Thursday, July 22, 2010
Teachers: Scapegoats and Saviors I
If you can't DO, then TEACH.
If you can't teach, teach Gym.
What do you call a lazy, know-it-all with summers off?
A high school student.
What do you call a lazy, know-it-all with summers off with pay?
A high school teacher.
It's actually kind of hard to find good teacher jokes on the interwebs. I mean: hard in a “I found it on Google or Yahoo in .34 seconds” sort of way. I only looked for five minutes-- which is the equivalent of three weeks in pre-internet time-- and found really stupid, “family friendly” jokes. Gross. I think I hate “family friendly” anything. (Disclaimer to my parent readers out there: I know that I am a myopic bachelor who lives at the center of my own universe AND when/if I have children, my outlook on everything, including “family friendly” will change. Check. I got it.)
Anyway, I started thinking of writing this blog based on a simple supposition I have: teaching is the most controversial profession of our time. More than oil tycoons, prostitutes, priests, or bloggers, teachers bring out reactions in us. We all have opinions about them, many of us think most are frauds, we've all been screwed by them, and we know that a good one is priceless.
No one doesn't have an opinion about school teachers. Whether we are talking about summers off, salary, moral character, or competence, everyone feels free to judge teachers. A few of my favorites:
“Teachers only work nine months a year-- and they only work from 8-3.”
“People who become teachers do it because they get to push around little kids.”
“I had a teacher who was wasted/high all the time.”
“Teachers have no 'real life' experience.”
“My friend/cousin/coworker had a teacher who was sleeping with his students.”
“Teachers are people who couldn't make it in 'real world.'”
Fun! And these are just among the most common. My favorites are about how teachers are lazy fakers who mooch off the tax system, just to teach their own, narrow belief systems.
Don't get me wrong. I know that the other side of the coin is equally charged: the belief that teachers are magic-working angels. That a good teacher literally gives his life for his students, sacrificing a life outside school in order to grade papers, plan assignments and activities, and tend to his most needy students. These teachers are the Christs or Buddhas of our times. They have no families, are divorced or unmarried, often have nine cats or a couple of dogs, and float a few inches off the ground.
Anyway, so what's it all about? How did the 'fall back job' of the last few generations become the Lady Gaga of professions?
Check back soon and let's talk about it in Part Two!
And I'd love to hear your thoughts...