Why Teachers Suck …

A friend and I were grousing about ignorance run amok.

“Americans get their information from internet memes,” I laughed.  “And in the true spirit of democracy, dullards who have never cracked a book will cancel the votes of people who actually have a clue. What could go wrong?”

“You know what the problem is?” Tim challenged.  “Our country’s a mess because teachers suck.”

teacher2I bristled.

Although I’ve been out of the classroom for a number of years, once a teacher, always a teacher.  Plus, I have family and friends still slugging it out in the trenches.  I know their battles and the wounds they carry.

“Dude, do you know what teachers endure on a daily basis?” I asked Tim.  I found that, no, he didn’t.  I fear most Americans might be as clueless.

I emailed a former colleague (she’s two years from retirement) and asked one question:  “How has education changed since you first started teaching?”  A week later I received six, single-spaced pages.

When Susan started teaching thirty-one years ago, she had six class periods (about twenty-five kids per class) and two “preps” (subjects to teach).  “We were expected to do all the usual things” like developing lessons, grading homework and tests, handwriting grade cards, and contacting parents “if and when necessary.”

(That last part made me snicker.  Teachers will get the joke.)

A lot has changed over three decades, and though they haven’t broken her, many of those changes have bent Susan to the point where she is ready to retire.

While Tim condemns Susan as America’s problem, her own words reveal why she and teachers like her suck …

Gentle reader, teachers suck …

  1. … because of paperwork

Reading through Susan’s career experiences, one word kept surfacing:  “paperwork.”

We have shackled our educators to a paper trail that, according to Susan, “takes hours and does nothing to help the students.”  Her state now requires documented learning objectives for every single student, including “all the steps to achieve that goal.”  The same legislation saddles each administrator in her school with the task of 120 classroom observations, “with the requisite pages of paperwork every time.  The teachers also have to submit paperwork for each formal observation.”

paperwork

“All forms must be submitted by 3pm.”

Papers, papers everywhere.

Susan’s school also has a mandatory mentoring program for new teachers.  Not a bad thing.  However—you guessed it—it comes with an avalanche of forms.  Both mentor and mentee spend hours preparing and submitting documentation instead of doing what they’ve been hired to do—teaching our kids.

Friends, teachers have always been successfully mentored.  In my first year of teaching, I received tons of help from experienced educators who actually had time to share their wisdom with me … because they weren’t buried in bureaucracy.

Susan sees new teachers “trying to wrap their heads around their preps, classroom management, fostering relationships, and learning the ART of teaching,” but that’s hard to do because they must submit “a huge portfolio filled with hours of paperwork.”  Meanwhile, some wizard waits behind the curtain to evaluate those documents and decide that young educator’s fate.  Some teachers fail only because “they don’t play the paperwork game well.”

(Also, just so we’re clear, digital submissions might save some trees, but it doesn’t save our educators.)

  1. … because of unfunded mandates.

“Our politicians are fond of making laws about education without any input from the people in the classrooms,” laments Susan.  The result?  Things like state and federally mandated testing.

teacher1

“Great!  More help from legislators!”

“Since we don’t trust teachers to actually teach, we have ‘accountability’.”  Yes, her sarcasm is delicious.  “Our kids spend hours [weeks, I would argue] testing rather than learning.”

As an employer, I see the fallout every day.  We have a generation of high school graduates who’ve been taught to worship some standardized test score but can’t think their way out of a corner.  But we can’t pin that on teachers.  They’re the ones left holding the empty bag dumped on them by short-sighted legislators.

Susan’s school just completed another round of mandatory testing.  It came with a hefty price tag.

“Because these tests are all online, our district had to retrofit each high school (there are three) with more data ports / WIFI / whatever you want to call it, to be able to handle hundreds of computers needing bandwidth at the same time.

“Where did the money come from?  Locally, of course.  We had to spend our district’s money on a state/federal mandate without any recompense.  Add that to the loss of learning time and it’s a big, fat lose-lose.”

A buzz-topic right now is school vouchers.  In a nutshell, vouchers allow parents to receive a tax credit equal to what might be spent on their child’s education.  They can use that money to send their kid to any school they want.  However, the money always comes from schools which are already underfunded.

On the subject of vouchers, we’ve got to change our perspective.  You’re not paying taxes to educate your own kids.  You’re paying to educate your neighbor’s kids, and that’s a terrific investment, because who wants dumb neighbors?

Friends, our educators are constantly being required to do more with less, and it has to stop.

  1. … because of litigation from parents

“I don’t know what kind of catastrophic event would have had to happen in 1986 to cause a parent to sue the school,” Susan writes, but schools are now legal tinderboxes.

Schools are filled with letters and numbers: IEP, 504, ELL, SLO, ESL, IDEA … the list goes on.  (Google them if you don’t recognize them.)  They aim to provide a quality education to every child, no matter their circumstance, deficiencies (or giftedness), mental or physical challenges, etc.  These are all good things, but they come with a heavy cost and the classroom teacher pays the bill, spending an excessive amount of time accommodating students who come in with these legally-binding documents.

administrators

Administrators putting out fires:  “Look, another lawsuit!”

I just talked with an educator who’s dreading the upcoming school year.  He’s already under assault by a parent waving around her kid’s unrealistic 51-page IEP.  This guy knows, however, that if one letter of that document isn’t followed with precise satisfaction, mom will file a lawsuit (as she has before).

Susan says lawsuits are now “common place,” and schools usually settle out of court to avoid expensive legal battles.  One student in her school was recently caught selling her mom’s prescription pills at school.

“Cut and dried, right?”  Not so fast.  “The parents said it was the school’s fault that she stole her mom’s meds and sold them because the school didn’t diagnose her with ADHD.”  The parents filed a lawsuit and the school district settled out of court.

“This happens all the time.”

Teachers have to second guess everything they do and say, and the ever-looming lawsuit threat only dims their brilliance as educators.

  1. … because of expectations from a broken society.

Teachers no longer simply teach their subjects.  Our schools are now responsible for raising children.  Not many kids learn basic “life skills” and attitudes at home, so we expect teachers to do what moms and dads won’t (or can’t).  Oh, and they’re also supposed to make sure the kids get fed.

Too many schools now have food / toiletry / clothing pantries for kids whose homes can’t provide basic necessities.  These are run by volunteers … and teachers, of course.

We ask teachers to teach, feed, clothe, and parent our children, but refuse them the resources, support, and time to do the job.  Instead, we shame them for not saving our fractured society.

“Not only are schools and teachers expected to fix all of society’s ills, we are also expected to turn out a fantastic product,” Susan says.  “It would be nice if it could be remembered that we are working with human capital, not with a product whose outcome we can control completely.”

