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.”


“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.


“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 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.


“Bursting with humor, refreshing honesty, and wisdom …”
A MUST-READ for every parent!

Now available from Simon & Schuster / Howard Books.  Order Now.


325 thoughts on “Why Teachers Suck …

  1. Lots of paperwork (it says). Ever heard of civil disobiedence? Turn on the TV. You will see lots of it. Oh yeah, about all that paperwork you are complaining about. Just refuse to do it!! Will they fire all their teachers? I hardly think so. End of problem.


    • Fred, I was recommended to leave a school because I could not keep up with the paperwork. I had 48 special education students and worked 55 hours a week. I gladly left and found an amazing job where I am supported in my career.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually Fred they will fire ALL the teachers. It happened in my neighboring city. The State takes over and the bs starts over again. Teachers work hard, kids come to school with their cell phones and text all period, teachers have zero support from parents and administrators have no leverage either. Yet when these same kids fail because they don’t do their work or fail their state testing, it is the teacher who gets fired and the kid gets to pass anyways. Teachers don’t get to teach anymore. Most of them at my school stay top 7-8 o’clock at night working. They use their lunch break to tutor kids ( anyone here give up their lunch to do for others?) I just graduated and I have seen how hard teachers work. They are not why society sucks, it’s us who have allowed non educators make decisions they know nothing about. One of my teachers spent 6 months completing a RESA requirements. No job should be this difficult and require so much of people. I would never want to be a teacher because there are too many asshats that think they know more than those on the frontline.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Fred, give me a break. You obviously know almost nothing about the education world. In my state, it’s ILLEGAL for teachers to strike. Refusing to do the “necessary” paperwork we are inundated with is basically striking. Educate yourself before you sound like an ass in the comment section of an article highlighting the blatant ignorance about teachers that is rife in our society.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Yes, they will fire you! How out of touch are you with the realities of today’s education system?!? I see from your photo that you are an older citizen, so maybe you could spend some time in an elementary school or middle school volunteering. See what it’s like. Or maybe you could look up educational lawsuits. Maybe you could look at some statistics about city schools and how many actual teachers they have compare to how many long-term substitutes. If any of my kids say they want to going to education I actually discourage them. Which 20 years ago I probably would not of done. As a voting citizen , I urge you please look into the matter because things are only going to get worse if people are not educated about the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa, as a fellow teacher I get why you might discourage students wanting to teach. But please, DON’T do that. Even with the harsh realities, this job is tremendously rewarding, and you must know that. Don’t let your frustration get the best of you. We need bright, energetic, motivated, and hard-working colleagues added as often as possible.

        Hang in there!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would agree with you, Lisa. Becoming an educator is extremely expensive these days and just really not worth it.
        I would say the same to anyone who asks me.


      • As a parent, I would be furious if my child told me their teacher told they shouldn’t be something simply because they thought it was a frustrating job. Unfortunately you don’t get what they are ultimately saying. They are ultimately saying they look up to you as a teacher enough that they want to have the same profession as you. They want to make the world a better place. They want to educate children in something they may feel passionately about. While some kids wake up in the morning moaning and groaning about not wanting to go, that child is saying they enjoy school. No child wants to be a teacher if they don’t enjoy it and you have just said you don’t like your job. You don’t like being around them. You don’t like educating them. Regardless if you think that’s what you’re saying, an elementary age to high school will hear the same thing.

        Also, because you’re an educator and should know better, “would not of done” is incorrect and I hope you only write on papers “would not have done”. Of will never follow would, could or should. Sometimes would’ve sounds like would of but no, it is still would have.


      • Bingo, but be gentle. These guys don’t have the insight into what we do just as we don’t have full insight to what they deal with. It does get my back up though…my last reply I fired off without proofreading the 3 mistakess….and btw, we’re supposed to be perfect 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe you think teachers walk on the job with protections. Truth of the matter is, in most states a teacher can be fired with no reason given, at any time in the first 3-4 years (depending on state) until they reach tenure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Uhm, tenure is only a word now. I reached tenure at a school system I really loved. After working there for 7 years, my methods were deemed ineffective (despite my standardized score averages remaining in the 80% range, and despite my having performed the SAME methods during the entire time). Once you lose one teaching job, your only shot of teaching again is typically in a school so desperate for a warm body to babysit, that you take it.


      • In North Carolina you never get tenure, you aren’t given breaks because they have taken the majority of your 45 minute planning time away (which used to be a time you could go to the bathroom and do paperwork and lesson plans) for endless meetings, and you don’t get a lunch break because you have 25 minutes to get your students through the cafeteria line and supervise and clean up after them during that time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • All tenure means (in most states ) is the right to a hearing in front of the same people who just fired you. Teachers are “employees at will” – they serve at the discretion of the school board.


      • As they should be if the student isn’t being effectively remediated!

        Speaking as a pro-homeschooling parent who was offered the option of dual enrollment with all but one foot out the door to homeschool, and for all intents & purposes, still did homeschool using the dual enrollment umbrella, we pulled our child out of public school, AFTER being PUSHED OUT to the PRIVATE SECTOR to obtain the APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTION (the same instruction the school advertised as available on their school webpage as available to students!!!) Once you are pushed outside of the school to obtain the appropriate instruction, it becomes really clear, really fast, that traditional school is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Especially when it’s more of a social recreational culture and less of a teaching and education culture being offered!

        Guess what happened when we left the broken and antiquated educational model of traditional secondary school? My kids trajectory did a complete 180 and soared!

        We actually began to effectively close the academic gaps that had previously existed because we provided appropriate instruction and the appropriate accommodations, which had been recommended by the independent neuropsychologist’s independent educational evaluation, which the SCHOOL/SpecEd Director chose to IGNORE!!! (So we parents/non-credentialed educators, were able to close educational gaps by hiring people that cared and that used proven, research based instructional methods ) So unlike the public schools who repeatedly denied to provide the specialized reading program they advertised – as well as denied the student use of AT to level the playing field, we actually invested in it and utilized it with success! (We had to even beg for the extended time to be put back, even with documented achievement testing that any logical person would have accepted! Even the College Boards agreed that he should have the appropriate accommodations!)

        And guess what else? This student graduated as a 16 yr old from HS in June 2015 as a Junior with an ADVANCED REGENT diploma – PLUS- had earned 33 college credits a month prior and their first year of of college completed! Followed by and AAS in May 2016. And now will be a Senior on track to graduate this May 2018 with an AAS in a STEM field and a Bachelor of Science degree in the same stem field in August 2018!

        Never would have happened if we had not advocated for our son’s educational needs! He’d still be floundering and struggling with foundational literacy & math skills!!!

        PS- Our son is adopted from foster care and did not come to be with us until 8th grade as a 13 yr old teenager!

        So time was of the essence and very short and they wasted the first 2 precious years we had with him (as well as 1.5 more too) but we had realized that if we were going to have any chance of success in remediating him, we needed to work on a parallel path, independent of the public schools, because we were being stonewalled and bullied at every turn by the school district and the reported “educational professionals employed there” who did nothing but fail this young man all through his primary & secondary school years (and this family who fiercely advocated for him all through his last 3.5 yrs in public school!)

        So forgive yet another parent who has had no positive interaction with their public schools!

        Only one teacher ever cared enough to work together with us to help this young man! It was an English teacher who was totally clueless about Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, but she was not intimidated by the Special Ed director (maybe because she was a Gen Ed teacher, or maybe because she had a backbone) – all I know is that out of 3 yrs there she was the only teacher willing to help work together towards this young mans success academically with higher expectations than just passing him through her class as so many before did! And he actually worked harder for her because she believed in his abilities, and expected him to work hard and independently with the knowledge that he could ask for help if he found he needed it! And yet, even she could not provide him the remedial instruction he needed to learn how to read more proficiently and accurately! And this was an English teacher who’s whole class is based around literacy skills!

        But even still, we have tremendous respect for that teacher! But unfortunately such teachers were not the norm! Kudos if your experience is better than ours and the rest of the families that struggle to get the appropriate instruction and accommodative services from their primary and secondary schools!

        PS- I’d have loved to not have had to be such a fierce parental advocate, but obviously there were no advocates in his school that were going to get him the appropriate instructional methods to close his weaknesses in reading, writing and math!
        Also, a learning disability (I prefer calling it a learning DIFFERENCE, or more appropriately, a TEACHING DISABILITY, because we confirmed that it was not a learning disability, as much as an instructional issue and that all that was needed was a different instructional method – again- which they had available, but repeatedly denied my son to receive!)

        So forgive parents such as myself that have nothing positive to say about their public school experiences or public schools in general! And those that have had more success independent of the public schools in getting their child the help they were denied in public schools, while showing them that it was predetermination that caused this child’s academic deficits more than the student’s disability, which had gone undiagnosed officially, even though there were notes and useless and ignored IEP goals in all of the areas that were found to be academic weaknesses for this child! But it is easier to blame the student and use OHI-ADD/ADHD as the classifying category and blame the student, versus correctly identifying the struggle as one of using inappropriate instructional methods and refusing to provide consistent and proper AT & accommodations in the classroom with him!

        PS2- The only consistently sane and logical professional educational staff it seems employed in public schools are the guidance counselors! They were always more supportive of my son and our family’s advocacy! (Even agreeing with us about the needless struggles they were creating for him and for us too!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • M, thank you for just proving the point of the whole article. Public school teachers are constantly being asked to do more with less. When I have 35 students per class in 6 different class periods I CAN’T tend to the individuals needs of every student. Bravo to you for being able to collectively focus on your one child and find some excellent professional help that could concentrate on your one child for a prescribed period of time. If I did that for every single one of my students I would be broken within the first month of school. I would not see my family. I would not be able to sleep, or eat, or have any semblance of life. I have to do what’s best for the majority, make special accommodations as I have time and energy and live my life. I would LOVE to have fewer students and more resources and more support for the students who need it. But that’s not what the voting public provides me.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Actually you just proved the reason the person wrote the article and why teachers no longer have respect of parents and tax payers!!!

