Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

My last post hurt someone's feelings. Not what I wrote, but some of the comments. I want to be clear. In no way did I (or the comments) mean in any way that teachers aren't like the most awesome people ever. Seriously, I bow down to you teachers. It is not in my genetic make up to hang out with 26 children all day long and hope for them to learn something. I really don't know how you do it. That is why I am not a teacher of children.
That being said, like any profession, there are the regular ones, the best ones, and the ones you just pray quit. Here in lies my problem. Those in which you wish would quit, how is it that they get to stay being teachers? I'm going to tell you a story, sit back, relax, I've got nothing to do but drink my wine and tell you about two teachers. In all honesty there are a million other things I should be doing but my beds really comfy and I think my laptop missed me today. And I care. Anyway, so on the one hand we have Saige's fifth grade teacher. He is the one all the kids pray for the whole time they are in the school. They are sitting, waiting, wishin' ( you believe in superstion) that when their time comes they will get him. He's a legend. He's fun and fair and understanding and he cares so much about the kids it's incredible. At back to school night after hearing him talk I was ready to go back to fifth grade. He loves his job and I have the greatest respect for him.
Of course not everyone gets him. There are other teachers and their classes seem happy with them too. They're fine.
And then there is the other end of the spectrum. The teacher no parent wants their child to get. The teacher who's reputation has been bad for years, who has been passed around from school to school but for some reason can't be fired. Can't. Be. Fired. Although, I'll just say it, they suck. Suck in the worst of ways, don't teach, kids don't learn, scream, no control. Suck with a capital S U C K. That's who Chase got in second grade. I was willing to give it a try though, I thought, "Chase is a really easy kid. He'll be fine." At first I tried to ignore all the gossip because I didn't think there was anything I could do about it. The principal at the time would not, under any circumstances change kids classes. We gave it a couple months. At the beginning of November we had had enough. His work was being marked wrong. She missed his misspelled spelling words. She didn't even look at his journal, his tests never came home. The whole thing was pathetic. Add to that Saige's room was right across the hall and she told me she could hear Chase's teacher screaming all day long. This doesn't sit well with me. I asked Chase what he did when she did that because he doesn't like screaming. "I just stare out the window and think about leaving." Oh. My. God. He's seven. I asked one of my very closest friends (Twist), who used to teach how I should handle it. She said, "You have to be his advocate Amy, no one else will." There are more stories about this teacher than I will go into but the long of the short of it is Marc and I did everything in our power to get him out of there. I had other parents in the class tell me they were just, "writing the year off." Yeah. Not me. I need him to learn something.He likes expensive dinners. He needs a profession. That will probably require being able to read and write. We wrote letters, we got a lawyer, we made a fuss. We must have looked like the biggest a-hole parents out there. I got told it wouldn't be fair to just move him. Really? Then why the hell is she a teacher? I didn't really care if it was fair, this was my kid. They asked us to give them until after Thanksgiving vacation and they would resolve it. We did. When break was over there was a brand new teacher in the room. The old one had retired. I felt a little bad, I did, but what choice did I have? Really? What would you have done?

17 comments:

twist said...

Look at your bad-ass self all over that pathetic teacher shit! I never knew how that story ended last year. I'm so pleased...there's absolutely no room for mediocrity (or worse!) where our children are concerned, and yet it's out there. A year is a LOAD to waste when you figure it's - what? - an 1/8 of Chase's life? So here's what I think you should do: start unschooling with Z,G, and me. We could do yoga all day and have the kids research new moves for us, find workshops, etc. You know, basically put them to work advancing our practices and call it "life learning." Right? (And I hope you don't count me among the offended due to my ex, ex, EXITY, EX-teacher status.)

Simple Answer said...

Oh dear. My comments weren't meant to offend anyone, or turn anyone off your blog. Except maybe your angry music teacher. Because that was who it was directed at. Not the 10's of thousands of teachers who get it right. As you say, 26 students daily? I wouldn't make it through one day. Some have the gift, others (I'm in this category) do not. None of us want the teachers who do not. As Twist says, a year is a load to waste. And music? Isn't that supposed to be a bright spot during the day?

So why is anon taking this so personally? Why wouldn't they race right over to MY blog, and not yours, and tell me I'm an idiot? And don't they find the fact that he used your lipstick pencil just a little bit funny? Maddening, but funny?

Amy said...

Twist, A. I never count you among the offended. I count you like how you school, un offended. And B. I think you are on to something. Use our children to better our yoga practice. It's so brilliantly genius I might have to start calling you Brain.
SA-I'm not sure the answers, I asked the same thing, Why take so personally? Anon said it was because they were having a tough year from parents. I think it was just bad timing. It's fine. And it gave me something else to say, so it was a win win. Any yes, I'm sure my lip liner story gave them a laugh. :) Glad you're back!!

Kathy Steinmetz said...