And therein lies the biggest key to understanding why teacher’s suck …

Our teachers end up parenting a lot of kids, and that role comes with a costly emotional and psychological investment.  Teachers are often caring for students who are functioning orphans—and they do it for countless kids.  While they’re teaching their preps, answering emails and phone calls from angry parents, trying to ignore what some yahoo has said about them on social media, and filling out an insane amount of hoop-jumping documentation to help some politician get re-elected, they’re also trying to get the girl who’s been raped into counseling, making sure the kid out of rehab stays clean and on track, and trying to tenderly engage that discipline problem who’s now living on the streets because his parents are both in jail.

Friends, that’s reality.

You still want to know why teachers suck …?

Let me finish the sentence.

Teachers suck … it up and keep doing what they do because they love our kids.

They suck … it up and keep fighting the good fight because they are professionals with more heart, grit, and passion than anyone I know.

Teachers bleed for our nation’s children on a daily basis, and it’s time we unshackle them from bureaucratic nonsense and give them the resources and support to do the job they are called—and trained—to do.

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284 thoughts on “Why Teachers Suck …

  1. I once heard a teacher tell a finger pointing father who was blaming the teachers for his sons lack of success on the field ” You give us rocks and expect us to make rocket 🚀 scientists out of them. “

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  2. We live in a lawsuit-happy world this day and age. If one doesn’t like what is said or done to them, their knee-jerk reaction is to sue. Don’t get me wrong; there are cases that are legitimately worthy of litigation. However, it is the frivolous lawsuits that are concerning.

    Admittedly without knowing all the facts in the “cut and dried” case, that sounds like a textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit. There are scenarios that play out in my head on what may have happened, but sadly, none end well for the school. Since districts usually have limited money or resources, they usually settle these frivolous suits out of court. Even worse, the people who are lawsuit happy and use the courts, to quote Judge Marilyn Milian from “The People’s Court”, as their “personal cash registers” know it.

    Worst of all, kids learn how to manipulate the legal system.

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    • Even when the lawsuits come up as bullshit, the emotional and mental toll it takes on teachers is so heavy. It can really beat a teacher down so far it takes a while for them to get back to normal.

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      • If at all. Many many many leave. I taught for the last 8 years of my working years. I did it at the end because I knew that I would not have been able to take the emotional toll for more than that. I have done many things in my career, and teaching was delightful! But also the most challenging paperwork and administrative demand wise. There is no way that I could have ever received a 100 percent evaluation. The goals are impossible to reach.

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  3. This has got to be the best spot-on, nailed-it in a nutshell description of what’s wrong with education that I have read in a very, very long time. As a 27+ year educator (sadly looking for the exit door lately) myself, this summation made me very angry and anguished to read; then by the time I got to the part where you finished the opening statement in judgement of teachers, it made me proud. It made me proud of all the good people I know in education that you’ve rolled into one here. And I was proud I even caught a glimpse of my former self in there, (which also made me sad that I’m saying “my former self”… meaning the shreds the system has left me with.) Even more tragic is that, before this article, I would’ve said “left me to escape with.” But in that silver lining where teachers survive, this article has surprisingly left me just a tad hopeful: if we could get this message out there, with the problem so accurately & succinctly nailed down, just maybe the tides could change….
    So, against my inner cynic that says it still won’t matter because education has become just another bone tossed around by politicians to the profiteering jackals (like testing and textbook companies) who guard and line their pockets, I for one will be sharing this. And I’ll bother doing so for the sake of all of those in the schools still making a difference every day –even buried as they are under all the paperwork– and for the hope in how much more they/we might accomplish if it were lifted. I thank you for these words worth sharing.

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      • Thank you for writing this article. As an elementary teacher for 18 years, this brought tears to my eyes. Someone “gets it!” ❤️

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      • I could not decide to click “sad” or “angry”. I decided on “angry”. Angry at our legislators who know very little about teaching, angry at the U. S. Department of Education and all state departments of education. Give our teachers a good curriculum, and allow them to close their classroom doors to teach. Let them prepare and grade their own tests. No need to spend millions on standardized testing. Education has lost its focus. It is not about teaching students but about how much money can be made by all the legislated mandates!!! Then, I thought, “SO SAD”!!! Dr. Mike.

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    • I have read some of this will read it all shorlty. The one thing I feel lucky about as a teacher in NYC is that my union (UFT) though bargainig agreements has gotten it so I have a rediction in paper work. I still have alot of it . I do not have to write any type of responce for any observation given. If I do not agree with a observation write up then I can write up a rebudle. I do get a feedback meeting for any observation given.

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      • I really hope that you take the time to proofread whatever you submit! FYI, “alot” is not a real word. “Rebudle,” I fear, isn’t a simple typo on your part. Lots of typos for a teacher to make!

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      • Laurence…what Do you teach? Alot is NOT a word. You have a reduction in paper work. You may write up a rebuttal to your observation. Always proofread. Judy Williams-6th grade MATH Ga.

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      • And you are a teacher? Spellcheck not working? What is a rebudle? This is one of the things that is wrong with education…..some people who are in the profession cannot even give an opinion without correct syntax. Maybe your union should cull its rolls.

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      • You are not a real teacher, are you? There is no way you teach in NYC with that grammar. You’d never pass the Regents.

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      • The former comment must be a joke. Poor sentence structure, nonexistent punctuation, and misspellings. Surely Laurence is not really a teacher. If he is, that is proof of “Why Teachers Suck”.

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      • There are some really harsh responses on here. Sometimes, people just type faster than they think. This is a message board not the class chalkboard. I happen to have very good spelling skills. However, they are often sacrificed to conversational typing,

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    • I appreciate the perspective you’ve shared here. If I may add/ask, would teachers support the idea of getting the federal bureaucrats out of the schools and let the states run their schools as needed? The feds seem to regularly extort the states according to their agenda. A lack of parenting also seems to be a major part of the problems seen by schools and society.

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  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a Texas teacher at a low-income school, this all hits home for me. If you asked me what one thing I think needs to change about all else, I’d say “standardized testing.” I don’t know about other states, but in Texas, this is the #1 factor for all of our decisions. They expect us to essentially “teach to the test” rather than read actual books, and our scores are still disgraceful. Flocks of teachers are leaving the profession in Texas, and the STAAR test is a major reason.

    Bravo on this article. I hope it goes viral.

    Liked by 3 people

    • you are not alone…check out the opt out pages on fb…a growing number of parents are opting out of STAAR and doing it legally and the schools continue to lie and threaten those who do –good luck from a ret. teacher.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good! When parents truly understand and become involved – Changes can be made. It does take time, but keep fighting the good fight for the kids!

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  5. Condensing this down: teachers are fine. Politicians suck. Parents suck. Administrations suck.

    It simply is not that clear cut folks. Everyone has a role from mom and dad, to the government, to the administrators to the teacher. O yes — lest we forget, to the child as well. The problems are systemic and require a comprehensive approach.

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    • Jim – it does not say administrators suck anywhere in there. It says they too are buried and hampered by the same excessive testing and paperwork, the same issues facing the teachers.

      It does say that most of our politicians are ignorant grandstanding assholes. It’s not wrong.

