that someone who has actually BEEN in a classroom would write an article about "what we need to make teachers be better." I'm talking to YOU, New York Times.
Because frankly, what we need is:
for parents to realize that they actually do bear the responsibility for teaching their children to behave themselves and for figuring out the right consequences when they don't.
for same to realize that WE the TEACHERS are NOT reponsible for teaching their children to:
use the toilet (as opposed to peeing in their pants EVERY DAY)
use toilet paper (as opposed to spreading their waste all over themselves and the bathroom)
wash their hands
blow their noses
throw away their dirty tissues in the garbage can, not on the floor
dress themselves, including tying their shoes and pulling up their pants and zipping things - pants, coats, jackets
properly greet and say good bye to any other person
say please and thank you and you're welcome
carry on a conversation
know vocabulary they should have had at the age of two (like "share" and "red")
chew with their mouths closed
be aware that there is such a thing called an alphabet and there are such things called numbers (sorry folks, by Kindergarten no one should say "What's that?" to the teacher)
A few more rules:
If your child has a fever or is throwing up, do not send him to school. We are not overpaid babysitters. When your child is sick, YOU must make arrangements for him to be cared for AT HOME. Also, when the school nurse calls you to tell you that you must come and pick up your vomiting, miserably sick child, YOU DO NOT GET TO HANG UP ON HER.
If the teacher tells you that the child has broken a rule or done something wrong, do not stand on the playground and scream at the teacher in front of the child and all the other children. THIS MIGHT BE THE REASON THE CHILDREN THINK IT'S OKAY TO BREAK INTO SMALL GROUPS FOR MULTIPLICATION PRACTICE AND THEN DO WHATEVER THEY DAMN WELL PLEASE.
When your child comes home from school with his bookbag in tow, OPEN IT. There IS homework inside and also all those notices (surprise!) you scream you were never given.
The teacher does NOT say "Read with your child every night," because she likes to hear herself talk. MANDATORY PARENT BEHAVIOR.
just to name a smattering.
And now for the politicians:
I will refrain from telling the President of the United States to shut up, especially since I voted for him.
Most of you have never been in a classroom for more than a photo op. You have absolutely no freaking clue what we do every day. You wouldn't have the slightest idea how to teach a person to read. You think that only idiots are teachers because how hard can it be - you stand up in front of them and tell them things. Hint: This does not work.
You have no idea why tenure exists or what protections it offers society from things like its children being taught that God made the earth 4,000 years ago, and that's when the dinosaurs showed up with Adam and Eve. IN SCIENCE CLASS.
A teacher who has the 8th grade beginning ESL class of 14 year olds who just got here from a third world country and don't know their OWN alphabet let alone the English one is NOT going to garner the same test scores as the teacher who has the gifted and talented class. Standardized testing doesn't prove sh...inola about a teacher's ability, no matter how much you want it to. Last year I had the former class (in first grade). In September, not a single one read on grade level. In June, about half my class could read on grade level. This year I have a bunch of smarties, and 3/4 of my class reads 3rd grade level or above - in the second grade. It is neither my mediocrity nor my brilliance that makes this possible. It is human flipping nature.
And to the general conservative public:
Stop telling me how easy my job is. Stop telling me how great it must be to have summers off and work six hours a day. Stop saying "must be nice," and then snorting. I notice that YOU did not choose to spend your days with 25 seven year olds. I'm guessing there's a secret reason why.
I don't EVER work a six hour day, try nine at least plus weekends. It IS great to have summer vacation, because both teachers and kids damn well need it by that point. The children are DONE, and so are we.
And now, so am I.