        Enjoy your summer vacation!!!

        I’ll be working to pay my school taxes to support the 3 failing school districts I pay taxes too!!!!


      • Ps- the tracher to student ratio on our small school district is almost a third of yours. So you’all always have some sort of sob story and excuse as to why you blame everyone as to why these kids are not learning in your classrooms.
        By the way this child was a foster child and was allowed to fall through the cracks.
        Children with learning disabilities tend to be treated as if they were cognitively challenged when in reality it’s the teachers that are disabling them by not using proven methodologies that will be effective for the majority versus the lowest common denominator!
        This is why teachers no longer are respected!
        On top of the fact that he current traditional model is antiquated and extremely ineffective at producing students that can read, write and due math with any sort of age or grade level proficiency, let alone to their ability levels!


      • M, whoever you are, it sounds like you did a great job with your foster child. Now multiply what you did by 35, and you have most of the workload of a typical teacher… but you didn’t have to do a mound of paperwork for each step in the chain. There, now you have perspective!

        You’re welcome. 🙂

        PS– I am not a teacher, nor am I related to one. I can simply picture walking a mile in another person’s shoes, and it sounds like you can’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • In response to tim:@JULY 1, 2017 AT 3:33 AM
        Forgive me, but you don’t have any idea about our awful, nightmarish experience with more than one failing school district!

        And please don’t judge families that can document for miles upon miles the repeated non-compliance and violations and dismissive attitudes and repeated prejudicial predeterminations regarding what students are actually capable of and that they are actually supposed to be providing much more than a de minimus education!!!

        For your information, I had more than a mound of paperwork to deal with!
        And why was that?… Because of the failings of the public school system!
        (Reality check… I actually had multiple volumes and huge binders of documentation regarding the long list of failures, violations, non compliance examples and evidence documenting and demonstrating to the extent that the school districts and teachers were irresponsible and noncompliant regarding the IEP as well as 504 and ADA violations!

        (You know, in regards to their IEPs and 504’s – that god awful legal documentation that they all are complaining about on here being a waste of their time!!!!)

        But, here is the catch… it’s only a legal document if you can afford to go through Due Process and the Impartial Hearing … as well afford a lawyer to represent you in order to “exhaust the process!”

        And when you cannot afford a lawyer and you try to take the more affordable route of hiring a paid advocate to represent you, only to be sold downstream by said advocate, because the school’s lawyer paid her off and brokered some sort of under the table deal to have her back out after being paid, thereby leaving us without representation, and thereby forcing us to accept a settlement instead, which is where she really earned her bonus, because she came to “help us” and then continued to stab us in the back and nail our coffin shut, when she removed the named methodology (and every other detail that would have provided accountability and fidelity of the program methods.)

        So please forgive me for saying that you have not a clue of what your say – nor what families are put through and forced into doing when dealing with the failing public schools they are forced to attend and have no other options or choices!!!

        So, my dear Tim, unless you’ve walked our family’s path, please don’t condemn us for speaking up and exposing these god awful issues as they relate to our personal 3.5 year nightmare dealing with reportedly ‘credentialed educational professionals’!!!

        Because until teachers and administrators start stepping up and being accountable and are willing to work with families that are involved and informed about what their rights are and what their children need in order to seriously close the gaps that these students have repeatedly been struggling with while also falling farther and farther behind in those areas- solely because their issues are being ignored and swept under the proverbial carpet- please don’t tell me that I should have empathy for those that show no empathy for the families and students who they routinely ignore and repeatedly allow them to needlessly struggle, year after year after year…

        Please do not judge those families that are PUSHED OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM TO OBTAIN THE SAME SERVICES THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFERED AT their PUBLIC SCHOOL! (When they have been forced out of the school to obtain the same advertised methods that were being promoted on the school webpage—- So forgive those that have been pushed out of their public school, by their public school, and forced to obtain the needed instruction on their own time and dime while forced to pay out money – above their outlandish and highest in the nation school taxes- which our lovely state of NY typically holds for being the state that pays out the most per student in the nation!!!)

        PS- The one person I think that possibly gets it is ELL Teacher, who some have felt the need to disparage! 😦


      • @ m – I “like” all of your comments! Special Education is a civil rights issue, that almost every human being in our society has decided to ignore. It starts with public education. Yes, the system is beyond broken! Everyone has a reason to complain about something in their lives. However, if you are unfortunate enough to have a child, or to be a child, with special needs, you will systematically be cast aside, ignored, and downright disrespected, simply because of a disability. No child asks to be born, and they certainly do not ask to be born with a disability. If teachers are complaining about kids not having the right clothing, imagine how they feel about one with special needs- that is just WAY too much work, and just NOT what they thought they were signing up for. Boo hoo to all you teachers complaining about your dismal existence, and validating to each other how unfair the world is being to you. Think about what a parent of a special needs child has to deal with, let alone the child herself. If you don’t like your chosen career, switch careers like everyone else in the world has to do in that situation. And QUIT YOUR B*****ING!


      • “Unfortunately, with federal programs like special education, it’d [sic] the paperwork isn’t done correctly the funds are taken away…” It’s comments like this that really make us parents of special needs kids feel so darn special (sarcasm here, in case you couldn’t tell). If only someone would make the damn civil rights of all of those special needs kids disappear, life for you teachers would be so much better. Thank you so much for your caring and dedication to ALL of your students. I say, if every teacher that has commented or complained about the injustices in the public education system would become advocates for all children, we could really get some change! With the fact that it’s literally only the parents of some of the special needs students who are trying to lobby for change, we are getting no where- our numbers are simply too small to matter. However, if teachers (not administrators because they are just politicians with a different name) would stand up for correcting this grossly flawed system, it would benefit you, too. Imagine that! Help yourself along with helping EVERY student at the same time! It’s such a novel idea, I wonder why no one has thought of it!?!? In my opinion, it’s because it’s easier to just complain than it is to actually affect real change from within.

        I’d LOVE a thoughtful response to this comment from any one who reads it.


    • Because we care about our jobs and since most of the paperwork is mandated by law then yes we have to do it or we will lose our jobs. There was a teacher shortage years ago and legislators solved it by cutting funding so severely that many districts have hiring freezes. Legislators patted themselves on the back and said “aren’t we great, we solved the teacher shortage problem!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s not forget legislators mandating maximum class sizes and then cutting district funding so the districts cannot hire the additional teachers needed to support the new class sizes. In my area, some districts have decided to live the the fines for having classes that are too large, because it is less of a financial burden than hiring new teachers.

        Liked by 2 people

    • It’s not that easy, sir. Of course I’ve heard of “Civil Disobedience.” I teach Thoreau’s work in my classroom. However, to abandon my curriculum paperwork, my IEP paperwork, my state/federally mandated paperwork is to also violate my contract. Is that what you do at your work? You simply pick and choose what you will do and tell your employer to shove it? How would that work out for you? If teachers were to refuse to do this, not only would we be fired, but the state and federal funding is also denied. The school could no longer function. Until legislators actually care to see young people educated rather than try to score political points, using the education of young people as a football, things won’t change. Education that should be in the hands of professional educators, hard working students, and engaged parents is instead in the hands of self-promoting and ill-informed politicians.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I see teachers working overtime every day,
        Volunteering to lead clubs without pay.
        You may moan and criticize,
        But you aren’t the one who tries
        To help each child,
        Whether mean or mild.
        Then be sure the paperwork’s filed,
        And remain kind when reviled!
        So before you snort and snark,
        Remember, it’s no walk in the park.
        Instead, be smart and be cool!
        Help out your neighborhood school!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Most teachers are public employees.
      They can be fired for insubordination. Most job actions
      such as the one you suggest are illegal. Teachers try to work on
      these issues through union activity.
      However, unions are unlawful in
      some states. Generally, the public thinks teachers are overpaid, work
      short hours and have exorbitant
      pensions. Despite this criticism,
      teachers soldier on because we love
      kids and are committed to helping
      them shape their lives to become
      successful and happy adults.

      Liked by 3 people

      • In my district new teachers start out at just over $39,000 a year. If they work hard and do well they will begin making $40,000 in about 10 years. Teachers are required to be at school eight hours. In that time they teach six classes and have a 45 minute “planning” period that is often taken up with meetings. They also have various meetings both before and after school, mostly with parents. In addition, they have to plan each day’s lessons in accordance with both state and district standards, grade papers, communicate with parents and take care of all required district and state paperwork.

        Grading papers doesn’t sound like such a big thing. Imagine a teacher who assigns a one page essay as homework. In order to do justice to each student’s efforts, the teacher will take between 3 to 5 minutes on each paper. Multiply 150 students (six classes of 25) times 3 to 5 minutes and you get 7.5 to 12.5 for one homework assignment. How often did you get only one homework assignment a week? Teachers also have to prepare and grade tests and enter all grades various programs that will help them to track student progress, identify when reteaching is necessary, and inform parents as to how well their child is doing. I don’t know any teachers who don’t use at least 10 hours of overtime every week and many spend much more.

        `I know a lot of people like to talk about all the time teachers get off over the summer. Teachers have to recertify every five years. This usually involves taking various classes and attending certain seminars, often paid for out of their own pockets. These programs can easily take up to 50% of that teacher off time.

        This is one of my favorites. Most teachers are considered 10 month employees. Some lending institutions see them as part time for this reason. While most districts provide annual contract teachers (those with no tenure) letters inviting them back for the next year, at times, for budget reasons, letters will not be provided. Those teachers are actually unemployed until the beginning of the next school year and they have no guarantee what so ever, they will be hired back. Try going to a bank for a home or car loan and telling them you think you might be hired back at the beginning of the new school year.

