I am a teacher, and I love what I do, but in the past year I have received ugly emails from disgruntled parents, received angry telephone calls after 10:00 p.m., been yelled at like a dog in front of children, been called a liar and vulgar names, and threatened with physical harm. Some people shrug and say all this goes with the territory, but I disagree. No one deserves this kind treatment regardless of the “territory!” I am sorry that I may not always meet your expectations, but I do my best, and I take pride in my profession and the difference I make in the lives of children. However, since you seem to think I fall short of the expectations you have for your child’s teacher, please bear with me as I address each of your expectations . . . .
1. You expect me to teach your child to read, write, do math, and think critically. Yet, you bring your child to school late and check him out early regularly!
2. You expect me to be responsible for your child learning and being successful. Yet, you are not responsible enough to make your child go to school.
3. You expect me to teach your child to love learning and be a life-long leaner. Yet, the only learning taking place in your house is in front of a television.
4. You expect me to have rules and order in the classroom. Yet, I am at fault when your child breaks the rules or disrupts class.
5. You expect me to teach your child to respect others and to be a good citizen. Yet, you come to the school confrontational, cursing, and acting a fool.
6. You expect school problems can be resolved by bringing back prayer. Yet, when did you last pray with your child before he or she left for school?
7. You expect me to teach your child how to be responsible for his actions. Yet, you raise hell when your child is scored low for missing deadlines.
8. You buy season tickets to support your child in extracurricular activities. Yet, when was the last time you showed your face at a PTO meeting?
And finally . . . .
9. You have no idea how hard I’ve studied to be a teacher who makes a difference. Yet, I spend my time doing your job – being a father and mother to your child.
10. You have no clue the level of accountability I am held to for your child’s learning. Yet, you refuse to accept your responsibility as a parent for your child’s learning?
You have not realized this yet, but you and I have a common bond that binds us, so, maybe you should try working with me instead of against me . . . .
After all we are talking about YOUR CHILD.
Your Child’s Teacher
I don’t mean to offend, but . . . .
what you see printed above is often how teachers feel. Teachers are not perfect, but it is rare to find one who does not genuinely care for the children they teach. Teachers enter the profession knowing they will never be paid adequately for the hours they devote to their students. They enter the profession with an understanding they will spend more time with other people’s children than they do their own. They also understand they will always be the scapegoat for politicians trying to make a name for themselves. They understand that by the very nature of their jobs, they will always be easy targets for yellow journalism. They understand they live in a society where a student succeeds in spite of the teacher, and fails because of the teacher.
Maybe that is why 50% of all newcomers to teaching leave the profession within the first 5 years. Why? Maybe it is because over 400,000 teachers are either physically assaulted or threatened each year as reported by the United States Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. Maybe it is because every time teachers turn around, there is another politician proclaiming how “sorry” and “worthless” teachers are. Maybe it is because everybody is an expert when it comes to teaching. As a result, everyone has an opinion as to what is wrong with American education and what to do about it, but when was the last time someone asked or listened to a teacher about how to fix education? Maybe teachers leave the profession because they are treated like they are not real people. Pets are treated with more kindness and respect than teachers. Respect? Of course, the key to teacher longevity is RESPECT, or I should say LACK OF RESPECT is probably the number one reason teachers leave the profession.
Will it ever change? Probably not. Teachers are in the business of stamping out ignorance, but ignorance is like a forest fire. Once out of control, it is almost impossible to get it back under control until it has burned itself out. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that the ignorance wild-fire that has engulfed education in this country is any where near burning itself out.
That is indeed unfortunate, since this nation’s children cannot afford to continue to lose good teachers.
I don’t mean to offend, but . . . .
©Jack Linton, December 30, 2013