Monday, March 22, 2010

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Crimes against Teachers

I looked forward to sending my first child to school. I imagined a cute classroom with Mary Poppins for a teacher and students in crisp uniforms eagerly learning their lessons. What I saw when I visited my local public school was more similar to a juvenile detention institution than an educational venue of any sort. I chose to home school and I continued until my children went to college. The teachers I saw were wardens in an out-of-control child-controlled nightmare and I had an opportunity to stay home and keep my children out of the muck.

Everyday I hear horror stories coming out of our schools. For example, one teacher was reprimanded for informing a student that her clothing was totally inappropriate and that she looked like a prostitute. I have seen the way some teenage girls dress to go to school and some of the girls do indeed look like they've been working on the street. Whether this teacher was exaggerating the girl's style of dress or not, I don't know, but it was her classroom and she had the right to expect students to look and behave appropriately. Maybe the teacher should have used more "sensitive" language and softly spoken to the child, perhaps, "suggesting" she choose a more "appropriate" selection of clothing. And maybe the parents should support the teacher and not overreact and get the teacher in trouble.

PLEASE! THIS is what is wrong with our schools. Teachers are not treated as respected elders with the power to put students in their place should they need to be put there. Disrespect of a teacher should get a student in very hot water, not the teacher. This even applies to upper level education as well. I just got a call from the college I teach at because the students were offended I was failing them for not doing the work and plagiarizing. I am considered harsh for leveling with them and giving them the grades they deserve. I was even told I "upset" a student for discussing Mark Furhman's use of the N word in connection with the OJ trial, so I should be more racially sensitive (not that the student should actually do any of the work and stop trumping up ridiculous charges against a teacher to get back at her).

If we don't get our act together, ALL children will be left behind; we will have raised a generation of ignorant, undereducated ingrates and we will pay dearly for it in the future.


Janet Braunstein said...

My mother, who went back to school and graduated second in her class after we started elementary school, was an enthusiastic teacher. Until principals stopped backing teachers, until her literature classes became filled with frightening, rude students with no desire to learn.

Terrified and seriously unhappy, my mother retired early. An entertaining, highly respected teacher among the staff and former students, her retirement was the school system's loss.

One more story, told in the Detroit Free Press by a black columnist. A teacher some decades ago helped a bright student succeed by pointing out the one thing that might hold her back: she needed to learn to speak clear, mainstream English. Her advice worked. Today? No teacher would be allowed to say that.

Anonymous said...

You would think this would be common sense, but not at all. The parents do not seem to support the teachers at all and let their kids get away with nonsense, complaining to the principals that their kid should get a higher grade even though they didn't do their homework, and the principals don't want to have complaining parents, so they have the teacher change the grade! Luckily our school district did adopt a dress code policy, so there is something they can now do about inappropriate dress, but not much about the rest of the bad behavior.

Pat Brown said...

Janet, your poor Mom! What a shame and what a waste. Those children would have been so lucky to have your mother as their teacher.

Anonymous, even teaching college is a nightmare of dealing with surly, lying, disrespectful students who have way too much power over the teachers.