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      • However, look at the majority of administrators and calculate how much actual experience in the classroom they have. I believe a majority of teachers who are “good” realize that the increase in pay is simply not worth the increase in time and agrivation. To make it worthy, you need to get in as soon as possible so the raises will get high enough to make it worth it. This translates into admins who have little experience in the classroom or wanted out of the classroom as quickly as possible (which means they probably weren’t good anyway). Therefore, the truly good admins have lots of experience and become administrators even though they know it isn’t worth it financially, but realize they can do actual good.

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      • Josh – Jim didn’t say administrators suck, he said, “administrations suck” referring (I assume) to state and federal leadership with their mandates for testing, etc…

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    • The idea of a comprehensive approach certainly has merit. That being the case, from your list of accountable agents, we’re forced to ask what “accountability” measures are being applied to parents. The research is very clear: the home environment is the #1 driver in academic performance. Yet, for all the calls of a “comprehensive approach,” the problem of home environment is never addressed. We make teachers “accountable” by threatening their job security and pay. We make administrators “accountable” by doing the same. To some small degree we even hold politicians “accountable” by putting them up for a vote.

      Yet, the MOST important component in a child’s education is left perpetually unaddressed. We’d better begin to recognize that there will be no educational fix for this nation until we fix what happens outside the classroom.

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      • John, as a 21 yr. educator myself, you hit the nail right on the head. Something has to be done about parenting skills (or lack there of) in our society today. In my neck of the woods, drug use is rampant and no one seems to be doing anything about it, except reviving overdoses on a daily basis. The demise of our society is not occurring in our schools, but rather, the home where life takes root. The sooner our government officials figure that out and hold parents accountable, the sooner we will prosper as a country; however, that’s never going to happen because politicians won’t rock the boat with this subset of society because they need their votes to stay in office.

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    • If you had ever spent ANY time in a classroom, you would understand the level of frustration that teachers feel. The author has to make some generalizations in an article of this type. The day will come when no one who has any sense will go into education. Why put yourself through the heart for little pay and lees respect?

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    • This article did not make anything as “clear cut” as you claimed it did. But people do not blame parents or politicians for bad education, teachers are always to blame. It did not say all politicians are to blame. But in 18 years of teaching, there has yet to be a politician who succeeded in helping us. Most parents are good, but very few help teachers do their jobs, and an increasing percentage of them are absent/inactive in their child’s education. If I average 170 students every year, and I have 10 students or parents who are problematic and the others are not involved, that is still a great deal of parenting to do for my students and a lot of grief to deal with from those 10.

      Condensing the article down creates a fallacy. Teachers have always and will always accept responsibility for teaching our students. We should not, will not, and cannot take the sole (or even the majority) of the blame for the failings of society’s educational system. Teachers can’t fix what society and politics are breaking, but our love of our students and craft means that we will continue to fight for our kids and teach them as best we can year after year.

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    • I know there are many who will dispute me but she’s right. Many parents have no idea what their job is. They see time at home as ” their time”. When I ask students what they did over the weekend they often shrug their shoulders. “Oh, nothing much.”
      This, of course is not every parent but enough to make me discouraged. Please don’t tell me it’s their work schedule! Parents must figure out how to make learning and knowledge of our world interesting! It’s their job.

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  6. As a fellow teacher, I lovingly, reprovingly suggest that teachers might just “suck” because they always point to the challenges they face. Hey – we get it. I know I do. So what will we do about it?

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    • I know that’s exactly the point ot the article, so don’t misunderstand my post. I think we all need to realize the opportunity, then ask ourselves “why me?” in the most self-assessing way possible, so as to make the difference that is uniquely ours to make.

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    • I think writing an article about the issues facing education and getting a conversation started about poor policies is a good start. A problem can’t be solved if you don’t know it exists, which was kind of the point from the beginning. People blame teachers blithely without a real understanding of what they’re facing.

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  7. This is all so very true in my 20 years of experience; however, starting it with ad hominem attacks, regardless of how commonplace or accurate they may be, buries your point to anyone who you may want to truly understand and see some enlightenment.

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  8. Years back, Larry Lezotte was pushing his ‘Effective Schools” nonsense. I was on the committee that handled this stuff and it was amazing to me and others how much paper was generated. I recall telling my Super that I could better spend my time reading the 100 hundred YA books that had come into the library that year so that I could then recommend them to my students. His expression to that said he thought I was pulling his chain. I was not. Polishing off a hundred young adult books for an experienced and avid reader like myself would not be exceptional.

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    • I spent years reading young adult literature so I could use those books to hook my junior high reluctant readers up with books they could and would respond to! 100 books was summer reading….

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      • I’m a substitute teacher and I often read the assigned book of the day during my prep period (when I get one). Students are amazed that I can discuss the finer points of the plot. Sure makes teaching easier.

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  9. I loved teaching, but the paperwork, psycho parents, No child left behind (sounds good, doesn’t it?) and all that went with it makes me happy to be retired. I am truly afraid for our kids with today’s political climate and Betsy DeVos in charge.

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    • I loved teaching also. I spent 19 years in the classroom as a paraprofessional, basically doing many of the same things as the teachers I worked alongside, including assisting with lesson planning. I absolutely loved going to work. During my 19th year, I started college at the age of 48. The next six years were spent as a school secretary while going to school part time. It took me 6 years, but I graduated with a B.A. in History, with a minor in English. Two months later I was working on my Masters. I got a provisional teaching certificate and a job as an 8th grade special education teacher, co-teaching math and science. While I taught, I finished my M.Ed in Instructional Technology, and began working on the GATAPP, which is GA Teacher Alternative Preparation Program. This program allows you to teach while attending classes and seminars, doing classroom observations, and real-world projects involving your students. At the end of the program, if you have completed all of the requirements, you are granted a clear renewable teaching certificate. Along the way, I also took extra certification tests, so I was certified to teach almost any subject. After going though all of this to be able to teach, I retired after only 7 years actually teaching, mainly because of the reasons outlined in the article. By this time I was 62 years old, and my last good nerve was hanging by a thread. We had to learn the Common Core curriculum and a new teacher evaluation system (the 3rd eval. system in my 7 years), both of which were adding even more paperwork to a workload I could barely keep up with as it was. So it was either retire or check myself into the loony bin, and I chose retirement.

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  10. As a 27-year veteran of the education wars (now thankfully retired), I can attest to the truth in this article. Teachers are asked to do more and more for less and less. I would NEVER encourage a teen to become a teacher in today’s environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. In the district where I teach, and anecdotally in other districts as well, teachers are *required* to do extracurricular – usually without pay – in order to keep their teaching job. In other words, your actual job security is contingent upon your “pitching in” and doing things that are not your job (e.g. Planning and delivering a PD session, coaching (“volunteer”), sponsoring/advising a club, etc.). This, of course, is technically not required, “but if you don’t do it, we’ll find someone who will.” I have personal experience of untenured teachers whose contracts were “non-renewed” not because they were bad teachers (good evaluations and test scores), but because “as [you] know, we hired a new football coach, and so we need to make room for him to bring in his assistants. This has nothing to do with your teaching. You’re an excellent teacher. We just need coaches.” So, in fact, the coaches (of the “money sports”) are given the latitude to make personnel decisions that are unrelated to the team/sport that they coach.

