Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Teacher's Rant

People choose to become teachers for a lot of different reasons. From the time that I was a small child, I wanted to be a teacher. It started in the first grade when my teacher read us "Charlotte's Web." It was the first "chapter book" I had ever heard and it was magic to me when it became the first book of that length I ever read on my own. The sense of pride I felt at being able to open that world for myself, the gratitude at being taught to read, I wanted to give that to other people. I tutored all throughout my elementary and middle school years.

By the time I got to high school I had changed my mind about being a teacher a few times. My family became involved in emergency medical services, everyone was a Paramedic and I wandered into that world and dedicating my time to medical careers. I never stopped teaching, but spent my time teaching CPR classes and precepting (training) other EMT's.

I spent a lot of my time during school, evaluating and re-planning lessons that I saw. I thought a lot about how I would have done something differently or how much "fun" teaching a certain lesson might be.

I have never met anyone who became a teacher for the money, and anyone who says they did it because teachers have "summers off" was joking.

Politicians and more prevelantly, "journalists" have been balking at the "high salary" and "outrageous" benefits given to public school teachers for such an "easy" job. They further complain about teachers having the summer off and leaving work "at 2:30."

I would like to go on record as saying that I'm not sure which teachers these guys are talking to, but I, for one, do not leave work at 2:30 and have a lot more responsibilities than this gentleman seems to think. They quote the average salary as $51,000 and benefits packages at $27,000. Those numbers must be inflated, because I am nowhere in the ballpark of those figures after five years of teaching. That is all I will say.

I do have a few challenges for these "journalists." I would really like them to go and teach journalism classes (six per term) in a normal public school. I would like for them to forego their journalist salary, and take on the teacher salary they would earn for their respective degrees (Glen Beck you don't qualify, because I hear you didn't attend. . . .) I want them to have "normal" class sizes, be responsible for all parent contacts that a normal teacher would have, the grading practices of a normal teacher, the meeting ratio and continuing education requirements of a normal teacher.

I would like for them to have the same reporting requirements, and the same peer observation requirements. The only difference is that I would like for there to be a REAL journalism teacher present in an observational capacity, so that someone will be there when the journalist runs screaming out of a room of thirty-three 15-18 year olds.

I really try my best not to talk about topics that I am not knowledgeable about. I really feel personally attacked each time one of these journalists balks at teachers wanting class size limits or when they say how lazy teachers are. I take very personally the attacks on teachers.

*I apologize for this post and promise to get back to the Pakistan trip soon.*

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