here. A snippet:
"Teachers knowingly trade better pay for job security. Too many teachers, surely, are rewarded with tenure. But good teachers need it desperately in a world where parents increasingly denigrate the teacher’s role and expertise and believe that little Johnny or Judy can do no wrong, or need a different challenge, or less work, or, or, or. Oh the stories I could tell…."
It's bad enough that parents already think that teachers should simply do their bidding and that they know more about teaching than teachers do. They already can make a teacher's life miserable and stir up all kinds of trouble. If parents get the idea that they can get a teacher fired, look out.
So teachers need tenure so parents can't get them fired? Why would parents be able to get teachers fired in the 1st place? Seems like that is the problem and tenure is a solution that goes above and beyond fixing it.
I guess what I'm getting at is I agree with the part I emboldened in that the number of tenured professors should be low, low, low. It shoud be a distinct honor being awarded tenure and the teacher should have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt - how you would gauge this, I don't know - that he or she was going to continue to adapt and evolve to the different aspects of the subject matter in which he or she taught.
Read Lord Ash's post and I was instantly reminded of one big reason why we chose to home-school our children from K through 9th (for son Cameron) and 6th (for daughter Emily Dare). The regular school experience has been, for the most part, an overwhelmingly positive experience and both our kids have some super teachers for which we are very thankful!
I really, really do feel sympathy for the many GREAT regular school teachers out there who have to deal with the rest of the world, however, when it comes to just doing their daily jobs! There are so many very crazy, unbalanced parents and students that these professionals must deal with, daily, and I wonder how many are driven away from the profession due to stress?
Got another one. Well, two.
We have this boy in the fifth grade who is severely disabled. I don't know exactly what he has been diagnosed with, but he is in all special ed, and only joins his class for specials. He can barely communicate, and has a very very difficult time walking... he has had a number of surgeries over the last two years to help, but it is still a chore and a half just to get up a short flight of stairs... I mean a ten minute chore.
This year the fifth grade is taking two field trips, both of which are VERY physical. One is to a nature reserve, where the kids take a two hour hike and also compete in this team-oriented obstacle course that is INSANELY hard. The second is to a major museum, and involves the kids walking the entire day.
So... we need to get a bus specifically for this student (he cannot get on a regular bus, so he needs one of the small ones with an elevator platform) for both trips. This will cost a lot of money, at a time money is TIGHT.
Then, to top it off? He never comes to field trips. He just doesn't show up, because clearly he cannot move well enough.
HOWEVER; we still need to get the bus, because the time we tried not to (a few years ago) the parents threatened to sue the school for discrimination and a load of other things.
Note; the boy has never attended a field trip. EVER. But we need to get the bus, because otherwise the parents will sue.
We have a sixth grade girl who is autistic. She is not diagnosed because the parents absolutely refuse to allow any testing, but she is almost completely unable to communicate, gets completely fixated on random things (she will stand in the hallway staring at her locker for 30 minutes if the teacher doesn't go get her) and is basically unable to do much at all.
However, the parents REFUSE any testing; they simply will not admit anything can be wrong. The school has gone as far as we can in giving help (extra time on tests and the like, stuff that you don't need testing to get) but we cannot get any further.
So her teacher is just stuck with this girl in her class; she tries SO hard to help, but there is just nothing that can be done... she needs to be in a special education classroom. The child needs constantly supervision by the teacher, and all of this time is taken from the other students. And now, to top it off, this girl has to take the state tests with no help or adjustments, because the parents refuse testing. So she literally sat for two and a half hours and did not fill in a single bubble. This will hurt our schools performance, and certainly won't help her any.
So! The latest two fun stories
Okay, and now a laugher.
A very bright, yet eccentric student comes up to me in the morning when he is unpacking and says "Mr. So and So, my experiment worked."
"Okay," I say. "What experiment?"
"My moldy bread experiment!" And he holds up a bag of green soggy nasty bread. "I wanted to see where the bread got more moldy; I have two other pieces at my house in different places as a test, so I could see which of the three spots was best for growing mold!"
"Okay," I say. "Sooo... why did you bring that gross moldy piece of science experiment to school? Do you have to show it to a teacher or something?"
"I didn't!" he chirps. "The third spot was my backpack!"
"Okay." I say. "Don't use our classroom as a science lab anymore without my permission. Okay?"
"Sure!" he says. And off he wanders, leaving me to wonder about all the strange smells that come from student backbacks.
The moral of these three stories - Kids have wonderful minds/imaginations/always keep you guessing. Parents can be a real pain in the you know what some times.
Students are lucky to have you as their teacher and advocate. I wish more parents would realize that a team effort is the best approach for the education of their kids and that consideration should be given to the entire class/school, not just their child.
Oh, I adore the kids... sure, they make mistakes, and sure they can sometimes be lazy or mean, but at least you can sort of get them to change if they are, sometimes... but man, the parents!
And I understand why the parents have so much power, I really do... between it being their tax dollars that pay for the school, and the fact that they are ultimately the main guardian for their children... but I am always so surprised when you have a parent of a child who REALLY needs help who seems to view us as the bad guys... I guess there is a psychology behind it, the not wanting to admit something is wrong, as if it somehow makes the parents worse parents?