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  12. Wonderful post. I taught and coached for most of forty-three years. Most of the time it was rewarding, sometimes it wasn’t. I’ll let you guess which half was more rewarding.

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  13. Pingback: Feeling Unvalued | Sweat to Inspire

  14. Two preps? That would be nice. As an elementary school teacher, I teach about five per day. And yes, paperwork sucks. And keeping so much data on the class and individual children sucks. And being called out for meetings and being expected to be on “task forces” for things like finding our own resources and staff morale (ha!) sucks. And yes, having to deal with Hmm, that kid been wearing the same shirt for three days or Hmm, the social worker says that really capable kid needs to be a behavior chart because he doesn’t feel like writing–ever or Hmm, that girl forgot her homework folder (again) and received her third notice that she owes money for lunch really sucks, but yet we do it, most of the time with a smile on our faces.
    I’ve only been teaching a dozen years, but I’ve seen changes over he years, and it makes me consider resigning and doing something else.

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    • I understand you have more than 2 preps because you teach elementary school. I also understand you work hard, but you can’t compare primary education with secondary. We averaged 31 students for 6 periods and our teaching is more in-depth. Each has its own set of challenges, but we are all there to teach our students to be successful. Why? Teaching is a calling and we teach with a heart, no matter what level we have.

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      • I don’t intend to start anything here just pointing out that being an elementary teacher is just as hard as being a secondary teacher. It’s challenging in a different way. Elementary teachers have to plan, teach, evaluate, reteach, and test in EVERY subject. Elementary teachers have the same kids ALL day long so that really challenging kid isn’t moving along after 45 minutes. We have to be subject matter experts in six subjects not one or two. Usually prep for elementary in one 40 minute period 4 days per week. I don’t intend to sound angry but it bugs me when secondary teachers think less of elementary teachers.

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  15. I’m a high school teacher AND the parent of a severely autistic child who had IEPs from kindergarten through three years of the 18-21 transition program – 16 annual IEPs as well as one mid-year re-do, and 6-8 monthly team meetings (either my husband or I attended all the team meetings and usually both of us at the IEPs).

    An IEP is a negotiation between two groups: parents who want every possible scrap of help for their child’s life-time success, and school districts who want to do the least possible in order to conserve limited resources that are spread among all the children in the school district. Both goals are rational. The negotiation is the process of finding the spot in the middle that is acceptable to both.

    You may hear disdainful anecdotes about “cadillac IEPs,” parents who get ridiculous accommodations, and parents who sue at the drop of a hat. You don’t hear as much about school-proposed idiocies, such as goals of “Freddy will independently cross the street in 4 out of 5 attempts.” (I do acknowledge that it was the district’s autism specialist who pointed out the problem with that school-written goal, as I and my husband were left speechless.)

    You also probably do not hear of the interim goal report that “Freddy was successful on yes/no questions in 30% of attempts.” (That is worse than random, indicating to a non-math-challenged person that there is some issue either with the teaching or the recording of data.)

    There are far more parents who could sue and do not.

    In 16 years through the system it is almost inevitable that some illegal actions will take place because front-line teachers are not lawyers and are trying to do the best they can with limited resources. Some illegal activities take place because the school district dedicates more budget to lawyers than to actually providing services. Parents who don’t know the law get steam-rolled by this. Examples? An IEP where the “money person”, the district representative who can authorize expenditures, shows up at the beginning of the meeting and then leaves “temporarily” 10 minutes later and never comes back. Less experienced parents would have signed that IEP. We did not.

    Or the 3rd grade classroom teacher who proposed a change of placement during the IEP meeting, without any prior notice, without the approval of the principal or administration. We did not accept that placement but I left that meeting in tears because the proposed placement would have been 8 miles from our house, instead of 2 blocks away and in the same school as his brother and sister, and I felt that the teacher’s proposal meant that my son was not welcome at the school he had been in kindergarten. We could have sued and did not.

    The time that I was told my son could not go on a field trip unless I went along with him, because “there aren’t enough paras to take care of him.” Then there was the time that his primary para’s mother passed away and all the paras in the school wanted to attend her funeral, and one of them called and asked me to keep him home that day so they could go. Clearly illegal, but I took the day off work and did it because I did not want the paras to be upset because they are the ones most directly involved in his care and education.

    Yes, I am a teacher now. I did not seek a job in our home district because I felt that I could not advocate for the school district in matters with special ed students. The district I work in has its own struggles with SPED, as do all, but at least I don’t know the inner workings and can believe that they are all trying their best, unlike in the district that my children attended.

    I realize this is quite long-winded, but please realize that in any IEP meeting, everyone there is getting paid to attend except for the parent or parents in attendance. The parents are actually paying to attend, since they are either losing an hourly wage or using up sick or vacation pay.

    Most parents who attend and take an active interest in their child’s IEP are desperately struggling to raise a disabled child, and likely their non-disabled siblings. They are facing a lifetime of care for this child, while the school will be done with them at most by the age of 21. They will do anything they can to work WITH the school since that is the only possible way for their child to get the best treatment. Just as most people know that you don’t want to annoy your wait person, parents of truly disabled children don’t want to antagonize the people who are with their child every second of the school day.

