"If teaching is so easy,..."

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeacherGroupie, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Webmistress, I see your point and it's certainly true that police officers do not face the same performance-based measures.

    However, several police departments are under federal consent decrees which threaten to shut them down and force them to submit to oversight by a federal judge if they fail to meet certain mandated standards. LA, for example. One whole department was shut down in LA after corruption emerged in their work busting drug dealers (the Rampart Division), so police departments are shut down if they fail to meet certain standards. Similar scandals have rocked New Orleans, Newark, NYC, Atlanta, Miami, and other cities.

    Police departments absolutely publish the names and badge numbers of officers related to complaints of excessive force, and most departments submit arrest and citation records to the FBI, which are then searchable by any entity including individuals.

    What's more, police activity is subject to FOIA, so journalists routinely demand paperwork about all kinds of behaviors. Civilian oversight boards operate in many cities, and their job is to question everything the police department does.

    The corrupt policeman is a staple of fiction and political discourse, and discussions about the structures of policing (ie, the military model pioneered by Daryl Gates in LA or the "broken windows" approach in NYC) are commonplace parts of public policy and budget discussions. All police officers are scrutinized in terms of training, performance, pay, benefits and everyday behavior.

    So I agree that teachers are under an intense burden and labor with obnoxious and wrong-headed public critiques. But I disagree that the police do not share some of those burdens. And it might be interesting to bring together policemen with teachers, because when the police talk about the relationship between their work and public oversight, one hears a lot of the same concerns we express here.
     
  2. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I agree with the comments webmistress made. In my home state, they passed a bill called senate bill 5 which was very similar to the "union busting" bill that was passed in Wisconsin (for some reason WI was much more publicized), except firefigthers and police officers were included. The teacher bashing was absolutely ridiculous. The things they said about us on the news stations were downright ludicrous. I literally almost quit speaking to a very close friend of 10 years because of the extremely hurtful comments she made publically about how teachers needed to stop whining because we already have it so good and our jobs are so easy, and we really need to protect people like firefigters and police officers who "really work" (she published a whole big note on fb about it, I'm tempted to share but if for some odd reason someone recognizes me/her I'd feel bad). There were literally reports of teachers being verbally harrassed in public places (stores, etc.) Yet firefighters and police officers had the total support of the public. People fought hard for them to not be included in the bill. At one point, some local police organized a big all-day protest. They were completely in charge of it and it was heavily attended by police officers, yet when it was publicized it was portrayed as "teachers whining instead of doing their jobs."

    Sure, people make jokes about other professions, but it's absolutely nothing in comparison to what they're saying about teachers. I find it funny (in an ironic way, not a haha way) how quickly the public changes their tune. My parents are both teachers and growing up I heard ALL the time how teachers don't make any money, are poor, etc. I went to a private college and I had numerous adults try to tell me that was a bad choice because I'd never be able to pay back the tuition money on a teacher's salary. It was like the running joke about how low teacher salaries were. Now, just a couple years later, they talk as if we're rich!

    I think parents do get some choice in regards to teachers as well. It's not as easy as choosing a new dr. or something like that, but unless the school is incredibly tiny and there is only one teacher per grade level, the parent can always request the other one. I know some schools don't like to do that, but generally if parents make enough noise they'll listen. I had a teacher in 2nd grade that was really just downright mean. All we ever did were worksheets all day every day. I started to really dislike school and my parents were really concerned. The next year, out of the 2 3rd grade teachers one was known for being the "nice" one. My parents simply called the P and explained that I'd had a rough year and they really wanted me to have mrs. ___________ for 3rd grade because they knew the other teacher was "a little rough around the edges."
     
