I have to admit, it pretty much sucks being a teacher right now.
And no, it isn’t about the kids. The kids are easy. Classroom stuff is not the problem. It’s the profession that sucks. I mean, it is really hard not to tell a student that wants to become a teacher, “Are you kidding?”.
Thankfully, the students help keep some things in perspective. Learning is still happening and my relationship with the students hasn’t been impacted…much. But it’s hard to really put all the energy into teaching when you are constantly aware that you are getting fucked. You know what’s the real impediment to student progress? The system. So I’d like to thank to following groups for totally fucking education.
-The State of California. The primary problem with almost everything in California is the government. However, I don’t think that people realize how much of a non-priority education really is to the state. This week, two people that work within the halls of Sacramento told me that education is going to continue to get cut, and monies will continue to be deferred for the foreseeable future. This means that the investment potential for the state is going the way of the Dodo, and educators have now been marginalized to simple state worker status. Congratulations State Legislature. You are bringing an educational Hurricane Katrina to your doorstep.
-Arnie Duncan, El Presidente, and those sniveling little weasels in Congress. “Race to the Top” and “No Child Left Behind” have essentially become unfunded mandates. The money spent on trying to meet all of there stupid little laws with their idiotic expectations (100% proficient my ass) has caused economic chaos within the district. Thank God all those textbook companies were there to create books that met the standards, and we were obliged by the government to funnel them vast sums of money. Don’t know what I would have done if U.S. History had all of the sudden changed.
-The Ukiah Teacher’s Association. In November I went to a meeting where my local union refused to bargain because everything was “fine”, the balance sheet was going to be “even for the year”, and sacrifice wasn’t going to happen because the district “wasn’t going to take my money”. As I read over numbers, I still try and find that hidden pot of gold that the UTA talks about, and I realize that I will probably never find it along with the Loch Ness Monster, Barry Bonds’ steroid needles, and Al Sharpton’s dignity. The inaction has helped create a $5 million dollar whole that is going to cut programs, kill jobs, possibly eliminate sports, destroy class size reduction, possibly eliminate prep periods, close two schools, and burn down the partridge and that damn pear tree. Nicely done.
-The California Teacher’s Association. The idiots that told all the locals to not negotiate with the districts so they could hope for a better position to bargain from down the road. To quote another moron, “How’s that hopey-changey thing goin for ya”.
-The insurance companies. My wife’s district is part of Blue Shield and the already lousy insurance is now going to get worse. So let me get this right, I’m going to have to pay hundreds of dollars a month so I can pay a $1,000 deductable before I can get any coverage at all? With all do respect to Conservatives, Blue Shield is doing a dandy job pushing me towards a National Health Service plan. Hell, why pay for stuff I hardly use, and when I do use it, it pays for next to nothing?
-People that think that teachers don’t work. Guess what, I work harder than you do. Not only that, I work harder than you do and I’ve taken on more responsibilities and have been gifted a 3% pay cut over the last three years. Teachers aren’t in it for just the money, but pride in a job well done doesn’t pay the mortgage, or the health insurance. Society has demanded more from us, taken the resources from us, ignored our ideas for getting the job done better, cut our pay, and we still come to work every day to teach your children with passion and vigor. You know what you would have done? Quit.
So you might ask, why do the job if it seems so horrible? The answer is quite simple. I care more than you do, period. I think my job is more important than most on the planet, and I’m going to fight for what’s right and point out what’s wrong. Every day I go to work and the only thing positive on my campus are the kids. Every other moment there is conversation about budget cuts, losing Advanced Placement, unions refusing to serve the interest of teachers, wage cuts, furlough days, good teachers quitting, schools closing, class sizes increasing, electives being cut, and a general feeling that nobody cares about education. Get the kid (even if they haven’t earned it) a diploma for being there, have them pass a couple of standardized tests, and move them on to the next phase, even if actual learning doesn’t take place. That seems like the social status quo. I’m angry because I don’t see that as acceptable. I have your children for crying out loud. You should care just as much as I do (speaking to society in general).
So, I’ll try to shake it off because I won’t lose the passion, but all this crap is really distracting.