    As for my teaching and differentiating bona fides, this past year, 2016-17, I had 184 students across both semesters, with 40% ELL or SPED or both (6 out of 184, 3%). I’m not talking about something abstract here. I have lived both sides of it. I’ve been differentiating for 25 years, since my 2nd child was born. If you have a class of 30 individuals, then you are differentiating, too. If you have a class of 30 students, then differentiating may be a distasteful headache.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve often attended IEP meetings before or after my contracted teaching hours. Yes, legally a teacher must be at those meetings. No, we do not always get paid. If you are in a district where teachers are paid to be in IEP meetings, often for hours outside the school day, you are lucky. The thing I found most frustrating though was the inequality of distribution of students on IEPs. Oftentimes, teachers would end up with no IEP students. A friend of mine last year taught a remedial 9th grade science class in which 12 of 30 students had an IEP. She was in meetings every week. I am sure raising a student with a disability is difficult, but so is teaching in a broken system.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am a recent high school graduate. I’m 17, and have Asperger’s Syndrome. The way I actually found this article is that one of my Middle School Gifted teachers shared it on Facebook, so I figured I might as well see what it said, because I like reading and I don’t really have much else to do. This past year, I became very close with my Special Ed teacher and my para. I’ve been trying to email my SpEd teacher for a while now, but she only responded once when I used my school email, which has now been terminated. As for my para, she is on Facebook, but my SpEd teacher said I should probably not friend her until I’m 18, just in case. I just want to say, keep fighting. Believe me, it may not seem this way sometimes, but the kids appreciate what you do, especially the ones who are high-functioning enough to really see what’s going on. I had a close friend in my class last year who pretty much relied on my teacher for food. It was really hard for me to see her barely be able to have enough to eat. I usually went home for lunch, since I live near my school, but some days there would be circumstances that made me unable to walk home, so I would have to rely on my teacher’s help for food. A lot of times, I was so exhausted just from life in general that I had to take naps during school. I was out cold. My teacher and my para were the only two people able to wake me up. As for my IEP meeting, I remember my last one all too well. I was taking Psychology, and my Psychology teacher, my SpEd teacher, the Principal, and my parents were all there. I had recently started an experiment for Psychology that involved five teachers who were coffee addicts going for a week without coffee. And yes, they were addicts. Guess who the five participants were? Three paras, my SpEd teacher, and my Psychology teacher. And guess who had to deal with her SpEd teacher’s complaints during class about how much she missed her coffee with milk? This gal right here. It was really difficult for them to give up coffee for a week, but I am so proud of them for going through with it. It also gave me a bunch of really fascinating data for my project. The point is, I know that my teachers care about me. When I had gone to Graduation Practice the morning of graduation, one of my old paras brought me back home with another student, and we snuck into the school and I said hi to my teacher, and she was so excited she got up and hugged me. The point is, while I am unsure of what goes on inside the minds of the “Intensive Needs” students, because as much as I know, as much as I’ve researched about Autism, there are some things I may never know, but the point is, I know what goes on inside my own head. I know that I miss my SpEd teacher, and I can’t wait to visit her at the school once school starts back up. I know that I appreciate all that my teachers have done for me. So please, please don’t give up. There might be a student like me in your future that might really need you. And believe me, yes, WHICH SpEd teacher a student has matters, especially to people like me who are mostly friends with their teachers because they have a hard time being friends with kids because they’ve been bullied so much in their younger years. You guys are really, REALLY important.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Those are the most important words on this page. 🙂 I have been a teacher in a high needs school for over 25 years, and often get frustrated with the system. Knowing that what I do matters to my students is what keeps me going. I am sure your teachers feel the same about you.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. The main problem it seems is over involvement by the government in schools, but also in other facets of society. One of those is health care. When more and more middle management employees are added to government there has to be additional work created for teachers, doctors, nurses and other employees just to justify the positions. More money thrown at any issue only helps if it is used in the right way. It hasn’t been used in the right way in a very long time. Requiring paperwork that is unnecessary and tedious for every profession only puts the focus in the wrong place and that is not on the children or patients. It means less time for what matters. There have been so many rules and regulations added that don’t even make sense. Some regulation is obviously needed but it has gotten to a point of the ridiculous. It only increases every year. Many children are in terrible situations at home or have parents who can’t ever believe their child could be wrong. It is a generation raising children that feel entitled and expect their children to get the best grades, the most attention, to never be reprimanded and believe the fault can only lie with the teacher. So many want to place blame on those who are just struggling to handle all of the extras expected while still being there for the children. Major change needs to happen, but I can’t see that coming.

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    • Wow, Buffy. It’s hard to tell whether you’re bitter or just poorly educated. My first question is, which tenor did you have in mind? Caruso perhaps? Next I can’t help but wonder why it is you think that teachers can do nothing else with their degrees. Teachers leave the field every day, going on to jobs in the private sector. What’s saddest is that many of them are leaving jobs that they once loved and saw as a vocation rather than a mere career due to exactly what this article discusses.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Most of us stay in the job for the kids. To say otherwise shows a lack of exposure to, and the experience of a classroom. After a while it just becomes who you are. Feel free to disagree but unless you have been in charge of a classroom of kids your opinion is based on feelings rather than facts.

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    • I am a HS teacher of 15 years. I have occasionally contemplated changing careers during that time for some of the reasons pointed out here. However, I have stuck with it because it’s a pretty sweet gig, for me anyways. I get to teach great kids a subject I love (Music), and I get 10 weeks off in the summer plus 2 weeks in December and one in April, and weekends off when there aren’t extra-curricular responsibilities (my choice). Granted, my contract is only for 182 days, so I’m not paid for the time off…but it’s a great perk, especially for our family. I hate the ridiculous paperwork and “accountability” as much as anybody. And meetings, oh the meetings. But, I have found ways to jump through the hoops with as little effort as possible to concentrate on what really matters. In 15 years I’ve definitely learned that this too shall pass.

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      • And don’t bother with the, “yeah, but you’re just a music teacher, that’s different!”. I know it is, that’s partly why I do it.

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  17. I am not an educator, however, I have family members and friends who are. I also have a SPED child that my wife and I had to put through school. The problem I see with most of the arguments in this article is that most people are making generalized statements. No, all teachers do not suck, but then again, neither do all parents, administrators, legislators, (well, maybe them), etc. While I do believe that most teachers want the best for the kids, I have known too many that have given up, and refuse to leave the field. What is truly wrong with our educational system is that there are not enough people willing to work together to improve it. I listen to my brother talking about the changes that he and others in his school have made, and I couldn’t be more proud of any person. He got into teaching to make a difference in the lives of children, he became an administrator to make a difference. He is not alone, I know. But, we need more like him. He gets the students AND their parents involved in the process of education. He is known at the district level as an innovative thinker. He believes that if the way you’re teaching isn’t working, change the way you teach. Ok, this has gone on way longer than I intended, but I feel better for it. I will close with this, in any field, there are going to be good and bad. Your job is to be the best you can be.

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  18. Reblogged this on writingontherim and commented:
    I was going to write a nice little poem for my blog post today but instead decided this was more important to post. As I teacher, I can verify the veracity of this post. In some ways it may be a little easier for me because I teach mostly seniors in high school who are somewhat self sufficient but many still get free or reduced lunches, some are homeless or drift from one friend to another since thrown out of their own house, some work so late they can barely stay awake in class, some self medicate because no one can afford the meds they need. Most graduate in spite of this. How? Because the school and teachers go to great lengths doing everything imaginable to help them succeed, e.g. online programs, extra time, alternative assignments. Why do I continue to teach? I love teenagers; I never have a boring day; I work hard to make a difference; I think public education is the foundation for a working republic, for this country to flourish and succeed.

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  19. I am a shiny new fourth year teacher, entering my third year at my current school. My mom (who sent me the link) taught for 32 years in a low income public school and despite all the horror stories she would tell me growing up, I knew I wanted to go into teaching. I started at a public high school, but thankfully got a job at the private all-girls high school I had graduated from, not that slapping the word “private” really makes the students or parents really behave better. Or that having only one gender means there aren’t issues.

    I have had everything from the pleading parent begging me to change their child’s grade even though the child had been failing the entire semester, to sitting in a PTC where the father was telling his daughter’s teachers in front of her that she was just dumb and we should be taking the time to hold her hand through all of the assignments and tests and no she doesn’t have ADHD because dad has it and he would know if she did. ((Three weeks later, we get a 504 for the kid who *gasp* has tested positive for ADHD and low self-esteem)).

