Thursday, April 26, 2001
A teachers work
is never, ever done
Editors note: This essay was sent in by a reader who said it came from a co-worker who copied it from an unknown source on the Internet. Because it has something to say about teachers, who are much on our minds these days, it is reprinted here even without knowing the identity of the author.
Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning. Not only that, I'm to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify disruptive behavior and observe them for signs of abuse, drugs and T-shirt messages.
I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for guns and raise their self-esteem. I'm to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, how and where to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job. But I am never to ask if they are in this country illegally.
I am to check their heads occasionally for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of potential antisocial behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others and always make sure that I give the girls 50 percent of my attention.
I'm required by my contract to be working on my own time -- summer and evenings and at my own expense toward advance certification and a master's degree; to sponsor the cheerleaders or the sophomore class; and after school, I am to attend committee and faculty meetings and participate in staff development training to maintain my current certification and employment status.
I am to collect data and maintain all records to support and document our building's progress in the selected state-mandated program to "assess and upgrade educational excellence in the public schools."
I am to be a paragon of virtue larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority.
I am to pledge allegiance to supporting family values, a return to the basics and to my current administration. I am to incorporate technology into the learning, but monitor all web sites for appropriateness while providing a one-on-one relationship with each student.
I am to decide who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit crimes in school or who is possibly being abused, and I can be sent to jail for not mentioning these suspicions to those in authority.
I am to make sure ALL students pass the state and federally mandated testing and all classes, whether or not they attend school regularly or complete any of the work assigned.
I am to communicate frequently with each student's parent by letter, phone, newsletter and grade card.
I'm to do all of this with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45-minute-or-less plan time and a big smile -- all on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps in many states.
And you expect me to do all this without praying? Yeah, right.