Friday, March 6, 2009

Seventh Grade Schoolteacher Sarah Shares.

As a public school teacher, I started reading RYS about a year ago because you do something that I love to do as well: complain about and rip into incompetent students. I’ve sniggered at your lovely snowflakes who can’t form complete sentences and who blatantly and shamelessly lie to you. While my problem students are a bit different (seeing as they are 12-14), I feel your pain. However, my blood boils when your site or others blame public school teachers for all of your woes. Now, I can’t speak for all of us, but I can honestly say that I do the absolute best that I can with what I’m given.

Don’t blame the public schools for society’s problems. Society at large is so obsessed with the preservation of self esteem that schools aren’t able to do what they need to do. I am not allowed to give a kid below a 50 on a report card, no matter how abysmal the grade actually is. Who do you think wanted this policy? Parents of stupid kids and superintendents who are afraid of parents. God forbid their babies feel inferior to kids who can do well. I have to attend endless “special education” meetings to try to help kids with special needs succeed. For some of these kids, there is actually something abnormal going on and these meetings are a good thing. Other kids are just so lazy or stupid that it’s not worth the time. Parents just can’t come to grips with the burger flipper they have produced because then THEIR self esteem would be damaged, so we label their kid as “learning disabled” and then I’m not allowed to fail them, period. They’ll pass through the system because “it’s not their fault” that they suck at life and will end up with a high school diploma.

What it all comes down to is that public school policy is made by parents: parents on the school board, parents who complain to the superintendent, etc. Parents have their baby’s emotional well-being in mind more than their academic prowess. Do you think teachers like giving out 10th place ribbons? Hell no! But if only the top two students in the class get a reward, the other students will feel bad. This is forbidden. So we roll our eyes, make the damn 10th place ribbon, and grab a margarita after school ... But in a neighboring town, not our town, because it would be shameful for our students should stumble upon us acting like real people!

Two sayings come to mind: “you can’t polish a turd” and “you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.” The same kids who drool on your desks once drooled on mine. I was obligated to give modifications and attend meetings to help them succeed. I emailed with their parents and held lots of tutoring sessions before, during, and after school. Their parents didn’t give a rat’s ass. There is only so much a public school teacher can do. Bad students are a result of their family and community more than the school system they went through.

So back the fuck off, academia. We deal with many of the same problems as you do.