        Anyone who thinks teachers have it easy, are overpaid and can look forward to golden parachute type retirement plans should spent at least a few days every year volunteering in one of their local schools. Most schools appreciate any and all help they can get and you don’t have to be in the classroom. You will be surprised with how much you attitude toward teachers will likely change.

        Liked by 2 people

    • They do fire them for not completing the paper work. The paper work is a real issue but allot of stuff in here is dogma. like raising peoples kids and clothing them is complete BS. There are allot of excuses in here but our system is very flawed and does truly need to be redone from the ground up.
      I notice she cries about technology being put in to the school and that was a very dumb thing to say since we are so behind technologically in our schools.
      I am very interested in this school voucher though :). If I could get that I would send my son to a privet school for a much better education since there not 100% controlled by governments BS.


      • I’m going to GoodWill this afternoon to look for clothing for my upcoming year’s clothing box. Shoes, jackets, pants. I must have various sizes for boys and girls. Kids come to school in ANYTHING! They also wet themselves. Only some kids bring additional clothes. They come to school without jackets on a rainy day. I also must have a snack box. Oops…..all out of my pocket.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Please, by all means, send them to a school where they’re taught how to structure an argument and write a proper sentence. Your argument (in addition to being grammatically incorrect) is completely wrong. My wife is a teacher, and you have no idea how much of her own money would get plugged back into the students, or how many times she’s had to kick them out of her classroom after school so she could go home (because they’d rather not go home), or how often she has arisen 30-40 minutes earlier than normal, just to pick up a student whose parents have thrown them out of the house and they’re being sheltered by another relative/friend in a different district. Truth be told, yes, there are far too many students that have been left to the devices of the school to raise their kids.

        The writer didn’t “cry about technology”, they simply pointed out that using software instead of paper for doing all of the mandated documentation may save a tree or 1,000, but it doesn’t change the aspect of all the time it eats up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that the paperwork is an issue and stated that in my reply…
        That said, if your wife is helping these kids with picking them up and giving them things from her own pocket then once again that is a choice she makes and the school does not make for her. You can’t save everyone and you shouldn’t try. You are basing you views on feeling and not facts.
        Fact is the paper work is an issue but the school is not forcing the teacher to give handouts to the children and the teachers shouldn’t do this as it gives the parents reason to believe they don’t have to take care of their child because someone else will…


      • Yes, they will fire us. It’s called insubordination. When lawsuits can result from our refusal to complete paperwork (in the case of an IEP, 504, etc.) and insecure administrators depend on the paperwork to prove their own value, you had better believe teacher evaluation scores will be affected. With changes over the past decade in evaluation and tenure, this is enough to fire a teacher. As a educator with over 26 years of experience in a variety of schools and settings, I can assure you, refusal only works in a minuscule number of instances.


      • Every year I buy clothing for at least 1 student in my classroom that has a serious need. I also provide snacks for over half my class every day because their parents don’t send it or can’t afford a snack. I also provide school supplies for 1 or more of my students every year became they come to school without them. If I am providing basic needs such as food and clothing for my students then yes, I am helping to raise them. I say I because I am discussing my classroom. Every teacher in my building does the same every year. I teach because if our country is to be successful it requires future citizens to be educated, responsible and productive. Sure, more money is always great but I would settle for respect. Respect that I am a professional. At least respect me enough to come and spend some time in my classroom before commenting on what happens in those four walls every day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really, Chris? Allot is a lot and privet (is a type of hedge) for private. In my district every elementary student has access to iPads daily and ALL secondary students have their own chromebook-technology be damned-these students still need to be taught social/interpersonal skills, respect, and kindness towards their neighbors. In addition to math, spelling, reading, writing, social studies, science, art, family and career and technology classes. Put in music classes, PE, band, orchestra and choir and you have a day in the life of a student in my 6-8 middle school. With all the technology at their fingertips, they still need food at school and home, clothes that fit the weather, sleep, preferably in a bed with a roof overhead, and parents who care or want to be home, but work two to three jobs to keep that child fed and clothed. We have access to a lot in my community, but we still have fifty percent of our students on free or reduced lunch. Teachers work hard but we got into the profession because we love to work with children and try to make a positive change in their lives. Unfortunately, it appears that you came upon teachers who didn’t care or, you took the easy way out, barely graduating and I’m sorry that education was so meaningless for you. However, that doesn’t speak to the whole profession!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Do you have the remotest clue how many kids come to school without proper clothing (for example a COAT during a snowstorm!)? Do you know how many kids arrive without breakfast, and then go home to an evening with no dinner? Before coming to this thread, I JUST finished reading an article about one of the wealthiest districts in my state now has a food pantry that supplies needy kids with two bag lunches, delivered privately every Friday so the kids have at least SOMETHING to eat over the weekend. Get you head out of the sand. The poverty level of America’s children is a national disgrace!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Chris!

        I don’t usually take time out of my day to be so petty but your post is pretty ignorant, so why not?!

        1. “allot” is not a word
        2. Do a quick google search of the word ‘dogma’; I’m not so sure you are using it correctly.
        3. “like raising….is complete BS.” Is not a grammatically correct sentence and like ought to be capitalized.
        4. Privet is actually spelled “private”
        5. Review your use of the commonly confused there/their/they’re homophones.

        Thank you for your revisions, please resubmit your assignment for a better grade.

        Mrs. D


    • AS the son and brother of two 30-year veterans of the New York City school system, I can say few things will get you in trouble faster than not doing required paperwork (also poor classroom management, which they never really teach you how to do).

      Your comment sounds like someone who hasn’t been in a classroom since you left high school.


    • If only it were that easy. I’m a single parent. My child deserves a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat. If I lose my job because I refuse to complete the required paperwork and just teach the students, it’s MY daughter who suffers. As a concerned parent, I’m not willing to do something I know will make life more difficult for my child.


    • You have a very simplistic outlook on life in the real world. And I might add, you have only addressed one problem mentioned. I’m a retired teacher, and I am surprised anyone still wants to subject himself to such atrocious work conditions. They need our prayers every day.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Nobody wants to be the subject of a disciplinary writeup for insubordination, which will also result in them being given the worst schedule, and being black-balled from being allowed to transfer to a different school. Go ahead and tell your boss (and his) that you refuse to do required paperwork, and YOU can be on several sh** lists and be forced to work in an ongoing hostile atmosphere where you will be unsupported when students tell you where to go and “f*** you” when you need them to work and stop disrupting the class. There are several layers of reaction and punishment here that don’t result in being fired. Just so you know.


    • Yes, they will fire us. It’s called insubordination. When lawsuits can result from our refusal to complete paperwork (in the case of an IEP, 504, etc.) and insecure administrators depend on the paperwork to prove their own value, you had better believe teacher evaluation scores will be affected. With changes over the past decade in evaluation and tenure, this is enough to fire a teacher. As a educator with over 26 years of experience in a variety of schools and settings, I can assure you, refusal only works in a minuscule number of instances.

      Liked by 1 person

    • First, they will put you on a “plan” and eventually make you so stressed out from all the hovering and MORE paperwork to make sure you’re staying on target. Yes, they can fire you because everyone else is following through and doing the paperwork. It’s not that simple. Walk a day in our shoes before assuming it’s simple.


      • Well its simple if everyone plays along with the no-paperwork. But they don’t. The presence of the other complicates everything.


    • Oh Freddie. If I didn’t do my paperwork not only could I be fired, I could be sued. Also, civil disobedience requires a person to be accepting of the consequences of their actions. But I wouldn’t want to be one of the 80% of the staff that was fired from my school this year,

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Trying to ignore what some yahoo has said about them on social media”… thanks Fred, for your insight. You have successfully helped prove a major reason why teachers have to suck it up. I’m sure you are an expert in the field. However, I will ignore and keep on doing what I do best, despite the irresponsible advice to ditch one of the major reasons teachers get disciplined…


    • I work for one of the largest school districts in the country- without a contract for the last year bc the district negotiators walked away from the bargaining table. We are now being told that we could be heading back from summer break right in time for a strike vote~ my third in a 19 year career- the last time they had already planned how they were going to bus in replacements- costing the district more than anything we were asking for! So yes- they could and it would be cheaper for them to fire us all-


    • I wish it were that easy but it is not. The losers are the kids. Because of all that is added to teachers’ plates, time is not left to focus on planning and implementing curriculum and instruction for the kids. This is a sad time for American education. After 35 years in the classroom and at age 58 I decided I needed to retire. I never thought I’d retire at my age but I could no longer handle the daily stress of handling paperwork, logging on and creating another password for a new program or test, attending another meaningless meeting, creating another new plan for a student who didn’t want to follow expectations, and replying to parents multiple emails about why their student isn’t successful in the classroom. I loved teaching and the kids. I think I was pretty good at it but I was exhausted at the end of every day and I could never get caught up on what I thought needed to get done. I worked later and almost every Sunday afternoon for 2-4 hours so I could be ready for the next week. I’m now enjoying every day as a Saturday. Thank you to all the teachers still in the trenches. Keep fighting the good fight!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fred, I’ve taught for 33 years (so far). The paperwork is required. It is part of the data that must be recorded, analyzed, and individualized lesson plans generated based upon the paperwork…Then there is the differentiation for my ICT (special ed. group), for the 3 levels of ESL students (languages include: mandarins, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Vietnamese). Counselling pregnant girls, dealing w/at least 5 different gangs, children that are diagnosed with mental health issues, learning disabilities, homelessness, not enough clothing or food at home, relatives that have abused the children, drug dealers in classes…there is so much people assume they know, but are so woefully uninformed/naive about. I recommend you visit a public middle school/high school…spend an entire day. Shadow a teacher for the day. 20 years ago, I had my father and father in law shadow me. Neither man lasted more than 4 hours. Walk a mile in my moccasins. Oh, and I work in an inner city school. It is a challenge. AND I am not complaining. I’ve been at it for 33 years, and still going.