    This article laid out very very nicely some of the crap we teachers go through. I was asked just the other day if I had any cool summer plans since I have the next two months off and I just laughed and laughed. I literally had to leave the country to escape doing anything school related on vacation, and I STILL was asked about letters of recommendations. I have a giant binder sitting next to me of lesson plans I volunteered ((keep in mind…4th year teacher….i am an idiot)) to rewrite so that the assignments actually align with what we are teaching.

    People ask me frequently why I went into teaching if there is all this paperwork and headaches and parent-teacher-hostage-negotiations (I mean, conferences) when I have a degree in engineering. My response is this: I am in teaching with a degree in engineering to show my girls that it is possible to go into STEM fields and succeed. I was personally bored working as an engineer, but helping support my girls through teaching Physics and coaching Robotics for two years has shown me that even though I feel like I’m drowning with all the paperwork and IEP/504/ELL modifications to keep track of, I can really make a difference in the lives of these girls by simply telling them “yes you can”.

    And for the record, the girl whose dad said she was stupid, I worked with her and tutored her and she ended the year with a 76. It turns out that the rigor we demand for our students was a bit too overwhelming for her, but from her friends that are still at the school, she misses me and appreciates what I did for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree teachers are facing mounds of impossible tasks. I agree because I am a teacher! I’ve taught public, private and home-schooled. It’s too much!
    However…
    I also disagree with the idea that voucher money “always comes from schools which are already underfunded.”
    My tax dollars come from money that I earned. If I participate in a voucher program to better educate my child that money was never the schools money. It was never the school’s money to begin with. I work for that. There is no government program that pays me. I provide so I should decide where my child gets educated.
    Average dollars spent in 2014 per child ranged from around 7 to 18,000 + . Where is return on investment? How much is enough? Shouldn’t every parent have the right to choose where to invest their hard earned dollars for their child’s education if they recognize their child is in a failing school? This is the government brainwashed thinking we have.
    Sorry but I disagree with “underfunded.”

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    • Once again, “politics” raises it’s ugly head into yet another critical aspect of American society. I cannot help but to be disturbed by what I have read here today and more surprising, even to my own very conservative self. One thing I didn’t see specifically mentioned is the mania for “parity”. I feel that this mania, partiularly at the federal governmental level, is a large part of the cause of the mania for standardized testing and it’s accompanying volumes of paperwork. Sure, in the ideal, “every” child deserves a great education in this country. The shame of it is that not every person, teacher, student, administrator, school, school system, community, county, state or region is equal. In terms of socio-economic status and background of the student and their families, the economy of the region, state, county or community (as well as these’ political influence in/on the larger federal government. I can’t bring myself to call for the record-keeping to be lifted from the teacher’s burden because, in the twisted justice which prevails in this nation at present, this would automatically promote the hiring of people to take on that burden at taxpayer expense making them even MORE resentful of their school tax burden. I wish to God that more people would make the sacrifice to raise their own children, I’m sure that would help (some). I wish that more parents would become directly involved in their child’s education and in their schools. That would help (some). The long and short of it is that the problem (as are so many situations facing the citizens of this once great nation) is SOOO big and SOOO complex and complicated by decades of well-meaning governmental interference that one scarcely knows where or how to begin. I know one thing for certain–There will be NO solution as long as parents cannot or will not bring themselves to a position of supporting NOT their youngsters (blindly at that…), but their schools, administrators and most importantly, their teachers. Furthermore, Regardless of how ineffectual it might seem, We, The People, MUST prevail upon our legislators and stay “on their backs” to “do right” by our kids and their schools. We won’t be accorded another chance at educating our youngsters and the alternative is unthinkable. All things being equal, education needs to once again, become a priority in our budgets and in a real way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So, Rob, if you take your proposal on how our tax dollars should be spent, should people that do not have children no longer be required to pay for schools? It is money THEY earned, so why do they need to subsidize the funding of YOUR child’s education? 🙄

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    • Poor Joe!
      Like every other snowflake in existence he melted into a pool of water when his anger got the best of him. Probably one too many “kicks” in the rear end by teachers who were trying to motivate this over sensitive young man caused his anger issues.

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  21. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … | Old Road Apples

  22. Don’t leave out the reality that Republicans have taken a position to widely and blankly criticize and blame teachers for “indoctrinating” students and other such garbage as part of their political rhetoric. You can see the result in above comments per the use of words like “coddled” and “snowflakes”. I expect more from our politicians, and it is sad they use such rhetoric, and harm the value of education, harm the importance of good teachers, in their attempts to appeal to morons for votes.

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  23. I agree with the article. I’m a teacher, came to it later in life after having spent 10 years in the military and then a few years in the private sector after college. I was in my 30s before teaching and, though most of what is in the article is true, I’ve never had a job I love more. All the frustration melts away whenever you realize the positive impact you’ve made on a child’s life. That alone makes all the other BS tolerable and why I’ll keep teaching until they force me out or carry me out in a pine box.

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  24. Most teachers do not suck. They are here to educate. But instead, we now have to feed and clothe them and even teach basic manners. Society is failing, not teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Maybe this is the privilege of working in a relatively well funded school district, but I disagree with almost every premise here.

    I deal with paperwork. Yes, it is tedious. But it also helps me know precisely what kinds of questions or background knowledge I need to know about my student… what works, what does not. It is information being diseminated to all teachers at once, monitoring progress, giving data to make better choices. I don’t find this a reason why my job “sucks,” but I do believe that those who think it sucks for this reason don’t really understand the nature of finding a modern educational system that serves diverses needs of populations efficiently. I often think teachers who don’t pay attention and don’t participate in these conversations have a difficult time reaching kids, and often “suck” in their own right from the perspective of their peers and their students. Furthermore, I had a real job at one point, and the concept of paperwork is everywhere. We aren’t the only ones dealing with paperwork, so suck it up.

    Unfunded mandates have always been around, it’s just been more local in nature. You complain that the long and inadequate hand of the man is messing with your classroom… it just so happens this arm comes from a dismembered body from your state capital and DC. What does this arm want? in essence, to produce a workforce that can chase after jobs from region to region. Why should NY or VA students have a leg up over other states, thereby condemning citizens in these underprivileged states to invisible obstacles to getting their dream jobs? Education is here to help the students, not make the jobs of teachers more convenient. Try getting to know why these mandates exist, how you can accomplish them with the tools you have, and give critical feedback to your community on what resources are lacking to obtain these. Otherwise, you are a part of the problem my friend.

    The prospect of lawsuits often come from parents who are looking for equity for their students. In my experience, the problem is not because of good teachers being victimized by evil parents, its by tenure keeping teachers who are incompetent, inadequately prepared, or burnt out in place to perpetuate their incompetency. Sure, there are a few parents who are legitimately ‘nightmares,’ who deal with social problems of their own that are translated into their child, but what are you going to do? Advocate for sterilization to solve this problem? Every profession has uncontrollable problems associated with it; this again feels like teachers complaining that they are victims and are entitled to a comfortable little life with limited effort.