I don't buy the tax dollar argument since it isn't only the parents' tax dollars going to the school. I have no kids but my taxes pay for schools. They should only be considering the good of their child and should be open to the suggestions/ideas of those that are teaching them on a daily basis.
It has been a while!
Thought I would share a recent doozy that would make people shake their heads!
Okay; fourth grade teacher has a girl in her class that has a TERRIBLE nut allergy. All sorts of nuts, and death-is-a-possibility sort of serious.
So, the teacher sends a nice email to all the parents, asking that, because of a very serious allergy in the class, parents please avoid sending their child to school with a snack for snack time that has nuts in it, and thank you all so much for your understanding.
Stinks for those who like peanut butter, but still, better than a dead kid!
So, this one father writes this FEROCIOUS email back! "You don't make the rules for my kid!" and "You are trying to infringe on my kids civil rights!" and "I don't have to listen to your stupid rules, I can send my kid with whatever snack I want!" Keep in mind, this father had to be escorted out of the school by the police a few years back after coming in and threatening a teacher.
The father then tries to get the other parents riled up, and gets one mother (who is already known to be a bit of a nutjob) who also writes a nasty email, this time to the teacher AND the principal, and then promptly sends her son, who sits DIRECTLY across from the girl with the allergy, in the very next day with a snack of...?
The girl with the allergy promptly has a panic attack as she sees death in a little plastic baggie directly opposite her and goes to the nurse.
And what does the administration do?
Agrees with the crazy dad, because they don't want a huge fight over snacks. Now the girl with the allergy has to go to the nurses office for snacktime.
It blows me away when parents act like selfish children, and when on top of that a school administration doesn't back their teachers up. I would have simply emailed all the parents saying "Mr. So and So recently emailed me about no-nut-snacks being a violation of his son's civil rights, so in order to avoid violating any civil rights there will be no snack in this classroom. Please be sure your child has a nutritious meal in the morning and a healthy, filling lunch. Thank you!."
LOL well I've just finished reading all four pages of this thread. It wasn't until I got to page three that I bothered to read the date and realized that this was started months ago.
I guess threads like this are part of the reason I visit this site. Some well thoughtout posts and as always, there are indeed two sides to every story.
This is an old thread that I haven't looked through in a while, but it seems a good place to point out that DC Mayor Adrian Fentry lost his reelection campaign. This almost certainly spells the end for head of DC schools Michelle Rhee, and her shakeup of the district's long tradition of poorly performing schools.
Sad, really sad. The people have spoken, so I guess we'll give them the status quo back. Probably great news for the fabulous public schools in FFX county (where I own a home), as it makes moving in to the district suddenly far less appealing.
But I'm tired of hearing inner city residents bemoan their children's education options, only to watch them vote out someone who actually tries to do something about it.
To be honest the most startling thing to me about the nut allergy story is that 4th graders have "snack time". I don't ever remember being sent to school with a snack and I certainly would have remembered being given time to eat the snack. I could see maybe for younger kids but 4th graders? What's the need for snack time? Show up to school around 8? Eat lunch at 12? Leave by 3? I don't recall my schedule from back then but it was something along those lines. When is snack time?
The part about parents being unreasonable is pretty much the norm... parents are just like any other slice of the population. If the girl is really that allergic to nuts then she probably shouldn't be around other kids when they eat. Better safe than sorry, no?
Yeah, snack really depends on the ages and more importantly the lunch times of the kids, as JK points out. The sixth grades in my school don't have snack, but that is partially because school starts at 8:20 and lunch is at noon... they generally are okay.
We often see situations with parents who are jerks like the one mentioned in the earlier post. Even more dangerous are well-meaning parents or peers who don't understand that a nut allergy can be so severe that it's life-threatening, and offer a kid a snack or exhort the child to just "try it." The consequences can be tragic.
As far as accomodating a handicap goes... isn't there a level of reasonableness? Not saying this is beyond reasonable (not bringing in nut-based snacks seems perfectly reasonable) but there is a line you have to draw somewhere. When your condition impacts the lives of others, sometimes the accomodations might mean that you have to make changes instead of other people.
Look, there's no way I could sympathize with a parent who is such as jerk. Nor do I think there was anything wrong with the teacher's actions of requesting students not bring in nuts - and sending nuts in the next day was just awful. What if something HAD happened - and the girl had a serious medical problem - HIS kid could have been emotionally scarred.
That said, I think we need some brakes here. I'm sorry, but a severe allergy does not qualify as a handicap, nor is it APPROACHING a handicap.
It does seem like her parents have created a handicapped situation. Unless the kid was threatening to touch her, or throw a nut at her, I don't understand a PANIC attack for something that she should have obviously dealt with every day of her 9 years.
Unless her parents have completely sheltered her from taking responsibility for avoiding nuts, which WOULD handicap her, because she is unable to iterate her problem and properly deal with it. That's a lot of responsibility for a nine year old, but - again - it's not like a brand new problem - and she has to learn some time.