    • Yeah, right. I can’t see you, but I bet you’re wearing PJ’s – because your reply clearly indicates you’re dreaming. Marvelously over-simplistic answer from someone who clearly doesn’t have a clue what the situation is really like.


    • Fred has a point. I have simply not done excessive paperwork or not done it to my standards. The truth is there is frequently no one actually reading it on the other end. If it looks good, it is good. Focus on the kids. You can always throw more time at at paperwork if the bureaucracy takes the time to call you out. I have also refused to give excessive assessments in class. I told my superiors to take the test themselves and then get back to me about whether the assessment was useful. That testing program died the next year. If you call parents yourself, win kids respect and deliver test scores 15% higher than anyone else by not wasting time jumping through hoops, people will leave you alone.


    • Most teaching contracts have a terrifying little clause that reads “extra duties as assigned”. In my state, contract law rules. By refusing to do required paperwork, I have given my employer cause to fire me.


    • They won’t have to fire all their teachers. The schools won’t receive funding and will close. It would be fantastic if it were possible to protest within the educational system, unfortunately that just ain’t how it works in public education, Sir. Ditto nursing, which is my prior field and counseling which is a field I entered when my disability became too severe to engage in nursing, my chosen employment for 30 years. I hold a M. Ed and over 35 years experience. At the time of my retirement I spent hours, many uncompensated, typing report after report that involved copy/paste for insurance companies. If these reports were late, let alone not completed, I would have been fired with many new counselors waiting to be hired in my place. I had the skills to help many at risk kids. In fact, I was recognized many times for doing things such as getting a child to attend school who had refused school for more than two years. it took me five weeks of in home, family based counseling along with working with the school developing behavioral interventions and planning to make this happen. The point is I was able to solve the problem in five weeks. The problem is I had to take time out to write so many reports that did little to actually document what i had done so that others could replicate my methods, which were actually simple but only if one had 35 years experience.


  2. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … | Unorthodox but Effective

  3. You also forgot to mention that we are providing a lot of the supplies in our classrooms. The funding in my district was frozen, so I’ve been the one buying what my classroom needs and I know many other teachers who do the same. I can’t wait to see what happens when Betsy DeVoss’ plans take effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You lost all credibility and integrity with poont #3. I quite reading, though I understand you try to backtrack and qualify FAPE later. You used programs that serve disadvantage children to make you point. Yeah, it sucks the way families use laws to strong arm teachers to do what they cant’t. As an ELL teacher, I have to be careful to provide my students their services as they are legally required to receive them. However, the way this was written you threw these programs (specifically named) under the bus to make your point about lawsuit hungry parents. It just instigates others to be angry about these programs named and students with valid IEPs and 504s. I quit reading. It was a shitty move to make a point in such a heated topic already. These programs named, among other closely related programs, are on the verge of being cut (some districts have already cut them) and children will lose out on much needed services that help them access their instruction. The ramifications of losing these programs will spiral to completely deteriorate the quality of education all students receive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you look at education as a numbers game, an ENORMOUS amount of time and resources go into IEPs. Teachers spend countless hours filling out forms and paperwork that no one is going to look at. Schools spend millions of dollars and man hours to help a small fraction of the student population. Want those students to be serviced properly? Open up your wallet….if not…..trying to fund these programs with what we already have is a joke that is collapsing the school system from the inside out.


      • Paperwork isn’t what supports those programs or students nor what makes them succeed. It’s putting qualified teachers in those programs that will provide the differentiated instruction the students need. Spinning wheels with paperwork, teachers/administrators who don’t understand what they are doing is what perpetuates the need to spend more money, fill out more paperwork and file more lawsuits for non-compliance. On top of that, there are many students who are overidentified for these programs because teachers/administrators don’t know how to provide adequate interventions when students slide. Many IEPs, 504s and Title 1 recipients are legitimately identified. Many are not. It takes qualified educators leading guidance teams and supporting families. Put the money where it works and the system will work. Fill the system with under qualified staff and paperwork, and you’ll just perpetuate the madness.

        Liked by 1 person

    • These programs do cost a lot, and most teachers want to help kids succeed, but the amount of unnecessary stuff on some IEPs I have seen is ridiculous. Some things like fudgit spinners are not even completely proven to work. The threat of suing is also not usually constructive. It puts the teacher on the defensive. Emotional support animals at my college is the new thing. I have heard many students say they just want a pet and are making up the need.


      • Programs cost money. Qualified educators cost money. It’s what the students need. To deny them what they need is heartless. Misuse/mismanagement/non-compliance/underqualified teachers is what escalates costs in these programs. Overidentifying kids for programs because general ed teachers can’t differentiate for them adequately escalates costs. Show us an IEP with ‘fidget spinners’ written into it and you’ll be showing us an IEP written by those underqualified individuals I am talking about. If fidget spinners are allowed in the classroom ever, they need to be highly considered with clear expectations established. There is no way you can convince me pet programs are less expensive than scientifically proven tactile accommodations appropriate for use in the classroom (cushion seats, velcro mats, etc…). Animals are not in this category.

        Liked by 1 person

      • To generalize that all programs are bad because they ‘cost a lot’ is the most ignorant comment any person can make about any program in education, farming, housing, healthcare, etc… When costs seem to outweigh the outcomes, it’s time to consider how they are managed before you alienate those that legitimately benefit from them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • However, thanks to lawsuits paperwork has increased 300% or more. One of my own kids had an IEP due to multiple disabilities (physical, cognitive, speech, hearing) our meeting would take about half an hour. She received services in every area and when re-evaluations took place I would get copies of everything ahead of time. We could do an EASER and IEP in 60 min or less!
      The last day of school this past year I was asked to attend a meeting of a student that will be in my class next year. It was over 2 hours long and most of the time was spent on paperwork and redundancies.
      I spend my entire planning time documenting who, what, when as “proof” that children and getting what they need. This past year I had 12 ELAP students and 5 with IEP’s! That is a lot of meaningless paperwork. A quick video tape or observation of my classroom could show what and how I do things. Thanks to lawsuits we now have to complete modification and accommodation logs for EACH student for EACH subject! And no… we can NOT complete them electronically. If audited we must be able to produce hard copies instantly.


      • I hear you that documenting your work and being accountable is a problem. I also acknowledge that it is problematic that families sometimes take legal action to advocate for their children and ensure compliance. It certainly raises the need for educators to prove compliance through documentation.
        I’m still not clear, however, why all the belly aching about paperwork and lawsuits makes it necessary to discredit important educational progragrams that make education accessible for disadvantaged children. Putting IDEA, ELL programs, etc into disrepute to drive home a point about paperwork is damaging to FAPE and sets up dangerous outcomes for education overall.


    • Amen I have three kids that have a terminal genetic disease, and have IEPs because of it. The older 2 were not diagnosed until the younger one was born. As a parent trying to convince your 10 year old that they need to continue to work hard when someone tells them they are not going to live a very long and they miss half of there school time being in and out of the hospital is a very hard sell. They are lying in pain in a hospital bed with IV’s in them wondering if this is going to be it, and you are asking did you get your math done yet today sweetie. My kids were always trying to catch up and were lost half the time. All I expected of their teachers was for them to work with me in trying to get my kids educated which I must admit most did above and beyond, but every once in awhile you came across a teacher that wasn’t willing to follow the IEP and yes you would have to threaten them with the only recourse you have as a parent and that is to sue the damn school. Now mind you I had at least 3 opportunities to sue the school for completely idiotic things they did with my kids that had absolutely nothing to do with either their education or their disease and never even considered it on any 3 of the occasions. Now granted I completely agree with you on all your other points, and would even go beyond the points you have made. I think most teachers are awesome wonderful people and are literally exploited. However, I also believe that grade school education is way over valued. We try to compete with a globe where in other countries kids whole purpose is education. When most college graduates more than a few years after graduating couldn’t tell you how to divide a mixed number. They all knew how to do it at one point in time so what is the problem. The show smarter then a 5th grader is real because we as people do not retain most of what we learn in life. The truth is with an ignorant society pushing ignorant legislators, because every parent wants their kid to be the smartest with the best education you end up with this nightmare that schools have become. Don’t get me wrong I do believe that we should educate our kids, but I believe that it is better achieved by teaching them other things then just the basics schools are now narrowing down to. I believe that shop class, home economics, art, music and other classes are just as important. These are where kids learn to solve problems. This is where creativity is born, not in memorizing math facts or historical events. Yes those things are important too, but we need our kids to be balanced in their education, and understand that each kid is going to learn at different rate. They are going to grow mentally as they do physically some will be 6 feet in the 6th grade and grow little more. Others will only be 5 feet but continue to grow to be giants. The point is we as a nation need to understand this and quit trying to keep up with the Joneses, and for god sakes quit putting so much pressure on our teachers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is the letter of the law that’s the problem, not the spirit. If I need to have a tumor removed, I’m not going to use a shovel to do it. I have seen IEPs abused countless times.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, ELLteacher! I taught ELL for 8 years before moving to pre-K. However, most of my students now are ELLs. In addition, my son has an IEP to help his teachers know how best to adapt their expectations to fit his needs.

      In my district, we often joke about the many acronyms that are part of our working lives. The ones listed in this article are no joke. They are highly important programs that ensure all students are educated fairly and equitably- not equally. Not all students need and/or want the same type, level, intensity, etc. of education in all areas. That’s why these programs exist.

      Many years ago, some schools placed non-English-speaking students in special education classes. There they stayed, year after year, because they received no English instruction. At some point, someone spoke to some of these students in their native languages and found out that they (Can you believe it?) actually knew things.