    And finally, I do agree with the last point. However, this is a huge societal problem that I don’t know how to change. I believe this is the only problem we have to overcome, but I am 15 years a teacher and what keeps me coming back year after year is my love for my community and my students and my belief that I can and do make a difference; my impact does not have to be perfect and it is still appreciated.

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    • Your comments reveal that you have a utilitarian view of what education is all about. It’s not about training children for future employment, it’s about preparing them for citizenship. Your passive acceptance of mandates and paperwork, even rationalizing much of it away is a bit sad.

      One question you asked is easy to answer. NY and Virginia should be able to have a leg up on other states because they choose to prioritize education above other policy items. If other states wish to denigrate public education, drive teachers out of the schools, set inappropriate learning standards for children, assist in the privatization of a public asset, set policies that have little to do with improving education but lots to do with increasing campaign contributions…well let them. National standards have been and continue to be a mistake both in concept and in execution.

      I don’t see teachers complaining any more than any other profession. I do see the well trained public ignoring their thoughtful comments and believing the memes and tropes of the wealthy reformers who are in it to make a buck.

      Educators are the experts here, not the politicians. So much of the paperwork and mandates do little to nothing to help our children succeed in their education. It is essential we teachers speak out again and again when we see this systematic abuse of our educational system.

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  26. 34 years in one of America’s largest systems and honors/awards up the wazoo – yes to accomplishments and students’ genuine love for me…

    However, my last few years in the classroom changed tremendously because of kids’ negative home lives (primarily), lack of administrative support, standardized tests, school violence, and the list goes on and on. It became a chore to get up in the mornings and I yearned for Fridays.

    Last week I received a Facebook message from a student I taught back in the mid-80’s. Though I didn’t remember her at all, this now-mother of three grown children thanked me for making such a positive difference in her life. Then, she said had I not been a part of her life at that time, she’d probably be in prison today and then ended the message by saying she prays for me each night.

    And, folks, THAT’S why I **continue** to realize I made a huge difference, even with all the difficulties we teachers faced daily. Unfortunately, because of these problems, I don’t think the majority of today’s educators have the commitment and perseverance of yesteryear’s teachers.

    We must support public schools and their teachers. Get involved – our county’s future depends on it!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … – biblebeltsite

  28. “I don’t know what kind of catastrophic event would have had to happen in 1986 to cause a parent to sue the school,” Susan writes, but schools are now legal tinderboxes.

    Schools are filled with letters and numbers: IEP, 504, ELL, SLO, ESL, IDEA … the list goes on”

    Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the Federal Dept of Ed beginning operation in 1980,…… right? I mean, Education was taken out of the hands of individual teachers, schools, cities, even states. Personal accountability went out the window, because the Federal Government would take care of everything.

    Every teacher I know complains constantly about bureaucratic red tape and paperwork, but gets absolutely hysterical at any mention of abolishing the Federal Dept of Ed and restoring power to teachers, parents, schools and states. Don’t they realize that this is the root cause of these headaches? The Fed Dept of Ed does not fund schools, they don’t build schools, buy textbooks, or fund any school programs. All they do is force states to send them tax dollars earmarked for education so that they can pay government bureaucrats, who have never taught in a classroom, to set educational standards and mandates, and then blackmail the school districts into complying with these standards and mandates with the treat of keeping the remaining tax dollars that didn’t go towards Dep of Ed salaries. Schools and districts that are good little blackmail-ees that comply get some of the money back in the form of federal funds. Don’t they understand that this money was theirs to begin with & the Fed is skimming off the top?

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  29. Look, I love my kids’ teachers, but it’s a bit unfair to lump ALL parents in together when it comes to the lawsuit thing. My son was being “progressively disciplined” right out the door of his school, despite a year and a half of IEP requests by my husband and me. He’s at the light end of the autism spectrum with other diagnoses, too, and the school ignored every request we made. We finally met with an attorney and threatened a lawsuit, and the administrators couldn’t schedule his first IEP meeting fast enough.

    I understand that schools are underfunded, and especially our small school, but to literally kick students out of school as a budget line item is wrong.

    In the last year that we’ve had his IEP, several more students have been granted one, and they’ve hired additional staff. As for whether or not it’s followed “to the letter” – we allow his school to run the IEP. They’re the experts, they went to school for this stuff, we assume they know what they’re doing. And it’s worked out beautifully.

    I’m not saying that teachers and schools aren’t put at disadvantages due to Federal mandates, but IDEA is necessary because even though most schools want to include special needs students, some just don’t. And we need the recourse.

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  30. This article expresses a few of the many reasons I homeschool my kids! I am so grateful for the freedom I have to remove my kids from a broken system and insure they receive a good education.

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  31. EXCELLENT article!!! It touches on all of the major problems with our schools today. I am 73 years old and honestly remember my early school years. I was taught – I wasn’t made to take standardized tests, therefore none of my teachers taught me and my fellow students to the test(s).

    I have some great memories of my school years and that includes many of my teachers. One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Lipton. He taught History. After I had taken the required US Government class, I was able to take International Relationships and Current Events. WOW! He allowed us to think, debate and learn about what was going on in the world around us. To this day, I am still active on political issues and what we can do to help the Local, State and Federal Governments. All of this really is due to Mr. Lipton and he was perfect for these classes.

    I had a 25+ year career in the Surgical Field. I am a Retired Certified Surgical Technologist. Talk about a career field that is “sue happy” – Just look at the world of Medicine and Surgery!!! My job was to pass the surgical instruments to the surgeon plus count and re-count them, count and re-count the sponges used and be especially careful with all of the “sharps”, meaning needles, surgical blades and so on. Let anything go wrong – Guess what? Lawsuit.

    My “anger” at too many lawsuits is that they truly are frivolous! As an example – A patient is given a new medication or one that they have had before – They have an allergic reaction – The patient files a lawsuit. Tell me what’s wrong with this picture? NO ONE can predict an allergic reaction the first time – It happens!
    I had taken Penicillin for years and had an allergic reaction. I can no longer take Penicillin. Now, giving said patient a medication that they have stated they are allergic to – That is a whole different story.

    Does my career experience sound a bit like teaching? It really was and I didn’t realize just how much it was until I became a Clinical Instructor for 2 years, teaching Surgical Tech students at their clinical phase at a hospital, before graduation. The Registered Nurses that I worked with, saw the paper world greatly increase for patient care. Now, most of the records are done on computers but there still has to be all of the checks and balances verified when the patient enters the hospital, goes to surgery, after surgery, on the floor being checked daily, and then when the patient leaves the hospital. All of this checking is for the safety of the patient but most of it is due to massive lawsuits of the past in the Medical/Surgical field.

    Please forgive me for writing so much but I want the teachers to understand that I really do relate to what is happening with teachers today. Basically, their hands are tied and they are confined to rules and regulations that honestly interfere with what they want to do – Teach!!!