Amy, I totally got your blog yesterday (and did I mention it took Anna over an hour yesterday just to do Science? - However, for those that do not know our science teacher, he is truely an awsome teacher. It is a totally hands on class, interactive, fun with a teacher who loves to teach. Who else would show genuine interest when a child brings in a dead snake - road kill - to share with the class. The kids love him. It's just the homework sometimes....)

And yes, I agree, there are some who should be in the classroom (these are in the majority) and I constantly sing their praises. But, like every school, there are some that are lacking. It is hard when your child has one, especially when so young. You wonder: does the teacher even enjoy it?

(Obligatory disclaimer) I have had time teaching in elem. classrooms. It requires a TON of patience, but you can always find something to smile about in every student. That is the joy.

Lula! said...

Twist is right--you HAVE to be his advocate. I didn't think you were offensive in the last with your last post.

How classy are you for "setting the record straight?" You totally didn't have to do that...it's your blog...say what you want, ya know?

Oh, and just so you know--I remained FB free for about 6 hours yesterday and have yet to be on it today. I can't...I lost track of blogging yesterday and it made me sad. FB is like crack...I gotta only take a few hits a day. (Ha--now people are gonna think I'm a crack whore. I'm not.)

cIII said...

I would have done the Same thing you did.

And by Same thing, I mean, I would have followed Bad Teacher Home and grabbed her by her stupid Ears and explained, ever so gently, that if she Ever yelled at my Kid again, I would put my Foot in her Mouth via her Ass.

That's not really the Same is it?
*sigh*

Amy said...

Kathy, Mr. T. is awesome. With S it's not problem. It's just my precious angel Chase that makes me want to stick sharp objects into myself at homework time.
LeighAnn- Glad to see you back. Just say no to crack baby. You'll be fine.
clll-Okay, that made me laugh so hard. I wish I had thought of that first. Next time......

Oreste said...

Hello Amy, a salute from Rome. Ciao

Sue Jacquette said...

I hope I didn't offend anyone, too. I have about 12 educators and principals in my own family so I fully respect teachers. But all 12 will agree that not all of their colleagues should be teaching. Amy, I'm with you on this one. If we don't fight for our kids nobody will.

twist said...

THAT'S IT!!! I'm writing to Chase's principal. Maybe even the school board. I just checked back for a new post...and STILL with the teacher drama. I guess you're TOO BUSY doing your HOMEWORK. Listen, like playing a sport or being in the band, blogging can help you learn time management. But you have to commit to it...give it your all...make it a PRIORITY - not just something you do when you FEEL like it. C'mon, Amy...I believe in you and I know you can do better.

Anonymous said...

I think you were right. I still remember a mean teacher I had in second grade. I thought that I just wasn't good at second grade. Her name was Ms. Walzack. She had an ugly mole on her right upper eyelid that you couldn't help but look at. She had awful, frizzy dark hair. She was scary. Anyway, I would never want someone to remember me like that. If you can't deal with the job, don't do it. Honestly, those awful teachers, and we've all had at least one, are never forgotten.

Kathy Steinmetz said...

I have to agree with Twist. How can I (remember it's all about me) effectively procrastinate if you limit yourself to only 1 post every 24 hours? I need my enabler....

Sorry to miss your class today - I had an 11th b'day cake to make for tonight.

Amy said...

Hello Oreste from Rome. What up?

Sue, You're so pretty. I forget what you said. :)

Anon- Is that you? My "seemingly normal" friend?

Kirsten and Kathy, I am sorry I am failing you. I will do better, work harder to think up stupid nonsense to put on here. I've got one for you. It's dumb as the day is long, but you asked for it....... and Kathy, Clays is right on the way to yoga, I think you coulda just picked it up.... I'm just sayin'

Sue Jacquette said...

Hey! This ain't just a some pretty face, there are some brains behind there! Why doesn't anyone take me seriously?!?!? (just kidding)

jami~ said...

i think you rpck as a mom. if you don't stand up for your kids, nobody else will. i had some issues last year with my littlest getting bullied and the school sending her home to an empty and locked house at age 5 because they didn't believe she had a note to be picked up (she did). we had to do some serious damage control her as she felt abandoned. awesome teachers are amazing and inspirational. and just like in any other profession, there are people who hate their job and couldn't care less who their bad attitude affects. you did the right thing, little mama. don't mess with the schramms, yo.

Ms Picket To You said...

listen, i once had a chemistry teacher who told me it was a good thing i was cute so i could get a husband. um what?

i also had another teacher to whom think i owe any confidence i've ever had. actually, that was more like ten teachers. ten incredibly awesome teachers amidst a bunch of good ones. and ONE really horrible one. there's always ONE.

that being said, i still think the wine probably helped.

Meredith said...

Sorry I haven't been around for a while; we've been traveling and no WIFi for several days, but I read this post this morning and I just want you to know how proud I was of you and the way you handled this problem last year. It wasn't just Chase for whom you were advocating, but for all the other children in that classroom as well.
Love, Mom