      My son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) in Kindergarten by a child psychologist. He got a 504 to take his medicine at school. That gives them permission as well as making sure they do it. As long as he took he his meds, he didn’t need any more help in the classroom.
      In fact, he was accepted into the gifted program at the beginning of 3rd grade.
      It wasn’t until 5th grade that we learned he also has Autism. The acronym for that is ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). This diagnosis brought profound relief and an IEP. The relief was because our darling, well-behaved, happy boy had regressed to a still darling, tantrum-throwing, very sad little boy. Things happened in 4th and 5th grade that didn’t help. Getting this diagnosis was an answer, and the IEP meant help at school.
      One thing many people may not know, is that if a child is on Medicaid, that program provides some of the funding for special education services. As a teacher, I make too much money (even with my husband unable to work) to qualify, so the school gets no extra help paying for the services they provide my son.
      My husband and were worried about the transition to middle school, but the IEP did its job. The teachers knew by open house what he needed and were ready to talk with us about how to tweak their expectations for him.

      That’s what IEPs are meant to do. For students with more severe needs, it’s still about how to make things fit their needs and help them get as much education as they can get. For my son, sometimes the teachers are hard-pressed to challenge him. Other times, the goal is more about turning in the work, whether he was challenged or not. That’s a life skill.


    • As a fellow educator I am surprised by your response. You must not have many interactions with your specials teachers, social studies and science teachers.
      As an ELL specialist, your job is very concise and focused with a specific purpose. Try to be a regular common core social studies classroom teacher like me. Last year I had a class of 38 students. ALL but TWO ( a way to get around legalities) students had documentation in the form of ELL services, IEP, Behavioral Intervention Plan, a 504, FBA, or point sheets. My para was pulled nearly everyday for coverages because my district cannot afford substitutes so teachers and paras must cover when someone is out. I had no support in this 45 minute span yet was expected to meet all the paperwork requirements and accommodations…. please.


  5. I get this. My Dad taught, my Aunt taught; my wife taught; lots of friends do…I even have a MEd and consider teaching later in life (I already coach). Many teachers are very good and very dedicated. But there are bad ones out there and teachers’ unions that allow bad to be perpetuated. Many schools/districts/states/even DoD schools do not publish a course syllabus anymore…which is Extremely helpful in planning out homework, projects, studying for tests and balancing extracurricular activities instead of getting slammed on certain nights/weeks when students unexpectedly get slammed with tons of stuff in multiple classes. A syllabus would allow students to plan and balance their load accordingly…or they would have nobody to blame but themselves. But without a syllabus, they have no control over this..and the reason 2 states and DoD teachers told me was the reason for the demise of the syllabus: unions pushed for it so teachers could not be held accountable for not sticking to it. Cause it is about the kids right?


    • I am a 5th grade math teacher. Every week the teachers on my 5th grade team send a paper copy and post an electronic copy of what skills will be worked on, what homework is expected to be done, what special events are coming up (science fair/reading fair). We call parents and have conferences with students and their parents when students don’t get the required work done. I have actually had parents tell me “I can’t get him to do it”. My response is “who is the parent?” As a teacher I do everything in my power to have successful students. I even tutor students after school for free. When you have some parents who don’t care or are too lazy to be involved with their child’s learning……well as the saying goes “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.


      • By whose standard are these parents being adjudged as “too lazy” or uncaring? As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, nobody really understands the workload (let alone the lifeload) of anyone else. An adage as old as the one about the unthirsty horse is the one about not judging anyone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

        … and while it is true what they say about horses and water, it is also true that you can put salt in the horse’s oats, and make the horse thirsty.


    • Sure there are bad teachers. Sure some unions (I’m not in one) are bad for education. But let’s not pretend the problem is primarily anywhere, but in our society and in our state houses and Washington. Our society, no matter what it says, doesn’t value education. We (the communal/general “we”) disparage teachers, treat education like a begrudging “necessity,” support politicians who want to gut it for political gain, etc. our politicians, mostly, do not truly support and defend education. They only stand for what will expediently gain their re-election. In my state, we have a billionaire curmudgeon who wields power and influence de and is trying to kill public education so he can save tax money. He doesn’t care on iota about the needs/dreams/lives of young people. These are the people with influence.

      Education is the only profession I can think of where the experts (teachers/asministratos) are ignored in favor of power-brokers, politicians, and the loudest voices (no matter how poorly informed). We let doctors make medical decisions, we let attorneys determine how best to fight for clients, we allow judges to come to legal determinations, we give engineers license to use science/math to make their own decisions, we let accountants use their knowledge of the law and numbers to make financial determinations, and yet we allow elected politicians and government mandates to determine the course of education while giving professional educators virtually no voice in how to effectively educate. It’s taken out of our hands in a myriad of ways, yetvwhen the plans of mice and men go awry, guess who gets blamed?

      You guessed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You omitted one more problem and I think it could be the most important – the Union. The teachers union is highly political and in place to protect teachers jobs, not get kids educated.


    • Thane, you couldn’t be more wrong. When the union advocates for smaller class size, for more funding…all these things affect the quality of education. The classroom is occupied by bothe the teacher and the students. Better conditions for teachers make better conditions for students.

      The nationwide teacher shortage wouldn’t be as large a problem as it is if there were stronger unions where they are allowed, and unions in places where they are banned.

      Finally, the states that have strong teacher unions have much higher academic acheievement than those that don’t. Just one more reason to support teacher unions in specific and unions in general.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The national and state level teachers union, in my experience, are what you are describing – political juggernauts. The local /district level unions are what unions were supposed to be. A bargaining unit for the needs of the workers to be efficient at their jobs. Unfortunately, by default those local unions are required to be part of the state level union which is required to be part of the national level. The individual teacher does not have the option to only pay dues to the local union, nor, do they have the option to opt out and keep the money they are forced to pay for membership ( at least in California).


    • You could not be more wrong. A teacher’s working conditions are your kid’s LEARNING conditions. Advocating for class size, paraprofessional assistance, planning time not being sucked up by countless meetings, decreased yearly testing, additional physical education, arts education, time for recess so kids can move, adequate resources and technology, etc. etc. etc. are all causes teacher’s associations fight for every day. No teacher wants to work with another one who is not doing his/her job. That old saw about “unions protect bad teachers” is just pure BS.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “And therein lies the biggest key to understanding why teacher’s suck …”. I know you mean “why teachers suck . . . “.


  8. As a retired teacher, I worked my tail off for 28 years. I would still be there now if it weren’t for health problems. I’ve wanted to teach all my life and I miss it terribly. Now let me clarify that, I loved each and every one of my students, even the difficult ones. What I don’t miss is the piles of paperwork that the government required, especially with common core. I love my students and morn the ones I’ll never get to meet. What I hate is Gov. McCory sold the public school system to the highest bidder. How do we deal with that? We, the teachers of the nation, are tired of living in the poverty level. So teachers suck? Well, Sir, as the article states, we SUCK UP more crap every month, then you’ll do in your lifetime. So if you think you could do better, try it for one day. Guarantee you will not make it through the first class!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amazing comment. Teach. Try it on for size if you know so much. I worked like a dog for 31 years and the kids made it worth it. Not the bitchin complainers who criticize and don’t know what they are talking about. TEACH! IT’S not for everyone. It’s a touch job!!


  9. This is an interesting read on the challenges in education today. The responses also indicate the passions and sorrows if those with first hand experience.

    What struck me, and why I respond, is I had the unique perspective of both private and public education. After ten years in the private arena, I took my parents’ gift for granted. They, in turn, removed the gift and enrolled me into public school. The contrast was so stark that it motivated me to earn my own money and re-enroll myself back into private education. A few generalized notes from that experience:

    1) Students – They make all the difference. In private school, they were eager, self-disciplined, and respectful. In public school, they were dismissive, chaotic, and rude. The private school environment freed the teachers to teach.

    2) Curriculum – Private taught thinking. Public taught memorization.

    3) Expectation – Private aimed for performance. Public happy to pass.

    4) Standardized Testing – Private taught beyond, making the testing trivial. Public taught the test.

    5) Parents – Private, since they are paying out of pocket, are very engaged and usually supporting the teacher. Public often not engaged.

    On, and on…

    They key here isn’t the teachers, rather it is the people they engage. When the students and parents are of character, regardless if it is a prep or inner city school, the teachers and students can succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My daughter has dyslexia. She had a teacher who didn’t believe in dyslexia, even with the IEP. My daughter’s problem was that when reading, she saw one line of text upside down on the line below it, so she couldn’t do bubble test sheets because she couldn’t accurately follow the lines across the page. She flunked tests because of it. Another teacher recognized her problem and gave the test to her orally, and she aced it. After that, her IEP required teachers to allow her to write out the answers on the test page, and not on a bubble sheet. Her grades improved dramatically. She never read a complete novel while she was in school, because it was too hard for her. She couldn’t distinguish b’s & d’s, p’s and g’s, etc.

      When Apple came out with the iPad, she purchased one, and within a couple weeks, she had read more books than she had in the prior 25 years. With the iPad, she could set the line spacing far enough apart so that one line did not appear on top of another. For the first time in her life, she could read things without a struggle. So IEPs do have a purpose. With some teachers, you have to force the teacher to comply with it, which is a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is a MAJOR difference between public and private schools that all those who say private schools are better than public schools: Private schools can kick the bad kids out or not admit them in the first place! Public schools have to take everybody. Of course private schools have better results than public schools because they don’t have to put up with the bad students or the students with difficulties in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m abut tired of hearing how hard things are for teachers. Paperwork has become out of control for many of us. Teachers don’t have a monopoly on all the extra work piled on due to government involvement, and most of us don’t have the benefit of the lengthy breaks and vacation time that teachers have. When you say that people are out of touch, I would say,if you’re a teacher, YOU are out of touch with the real world. And before you tell me that I don’t have a clue….my husband has been a school employee for over 30 years.