  3. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jun 26, 2011

    It was our very bad luck that this school had only one teacher per grade. The teacher had only 15 students with a full time aide and she terrorized my daughter. This went on for a whole year.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jun 26, 2011

    That's unfortunate marci. I know that does happen but I think most schools are big enough to have at least 2 teachers per grade. We actually only have 1 teacher per grade for 3 of our grades, but if a parent for some reason has a HUGE problem with the teacher, they can request that the student go to another elementary in the district. I'd never seen or heard of a school as small as mine until I moved here. I don't know why they do that- really it's not cost effective to have a whole bunch of tiny buildings- but that's not the point. Really, everyone in my building is great but there are just some parents/kids that the teacher will rub the wrong way for whatever reason. We have two first grades and one of the parents this year requested that her student be moved out of miss C's class and into miss b's class in the middle of the year. Our admin thought it was ridiculous- they're both great teachers and in fact if you had to pick miss c is more "lovey" than miss b- but the admin went along with it to appease the parent.
     
  5. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jun 27, 2011

    waterfall, it was a tough year. Some schools are not flexible at all and it makes it even harder for us parents. There should be a process in place when things like these happen. I particularly think that grades lower than 5th should have a process in place since the child spends the entire day with one teacher. Once in junior high or middle school, a teacher can't do much of emotional damage since they only spend time for one period.

    The option issue is big for me ever since this incident. I've also encountered other situations, not as bad, but complaining didn't do much because of the senority and tenure of the teacher. For example, in middle school my my daughter had a gym teacher who didn't have clear objectives and would grade based on how she liked students (I'm not making this up, all parents knew this. I even met with the teacher once and I asked requirements to earn an A and she couldn't give me a straight answer). This, of course, affected my daughter's GPA.

    Now in high school, parents pray about our kids getting the right teachers and avoiding some. We are in a very good district with a high school with great nationwide rankings and a great reputation. Even so, we can't escape not so good teachers. This year, my daughter got a tough math teacher, who has a bad reputation among parents, so it's not just me. My daughter had to work harder, and even her dad and I provided a lot of extra help but only a math genious would get an A in his class. This affected my daughter's GPA.

    When it comes to options, parents don't have much control other than choosing neighborhoods. I am thankful for all the wonderful teacher my daughter has had, and there have been a lot more good than bad. We understand this is part of life. The only one I can't accept is not having options for changing teachers for grades lower than 5.
     
  6. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Jun 27, 2011

    What I've always found interesting about all the "teachers are underpaid" is that it doesn't seem to apply to me when I speak to non-teachers. Once they find out what I do the tune quickly changes to "oh you must find that so rewarding" and "you SHOULD get paid more." However my husband will not get that same response for teaching music. I couldn't teach music and he certainly couldn't teach severe/moderate. I guess one is harder than the other???
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2011

    MAT you can blame the national union for that. The assumption that teaching every subject at every level is worth an equal amount of pay is almost as ridiculous as the assumption that I should only get a raise based on the amount of time I've worked.

    In regards to <<I know that does happen but I think most schools are big enough to have at least 2 teachers per grade.>>
    I'd just have to ask how that solves the problem. That leaves the bad teacher in place for those kids who don't have parents willing to complain.

    To any layman who may read this please note that I am a public school teacher and do not consider myself a victim like so many here seem to. My job is a joy, I'm well paid and I'd love it if my union membership were not required. I'm proud to be a public servant. That's what I signed up for.

    My profession has done more damage to itself over the last two decades than any politician or talk-show host ever could.
     
  8. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jun 27, 2011

    I agree.
     
  9. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2011

    When you say profession do you mean the rank and file? Admin.?
    Pols? Or just the teachers? I have worked in schools the last 3 decades+ and almost all the teachers I have worked with work
    their butts off no matter what nonsense is thrown at them. If you mean that teachers have been too quiet about all the crap I agree with you. Btw I love my job and do not feel persecuted. My pay/insurance and retirement are nothing to jump over but I knew that coming in.
    Now that we got a 3% cut in pay after three years of no raise I am still on board.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2011

    Would you mind sharing what subjects/levels should be at the bottom and which rightfully deserve a higher salary? I understand your point and opinion, but I'm curious what you would find more appropriate.
     
  11. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2011

    Chime.

    I'm also very interested in a discussion about how you would structure pay, Kev.
     

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