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    • Or you could share it anyway, understanding that even really good writers occasionally make mitsakes. I wouldn’t want to be taught by an infallible person, and I believe my students find some measure of comfort in getting a chance to correct my occasional errors. It’s really OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. A friend shared this via Facebook; this is my first experience with your blog.

    I have worked in education from primary through tertiary levels since 1989, with occasional breaks to make better money in the business world. I have taught, administered, and coached in public, private, and charter schools, including in a school specifically for children with learning disabilities, and I have even been the President of my son’s (public) high school PTO. I understand firsthand all of the frustrations you and your friend wrote about, and that others have commented on.

    That said, the one accurate reason why teachers suck is this: almost without exception, they refuse to acknowledge that the proximate cause of virtually all of the the things they complain about is/was, in fact … teachers.

    By refusing to hold their peers accountable; by refusing to establish objective measures of student achievement which could not be “inflated” subjectively; by refusing to make reasonable accommodations for students with learning differences, and by socially promoting students who clearly had not achieved mastery of the subject matter; by being focused on spending less time in the classroom (thanks to union contracts); by clamoring for (and obtaining) more school funding yet not making statistically-significant differences in student achievement; and yes, by teaching in an ideologically-skewed manner which can only be properly described using the word “indoctrination” … these are the foundational problems behind standardized testing, national and state (unfunded) mandates for curriculum and learning standards, angry-to-the-point-of-hostility parents, failing to pass school tax issues on election days, and lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits.

    Has American society swung the pendulum too far to the side away from educators, in its reactions to these proximate causes? Quite likely the answer is, “Yes.” But whenever I hear (or read) my colleagues and professional compatriots whining about how bad they’ve got it, but I do not see them making efforts to improve the professionalism — and I don’t mean the number of CEU’s teachers can list on their licensure renewals — of educators and the quality of the “deliverable” that the taxpayer and parents expect, all I can think is how they are just further alienating the public, and the legislators.

    To fix this, teachers and administrators are going to have to stop complaining and opposing the current non-teaching frustrations that are a part of every day, and we’re going to have to start improving the underlying situations, and we have to help government and parents implement better methods for evaluating and ensuring the quality of the work that we do.

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  33. As I have said all along. “If you are not a teacher, married to a teacher, or have a teacher in your direct family, you do not have a freaking clue how much work they put into their job.”

    I know, I’m married to a retired teacher of 30 years. If she put in less than 60 hours a week, it was a rarity.

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    • The same can be said about any worker, let alone any professional. When I have been out of education I have worked primarily as an executive search consultant, and I typically put in 60 to 70 hour weeks. The people whom I attracted to my clients almost without fail worked as many hours as I did, or more, where they were geospatial intelligence engineers, nurses, coaches, call center managers, or anything else. Nobody has any “freaking clue how much work” their dry cleaner “puts into their job”. Successful people who care about the work they do work a lot, and are conscientious about it. Teachers are not special in this regard … except that they do get six to 10 weeks of vacation every year, which virtually nobody else in America gets.

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      • Rather than go into the standard litany of how my “vacation” is unpaid, and all the curriculum work I have to do this summer, etc… I’ll point out that my work schedule is set by my employer and I’m told I have to follow it. I am told not to come to work from July until September – there is no work for me. When I report to work every morning I work the hours my employer tells me to work. This is no different than nearly every other profession.

        I’m sure that some educators seek out and view the extended breaks in teaching as a benefit, but in my experience most do not. My colleagues support major changes to the school schedule including lengthening the year and getting rid of the too long summer break. We’d need to be paid more for that of course…you can’t ask employees to do more with less and expect a better outcome.

        I hate this summer break I’m on. It’s too long and it doesn’t serve the kids either.

        But it’s not a vacation. I worked twenty years in private business as a hydrogeologist. I know what vacations are like, and the time spent by teachers over the summer month seldom resembles the vacations you allude to.

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  34. All this has validity and helps explain why our education system sucks of course, but it mostly leaves out the most important factor

    Ofthose that go to the time, work and expense to become certified to teach (and presumably these are folks that really believe their calling is teaching) HALF ARE GONE FROM THE CLASSROOM BY THE END OF THEIR FIFTH YEAR!

    Number one reason given?io

    LACK OF SUPPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION

    we can throw all the money and vouchers we want at the problem but until we learn to trust teachers, support them properly and then lget the hell out of their way and let them teach American education will continue going to hell in a hand basket!

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  35. The above is true to varying degrees. But what is also true is that the focus of teaching over the past 30 years has changed. Kids can’t read, can’t do math, and haven’t even a rudimentary grasp of natural sciences or legitimate American history, but they sure are ‘informed’ about LBGQTSIQJVIQ-whatever rights, Heather has two mommies, “White Privilege”, “The Patriarchy”, the “racism” of the Founding Fathers, Christian “oppression”, “institutionalized racism”, “social justice”, environmental advocacy, veganism, “gender fluidity ” and other silly bullsh**.

    While students in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and India are churning out engineers and scientists, in the U,S. we produce SJWs and legions of bottom-feeding lawyers. That is, when they’re not getting fondled by their female or male teachers.

    Yes, there are many good teachers out there. But it’s hard to sort between the turds and the treasure nowadays thanks to the militant NEA and teachers’ unions. So please spare me the martyrdom.

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    • Pool, poor baby! You want the US to be more like the totalitarian and regimented societies you,listed, rather than being a reflection of the traditional American values of diversity, tolerance, openness, and compassion toward others. Your characterization of looking at our nation critically instead of some Pollyanna version that ignores the mistakes of the past shows how poor your education was. Maybe you do have a valid gripe.

      While what I listed are ideals and not often achieved, teaching our children those values makes us stronger and more resilient as a nation. The only militant groups that work to hurt our public schools are the corporations and politicians they own. Teachers advocating for improved conditions in the schools benefit the children as much as the teachers themselves.

      Your angry tirade was filled with the discredited tropes and memes of the past, all of which have been shown to be false. Stop complaining and volunteer in your local schools, run for the school board, do something with your righteous anger instead of just spreading old, nonsensical themes about militant unions, and white privilege (as if it doesn’t exist!), and veganism?…really, that bugs you too?

      Wow! Cry me a river about the America that you idealize but never existed!

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  36. To the people who enjoyed correcting the teacher’s grammar, spelling, and typos – YOU “suck.” As an educator with 20 years teaching experience AND a graduate of several top universities, I am highly intelligent, well-read, and articulate. However, that does NOT make me immune to errors NOR does it make me infallible. Like the rest of you, of course. Your comment is self-serving and smug. And indicative of what’s wrong with education and society. It must be nice, in your ivory tower, to never make a grammatical or spelling error. As if teaching could be reduced to a bunch of spelling and grammar rules. On behalf of educators everywhere, we implore you to stick to what you know – grammar and spelling worksheets. Leave the art/science of teaching to the skilled professionals. PS I have not proofread my comment for spelling/grammar/typos BECAUSE this is SOCIAL MEDIA, not a business email NOR my doctoral thesis. SMH.

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