    • Saying teachers have it rough does not, in any way, negate the fact that other professions have it just as rough. Did the article say ANYTHING about how teaching is harder than every other profession? No. It did not. Attitudes like yours is why we are in the position we’re in. Teachers need MORE respect, not less!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I never had 3 months off. Never. Sick of hearing that. I had to take classes. Taught summer school. Worked on curriculum committees most every summer. Spent most of August unpacking, getting my classroom ready to start. If your husband got 3 months off, somebody was lazy. I didn’t get paid to work in my classroom and had to pay out of my pocket for the classes and supplies. So,put that in your pipe and smoke it. I was lucky to fit in 2 weeks, or even a week to be with my family.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love the “real world” comment. Such a trite and meaningless jab at teachers. That’s ok, though. I promise you we are used to it.

      Yet, I wish we were in the “real world.” In the real world, I am:

      Respected for my expertise rather than dismissed as “just a teacher.”

      Financially rewarded for my abilities and contributions rather than being paid at the bottom of the professional ladder.

      Considered intellectually capable because of my significant educational training (undergrad major and minor, two master’s degrees, untold hours of professional upgrading of my knowledge/practice over 21 years) rather than viewed as one who “can’t do…”

      Financially rewarded for overtime instead of it simply being expected.

      Viewed as an expert in my field and sought out when changes are needed, rather than viewed as an annoyance to be avoided.

      Viewed with respect by political leaders rather than scapegoated for failures out of my control, and many times caused by those very politicians.

      Not personally blamed for the schedule I am contractually obligated to follow, even though many of us are in favor of year-round schooling and getting away from an antiquated yearly schedule that has nothing to do with us.

      Valued as someone who loves young people and strives every single day to help them to explore, dream, think, and reason. Valued as someone who teaches the virtues of empathy, compassion, and giving. Valued as someone who sacrifices much to instill a love of learning in other people’s sons and daughters. Instead, sadly, of what I am sometimes called — a “glorified babysitter” who just wants his summers off.

      I would love to live in this “real world” where my education, expertise, work, contributions, commitment, sacrifices, and knowledge are respected and appreciated.

      But I don’t live in that world.

      And yet, I am exactly where God has placed me, and I am thankful every day for the privilege and blessing to teach.

      Take that, “real world.”

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Wow! What an article. Even all the comments. One thing that is not on the list, that really should be on there is attendance. Not just in your seat type attendance (physically there), but emotionally, and mentally as well. I am being told that my some of my ability to earn a wage is based on these amazing students. Yes, if they can pass a test, if I can raise their pre and post scores, then I can will earn more money. Cool thing you might say. Just think, you teach 28-32 students an hour in 5 hours(high school). In first hour alone you can not count two hands how many can not get there on time or at all, Easily, 7-10 of the 28 are absent. The ones that are there can not keep up with the pace of the lesson because they do not have the skill required to be in the high school class. Yes many high school teachers wonder what is going on in the elementary levels.Then we hear what, why, or how. I am glad I don’t teach lower grade levels. Oh, and it is not just first hour, but it continues throughout the day. So the physical absences, the mental absence (why do I have to be here, learn this, or ….) the mental shut out starts. Oh and the toughest one, is the emotional absence. You don’t want to actually find out most of these kids stories. I know I don’t. So yes, I am going to be judged on these students abilities. I know one teacher who was louded as amazing. She lasted one year. She would chase her kids down and make them take tests they missed chased them down again and tutor them and chase them again to retake tests, and finally they were able to pass. Sounds fair you might say. Some of you caught the fact that the kids got multiple chances yes that now happens. At the end of the year, she said I am not their mom, dad, uncle, or aunt, I do not have the energy to do this for even 5 years.
    There you go Fred. Please come into the teaching field and just get kids to SHOW UP on time with basic skills. Be their parents so we can teach them.


    • There is no ‘one word answer’ and Montessori definitely isn’t it! A Montessori program failed my son misserably when it was our best hope. I won’t bare our burdens here, but the ONE thing I know best from being a teacher is that one band-aid does not fit all wounds. In order to best help our students we need to see them as individuals and provide them the support they each need.


  12. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … | Simply Kati

  13. Point number three is a lie. Sorry, but it is. There is no possible way anyone ever successfully sued a school for not diagnosing a child with ADHD in order to get an IEP. ADHD is a medical diagnosis and only possible to get an IEP under OHI when diagnosed by an MD, and documented to the school by the parent. It is the one circumstance where ALL responsibility falls to the parents. No lawyer ever would settle that suit – and no lawyer would think to file it – because the law is clear and they could be held personally responsible for filing it as ‘frivolous’. Until recently, that suit would have had to be filed in two places, with the first taking years to wind its way through Federal court. It never happened.

    Which leads to the question of why. Why make such things up? Why demonize special education students and non English speaking students? Apparently the reach of Mr. Trump has extended well into the ranks of teachers, when such a thing is possible. Maybe, then, we are getting the Education Secretary we deserve.

    “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.”

    Parents of special education students struggle with low expectations that have serious consequences for their kids. They are acutely aware that the lack of a quality education for their kids, unlike others, can mean homelessness and early death for their children. Who pays that bill? Honey, its not the teacher.


    • Yes! This rhetoric is very poorly written with false accounts and skewed generalizations of teacher’s workloads. It incites people to be angry at credible programs targeted to make invalid arguments. It’s truly a damaging commentary that fuels misguided support of the Trump/Devos agendas.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I have been teaching for 22 years. I have to tell you that mostly, the kids are the same. Mostly… We have had things come up that have made my teaching easier – technology. My document camera has been a life saver when the only perfect book to share is 4 x 4. Now the whole class can see it. ipads instead of a clunky single desktop in the back of the room. A child can ask a relevant though provoking questions and I can google it and we get to discuss the results. Schools can get grants now, so we have classrooms full of books. There is so much more….

    What has changed in 22 years that makes me bang my head against the wall: Common Core grossly cognitively inappropriate curriculum – this shows the vast difference between the ill educated politician and the expertly educated teacher. We know Piaget, Bloom, Gardner, and Vygotsky. (That sound you just heard was a politician scratching their head wondering who these new political opponents are.) We know that certain standards will be hard for students to meet because RESEARCH has shown that the majority of children do not think that way. (Think why we do not teach multiplication in Kindergarten.) Couple that with putting these materials on tests. And the constant testing. The constant evaluations. During the end of May and beginning of June, my student’s had to miss relevant instructional time, for two weeks, so I could do end of year assessments for the state in KINDERGARTEN! 20 years ago Kindergartners were finger painting and napping – do we have less doctors now? Today there is no nap time, they must be reading and writing multi-page books, finger painting is a luxury, and less play time. What do I notice – far more social problems.

    I am sure every generation of teachers say that this generation is worse. But here is what I see… Children have no play time and spend far more time inside when at home so they have far lower level social skills. There has been this social mindset that a child should have no conflict or be told no or they will be stunted. It is actually the other way around. I am teaching children how to interact with each other in positive ways. Twenty years ago when we had play and children organized games outside because we actually had play time, I did not have to tell them how to talk to each other, they figured it out. I helped when needed. No I have to teach daily lessons on social emotional growth.

    Special education is extremely important. All students have the right to receive services that they need. No more locking up the “special” kids in the basement. However, in the race to make sure students have the least restrictive environment (and trust me – I believe in this) it is hard to get all children into the appropriate setting. It is not a punishment, we teachers are not being vindictive, but sometimes a child cannot function in a regular class of 28 children, even with two teachers. It is so hard to get them in a place where they would excel because they have the right supports. We have NO power when the parents say no. It saddens me horribly, I have gone home and cried, when a parent refuses services that their child so desperately needs. It becomes our fault when the child is screaming and tantruming on the floor despite us documenting and fighting to get the child what they need. (Think being put in a physics class when you aren’t sure how to add yet and no one will let them go to a tutor.) And yet, this is not considered educational neglect. But, oh, if I do not meet the child’s educational needs/goals, I could loose my job. (Tenure does NOT mean you can never loose your job.)

    But in the end, I get blamed for a lot of the problems. I did not make the laws – in fact I did not vote for many of the politicians that did. I spend thousands (yes thousands) of dollars funding my own classroom so my title one students get some semblance of equal opportunities to the middle class school a few blocks away. I get to work at 7:30AM and leave by 4:30PM (on an early day) with my backpack filled with paperwork. I have had parents comment on the fact that I have sent an email after 9PM at night. Right now I am sitting on my couch recovering from going in yesterday, Saturday, and working all day to box up my classroom for the summer because who else will do it?

    I do suck….
    I suck at having a life outside of work.
    I suck at not feeling too much for my students.
    I suck at pushing back at my administration for not helping us end some of the superfluous paperwork.
    I suck at asking my union to fight harder.
    I suck at changing the political landscape so that the level of educational inequality in this country ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When I was growing up, teachers were the backbone of society and I still see that they still are, only more so. Educators kept me away from an abusive father and cared more about my well-being than he did. During those days, they never had to pay for supplies, nor did they waste as much time on the paperwork that they must now.

    I read a couple of the comments that were given by teachers trying to justify what they are doing, but they should not have to do that. Society and the bureaucracy have turned into a shameful firing squad that have done more to deter teachers than put them on the pedestal where they belong. They have become family to some of the students that need them the most as well as try to teach them what is the parents’ responsibility.

    Since they can’t even get what they deserve in wages for the hours where they toil, they barely have enough time to teach a class. Before the school system goes completely down the sanitary sewer, I suggest that administrators and the school board get more involved in this beaurocratic paperwork than the front lines. I know that paperwork is a necessary evil, but you’re expecting the wrong people to do it.

    Some classrooms have closed circuit TVs there now, and a sample of this material will be enough to show that the instructor in these subjects is capable in what they are doing. Why can’t all the schools have them? It is the best defense.

