I write sometimes, Natalie decided to share her frustration and her feelings in her blog, a blog meant only for friends and family.  She didn't put it out there for everyone to read.  Granted, she might have been able to take extra steps, like making it totally private, to keep anyone else from seeing it, but believe me, if you don't put your blog out there, people don't generally stumble on it.  It takes searching for just the right things to be able to find a blog that isn't being shopped around for attention.  So, I suppose she thought it was ok to share her feelings with the few friends that she had, and in my opinion, she should be able to.  

If my friends who are teachers want to tell me that they have kids in class that are dumber than a box of rocks, I want to be there for them to vent.  They have a hard job.  Emotionally and mentally, I would guess one of the most exhausting jobs there is.  I can't imagine how I would deal with a room full of moody teenagers with no motivation or support at home and a need for instant gratification, let alone the absolute lack of respect for authority that is prevalent these days.  I don't know why there aren't more stories in the media about teachers beating kids because the self control needed to hold back with a child call you some sort of horrific name with curse words and negative references to the female body is beyond me.  

While she certainly didn't beat a child, or come even close to an altercation of any kind that we know if, Natalie did say some mean things about the kids at her school.  Things like, "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."  I agree with her.  Many of today's teenagers are everything she mentioned.  So, why should people be so upset?  Is a teacher not allowed to say out loud what the rest of the world is thinking?  They are on the front lines of bringing the battle to raise a generation of well rounded, educated people, and if they see a problem, maybe we should listen instead of getting all pissy because they voice their concerns.  
Some of the things were a little meaner.  Thinks like "A complete and utter jerk in all ways," "although academically okay your child has no other redeeming qualities," and  "There's no other way to say this, I hate your kid."  are pretty harsh, but again, she is being totally honest.  There are kids I don't like in my daughter's school and class, with just the little interaction I have with them.  In fact, there are a few in particular that I can't stand.  So, why can't she have kids that she can't stand.  The idea that all children, and we are really talking about teenagers here, are precious and should be coddled is probably what got us into the problem of raising brats to begin with.  Maybe some teenagers need to hear that they are true pains in the ass to realize that not everyone likes them, and they don't always need to get a gold start or participation ribbon.  Sometimes life sucks.  Some people are biatches.  That is reality.  

Also a part of reality is that teachers have to deal with those children, and work with and around all those shortcomings to try to mold them into the people that will control the future.  

So, if you are a teacher, I am sure you get frustrated sometimes.  I am sure you get upset.  I wish more parents did their part and tried to be an active participant in the educational process, instead of insisting you do it all, and then getting mad if things are handed to their child on a platter.  Feel free to come my way and vent any time you want.  I won't turn you in.  In fact, I would give you all a hug and a cupcake, the good ones from a specialty bakery even, not home made things.  Most importantly, I would give you a big "Thank you" for everything you do, and put up with.  You are all my heroes, even if you do think my child is a pain in the rump sometimes.