    Grading papers and tests? The teacher might have to do some of it, but anyone can follow a key to multiple choice. That’s what student teachers can do, as well as learn from some of the best of the best.

    Wages? States need to get off spending for the unnecessary and put a little power behind the punch. If you’re working with finances like an accountant does, your lawmakers need to be specialists in their fields. There is no room at the capital for inexperience.

    So, fix the problems from the bottom up. Begin with the state’s officials and work your way to the top tier. Since we can’t do it with the present administration, let’s put educated people in there that know how to make this country great, not the inexperienced, or this country is rapidly going to lose its reputation as a top seed nation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Multiple choice tests? Very rarely do I use multiple choice tests.They don’t truly measure student knowledge and understanding of the topic. What about grading everyday student class work? Or homework? There is very little multiple choice in that as well. Student teachers do their own planning and grading when they are in the classroom (if a teacher has one, which many don’t). Also, many schools don’t have aides and a lot that did have them have done away with them because of budget issues, even though class sizes continue to grow. I’m at school from 7-5 on weekdays just to try and keep up with grading, not to mention working on Saturdays to do planning for the upcoming week. In our state we also have curriculum mapping, which never ends.Besides preparing for the next school year and the new science program we adopted (a new subject is adopted each year), I am also spending my summer mapping. Everything is about accountability so your school receives a good grade based on standardized test results so it can keep it’s funding.


  16. Got tired of the paperwork and everything else- moved to a wonderful Christian school. Spent 25+ years teaching!! What a difference. 20 years of that time, I served as a High School Principal, but still taught 2-3 science or math classes per day…..and did administrative duties. Loved every minute. Put out a great end product as well. All this happened in rural Alabama.


  17. Here is what will never change:

    The most successful students have two parents that are well educated – and well informed; they
    have high expectations for their children, and they are loving, self-sacrificing, engaged and unconditionally supportive.

    No teacher can possibly make up for absentee, negligent, overwhelmed, incompetent, or abusive parents.

    The most successful schools have a majority of parents as described above.

    Liked by 1 person

    • to add to that most successful schools also have a monoculture. Heterogeneity of ability still happens but the ends of the spectrum are much closer together.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right on Andrea! In our “ever devolving society,” we espouse homes without fathers, and then say, “It takes a village.” It does, but it takes a family, with morals, values, and expectations that their kids accomplish without being worshipped, more than anything else. And still the kids can choose poorly.


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  19. I found this to be a great read… what I didn’t find to be a great read was all the comments. If all of you are teachers then I am disappointed. I am a teacher of 18 years… and yes there are downfalls and disadvantages but if you are all that unhappy and want to complain then get out so that someone that is passionate despite the crap can replace you. PLEASE do not tell others to not go into teaching… It is a beautiful place. I highly encourage all of you to read, “Teaching in the classroom using Love and Logic.” I teach in a low-poverty, minimal parent involvement area. My students are hurting… but I am loving them. I hope that you all find your peace…


    • If you are a teacher, or anyone who cares about education, then you don’t instigate all of this in the first place by writing an editorial that complains about the work at hand. AND you definitely don’t sacrifice critical funding programs that serve the most disadvantaged students to make petty arguments about families/students you serve!!!!! If you want to JUDGE the passionate teachers on here, YOU leave the classroom just as the writer has. Consider the source of “the crap’ in all of this. He had no place to write a piece like this in the first place! Every point made made about how ‘teachers suck… it up….’ is not only inflated and erroneous (paperwork, underfunded testing, advocating families), but tears down those we serve (society) and those that serve students (IDEA, ELL, FAPE…). This type of writing that is now circulating through society is fueling fires by all those passionate families and. the broken society he attacked. He unrightfully represented teachers who ARE passionate about what they do and the families they serve and placed them squarely in an angry society’s crosshairs! AND an ignorant administration’s crosshairs!


      • Could you possibly try to see past your own nose long enough to realize that the criticisms of these programs are valid? We get it. You’re convinced that no teacher anywhere would ever teach a child with special needs unless they were forced to fill out a very specific document- in triplicate, three times a year. You’re also convinced that any teacher who thinks that the paperwork has become overwhelming is just complaining because he/she doesn’t want to be accountable. There’s one of you in every faculty room. You’re on a moral crusade about something that you can’t quite explain, but you definitely know that you alone are the only one who has the answers. My mother always said that if the entire army is out of step, maybe it’s not the army. Take the hint.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nice move, ‘I Teach’ to not allow responses to your post. That’s a good way to protect your narrow-minded talk.
        I never insinuated that it required paper to teach any child. I uphold our profession in being accountable in all that we do whatever it takes. I am not an army of one. I am a loud(re) voice (than others) that is not afraid of confronting people with shields like you!


  20. The nurses and their CNA’s have the same problem with 25% of their time documenting what they do, that no one will ever read. Then they have government inspectors come in and treat everyone like they’re incompetent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because y’all treat all students with an IEP as cognitively unable to benefit from appropriate instruction. IMHO and many other parents opinions…The issue is a teaching disability more than a learning disability on the part of the student.
      Speaking from our own personal experience in regards to the experience we had trying to get help for our foster (now adopted) teenager, once this young man was provided with the proper instruction and scaffolding, including AT to level the playing field, he soared!
      So stop blaming the demographics of the students, and stop the pre-determination regarding what they are believed to not be capable of, and provide them with what they need to soar, rather than leaving them behind and struggling year after year after year…
      Or else, you will be left with those students that are not there for their education, but only for the fact that they are required to attend and it gives their parents a break during the day from having to worry about them…


  21. If for moment you stopped and thought about what Fred was eluding to…… I believe Fred is on the side of the teacher here. This is conjecture, but I believe Fred meant collectively across the nation, stop playing the politicians paper work game. They wouldn’t fire ALL teachers. What do we know? By all means, keep raising your pitchforks, and view this verbal lynching through your narccisstic lens.


    • If Fred meant that, then why didn’t Fred say that? Federally mandated paperwork has not been streamlined under ANY political party, even the one that claims to support teachers. And bombastic language (“narcissistic verbal lynching?”) when an opinion is expressed is immature and purposely inflammatory. Kudos to Fred for the thought, if that’s what he meant, but try to get any 20 teachers on the same page, and while you’re at it, wave a wand to fix bureaucratic stupidity, please.


  22. I’m not a teacher and have no perspective when it comes to what they are required to do on a daily basis. However as a parent you can hardly blame me for expecting good things from a school system that is wildly over funded in comparison to other developed countries and yet produces substandard results.

    The real issue that does not seem to be mentioned in this article is the fact that the majority of the dollars that are taxed are never finding there way to the classroom. They are not being used to hire new teachers or reduce class sizes. They are used to fund unrealistic pensions put in place decades ago. I have seen first hand the “burden” placed on tenured educators in retirement. They often enjoy sizable pension and social security payments in addition to any personal retirement savings. Our government has since realized the need for reform and the unrealistic nature of guaranteeing an 8% return despite what is happening in the rest of the economy. The reforms are still not enough. Our current and future educators, our tax payers, and their kids are paying the bill in tax dollars and poor results.

    You can hardly blame these parents for embracing a voucher program that allows them at least some form of control to ensure that their dollars are going as far as possible.


    • Well at least you admit when you’re wrong. We get 80% of our top salary in pension. We are screwed out of social security due to something called the “Windfall provision,” even if we worked in other jobs before becoming teachers (as I did until age 32…social is cut for me by 2/3rds, even when I paid in from age 15). I think the pensions you’re imagining are those of firemen or policemen. Regarding poor results, kids these days are given cell phones at age 6, and live in homes wheee parents don’t have them read a book (or there aren’t any in the house), or the parents themselves are too lazy to be an example or follow up. But everyone has an opinion on education, informed or not (yet couldn’t walk a mile in our shoes if it meant their lives. A charter school principal came as part of a team to our school of 3000, to evaluate our efforts and programs as part of an evaluation process. Know what ahe said? “You don’t have enough parents doing yard duty.” Idiot didn’t realize that stops in elementary school. Ans then there are the “all black” charter schools.” Know why they succeed? Because the princiapal can kick them out and they lose the money…snd nobody calls him a racist for making them tow the line. I won’t fault you for repeating all the pripaganda, and understand that I’m a conservative, but we have little support and still do the job in our screwed up society. By the way, my boys were AP students with over a 4.3 grade average, and that while my wife and I weee grading papers at home on weekends and nights for no pay. We’re now on our no pay summer break (for which we have to save all winter). We’ll power up in the fall and do things with kids that nobody sure as hell could do elsewhere, even some of those whose parents point tbe finger everywhere but in the mirror.


      • I don’t hate teachers. I had some great teachers growing up that helped to mold me into the father and professional that I am today. I also realize that they have a very difficult job, but this country spent $70 billion on education last year and every year they come back for more. At what point do people say, I want my money’s worth. At what point do I as a responsible parent say that I don’t want my kids to be in that system.

        Your right I have no idea of your day to day struggles. Your also right that teachers get more scrutiny then most. The biggest difference is that I work in the private sector and if my clients don’t like the results they can take there dollars elsewhere. You choose your profession and you have options to teach at private schools. Where by the way the freedom that the above article laments for is available. However it comes at the cost of the pension and an inability to collectively bargain. God forbid, the market determines your value based on the results…

        And by the way Hugh and Howard. If you are not receiving social security you either didn’t pay social security taxes, in which case you had a higher take home income or there is something wrong with your application because while the windfall provision my reduce your benefit it does not eliminate it entirely. I would recommend you talk to a social security expert.


    • Are you actually criticising teachers who spent their entire careers working at inferior pay for receiving a pension (most of which was paid for with THEIR money)? AND complaining that they receive money from a social security system into which they paid at the same rate you did? AND complaining because a few of them managed to put aside a couple of dollars into their own savings? All the while subsidizing the taxpayers by using their OWN money to support their underfunded classroom?? You might want to complain about tax dollars going to the classroom instead of an overblown administration, or being used to fund politically-MANDATED programs. In an article about blaming the teachers for everything, you just managed to castigate them for being thrifty. I had a school board member tell me to my face that “teachers are supposed to live in genteel poverty.” Adam, are you related to her?? What else are you going to lay on our doorstep?

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Reblogged this on Reading, Drinking and Dancing with a Chaser of Snark and commented:
    Teachers are pathetically underpaid and overworked and yet, STILL continue to WANT to teach. It is a calling that should be held in the highest esteem, not undercut and buried in paperwork. Each year we lose talented educators, and continue to defund public education. We are already paying the price, and the “bill” will only increase.

    Teachers are heroes. Period.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Great, Mr. Fulks! Now your misrepresentation of decent, hardworking educators now has parents and teachers directly fighting each other! What you have set in motion is going to further divide support in our education system. This is completely messed up!

    If you are a parent, student or supporter of education reading this, please know that this rhetoric IN NO WAY represents how most teachers feel. It is fabricated to justify those who are upset about being held accountable!


      • In my experience in my district and school, Mr. Fulk’s article is closer to representing the attitude and values of the teachers than what you have represented in your comments. I teach in a suburban school district outside an upstate NY city. We have a unionized faculty, and good relations with our District and BOE…and still Fulk’s words resonate more accurately than yours do.

        I am sure there are many teachers in my district whose attitudes are closer to yours, but they are in the minority by my estimation. I would never apply my anecdotal experience to the world at large, and assert most teachers feel as I do, but I am also sure many more share my opinions than you are aware of.

        Regardless of the differences in our opinions, it is essential that all teachers work together to improve education. Let’s focus on our commonalities, instead of repeatedly grinding away at our differences. Teaching is under attack, and if any of us who love our careers and our students want to preserve what remains, we must stand together.

        (stepping down off the soapbox)

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for writing this. I am still a very green teacher and when I first joined the field it was a bit depressing. Always hearing about these issues and watching teachers drop like flies. Seeing other seasoned teachers defend our profession helps inspire me to keep growing as a teacher despite the obstacles!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I just finished my 16th year teaching in a private school. No tenure, annual contracts…no retirement. But, a lot less BS to deal with. I have friends who tell me I’m a fool for not switching to a public school. Stories like this are what keep me from making that move.


    • Terrible title for this piece, and cliched. Only a small percentage of US parents have children in public schools, many opt out to private leaving fewer in school.
      Really smart communities form associations, aka unions to mitigate issues. Well educated electorates vote in local elections for policy making. Its all fixable.


      • “Only a small percentage of US parents have children in public schools”??????? Where did you get THAT little piece of alternate facts??? >85% of America’s kids go to public schools. Go do your research and stop spreading lies.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. For a darkly humorous take on this excellent blog of Bert’s, you might want to pick up my recently available novel, The Modest Achievements of Meddleton High, which can be found on Amazon. As a retired educator and newsman, I wrote this speculative fiction as a cathartic release and have been pleasantly surprised to see it become quite popular among teachers and the general public (those sympathetic to the plight of teachers, anyway). Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/author/michaelbuchta.


  28. A hearty AMEN to this post although it is not complete! Lack of administrators enforcing policy, the golden rule (not that one – this one. Whomever has the gold makes the rules). Added burdens for continuing education, etc. The list goes on and on.


  29. My significant other has been a public teacher for 20 years. She has 4 years left before she retires. Her life is miserable because of her ridiculous teaching workload. She is a very educated and dedicated teacher in an affluent middle school where she is verbally beaten, threatened, called names and totally disrespected, daily and nightly by bullying, hateful parents. She is answering emails at 10 pm. She cries many nights because of the abuse. She finally this summer she said I can’t face going back. I can’t do this for 4 more years. I need to finish going part time only. She spends her own money every year on classroom supplies. Her base pay is a whopping $42,000/year after 20 years, so she is also a full time server at night. She comes home and grades papers for two hours, gets four hours of sleep, gets up grades more papers and starts it all over again. In 4 years she will leave with a vengeance and slam the door behind her. Her heart aches because she once was in a noble profession, she was respected and that made it worth it to her. Now she is thought of as one of the help. What a shame it has become.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Teachers do not suck: The profession itself does. What is described here shows the consequences of not having educators write public policy. Another issue that it touches is the funding inequality from a local-based funding model. The final issue is symptomatic of families where parents have to work multiple part-time jobs just to make ends meet. “Accountability”? That is written for test publishers, not for teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, my district’s dependence on a local-based funding supply is a strength. If NYS state were to depend solely on state dollars, all education funding would be in the hands of politicians who think they know more about education than the experts. We already suffer from their I funded mandates and ill-advised regulations.

      Look at the state’s where all funding comes from the state level. Kansasistan, Oklahomastan, North Carolinastan…politicians have completely disrupted good education in those states in pursuit of ideological goals, not education goals.

      Local funding and local BOE’s can be more responsive to the needs of their communities. I concede there are problems with this model, especially regarding urban and rural districts. In those cases the state governments should step in and provide the necessary funding to make up the monetary difference needed to improve those schools up to equivalency.

      But please, keep the politicians and their party affiliations as far away as possible from funding our schools. Current history shows how poor a job they do.

      Why perpetuate a mistake?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Take heart, people; there’s still hope. I am trying to audit the functioning of the department of education to transform it from the mess it is in and to bring it in synch with common sense – that will surely break the shackles they have put on our teachers and students. Contact me if you will, on FrankLuke_37@yahoo.com and use the subject line SAVE AMERICAN EDUCATION. Let’s save this nation from its academic darkness. This disaster we call education was not created by teachers or students. It came from somewhere else. We the people must take our education system back from the hands of those who have held it in a state of ruin for several years


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  32. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … | Bert Fulks – My Corner on the Internet

  33. Pingback: PSA: Respect Your Teachers - An Education in Domestication

  34. Pingback: Why Teachers Suck … – coolmitten

  35. I am so grateful that I just retired after 25 years in public and 7 years in private schools. What used to be a rewarding, wonderful profession where kids learned AND developed a love of learning has turned into a nightmare. I feel terribly sorry for the students and even sorrier for the teachers who must now endure this abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. You pinpoint the issues so well. We are mired in a boatload of red tape, all of which takes away from our classroom time and leaves us exhausted. Every new school year brings with it new idiocies. I have had several friends decide to retire because of the expectations. I have to admit, as much as I love the students, I would be doing the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I am not a teacher and never would want to be. I do understand how difficult the job must be. Bless those that choose that profession. But, here is what I see is the main problem. Schools claim to be underfunded, if you take a look at the school tax dollars, 60% of those funds go right into teacher’s salaries and most into their retirement. If the teachers funded their own retirements (like most Americans have to do), can you imagine how much money would be freed up for the schools, students, teacher’s assistants, new equipment, etc… This could change everything. This will never happen because of the Teacher’s Union, who I believe have destroyed the school system. I think vouchers would be great. It would stop the monopoly of the school system and open up choice. I know this is not a popular view, but I think it would solve the problem in our school system which is crumbling.


  38. I taught for 15 years. I know how hard teaching is…but some teachers DO “suck”. The current school system and the legal hoops schools have to jump through also “suck”. I educated my kids through a school-home co-op for years, but agreed to allow public education due to my daughters love of music and desire to join band. She has had teachers who are on facebook all day (during class). Teachers who hand out huge packets of worksheets, then tell the kids to sit and do them and offer NO teaching at all. Teachers who pile on hours and hours of nightly homework. Teachers who told me when she was in the hospital she was missing too much school and every day missed counted against her grade ( this in direct violation of school policy). Teachers who slide in the school parking lot as the first bell rings and are gone before most of the kids. Teachers who don’t show up for conferences, even when your child was told it was “Manditory”. Teachers who send home information with grammatical errors and spelling errors. Teachers who don’t tell students and parents information until the last minute, then spring mandatory events and out of class assignments that require a driver to take them (during work hours). There are so many kids with IEP plans now, and I believe quite strongly many are bull. The result of poor parenting and kids who are well within normal developmental ranges being expected to do age inappropriate tasks and then labeled for not achieving. Many are the result of parents pushing schools and doctors to label a child and even medicate them, to avoid responsibility. I had several parents try to bully me into writing letters to doctors saying the child was A.D.D and get angry when I would not. Maybe we need to change the school system, get rid of all the IEP and special plans. Kids come, they learn, they get placed in a class designed for their needs and learning style.Fewer kids per class. Less education required of beginning teachers with more mentoring and more district provided training. More district trained classroom aides in grade school with better pay for them. Make working in the school cost teachers less. I really do not think my Master’s degree made me a better teacher.It sure cost me though…and the school district. If students choose not to learn or participate it becomes the parent’s issue. Teachers teach. Parent’s parent. Kids can take however long it takes to get through each level of each subject. If you have behavior or learning issues, you can choose training in a job that fits you. We have tried to make education “fair” and are instead making a big mess. Time for parents who do parent to reclaim parental rights and for those who don’t parent to have to take on parental responsibility. If a child has issues, medical, behavioral, or otherwise, they should be able to participate via Skype or a recorded session and get credit. Teachers should provide the education. Parents and students provide discipline.


  39. The50thPercentile.com is quite an interesting podcast by an actual classroom teacher. She discusses the goals of American education leadership, the classism and racism of their common conformity education programs and voucher programs, bloated above school level positions, where tax money actually ends up, etc… Did you know, that in 25 days, with no classroom teaching experience, a graduate from the Broad Superintendent Academy is somehow considered competent to become a district superintendent? Could you run a school district after 25?

    Liked by 1 person

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