Teacher Bashing 1
Whenever anyone proposes better evaluating teachers so that good ones can be promoted, rewarded and retained, mediocre ones can receive attention and training to improve, and bad ones can be removed – in short, basic, obvious things that exist nearly everywhere EXCEPT the Alice-In-Wonderland world of our school systems unions – the unions scream "teacher bashing!" It's total nonsense – even the people against whom the charge is most often leveled like Chris Christie or Michelle Rhee, it's a horrible lie. They (and everyone else) realizes that teachers are THE KEY, which is why we must attract and retain good ones, improve the ones in the middle, and quickly get rid of the small number of terrible ones. The bashing that goes on relates to the behavior of teacher UNIONS, NOT teachers!
Thus, it was with disappointment that I read this column by John Merrow, who usually writes great stuff, entitled "Teacher Bashing", in which he says that "Teacher bashing is all the rage these days, unfortunately", without providing a single example, other than citing Waiting for Superman – which I thought was PRO-teacher (but was for sure anti-bad teacher union behavior). He then shares one of the whiniest quotes I've ever read from a teacher who goes on endlessly about all of the horrible kids and parents she has to endure, concluding by saying "Many teachers feel like punching bags and crash test dummies":
–The 14-year-old boy who cannot stay awake in class because he is out until after midnight most school nights; his mother says, "he doesn't listen to me," and add that, in her opinion, he's "too old to have a bedtime;"
–The mother who tells me to stop calling her about her child's behavior and says, "When she's at school she's your problem. Stop expecting me to do your job."
–The phone that does not ring when report cards and interims go home showing failing grades.
–The father who berates me for chastising his daughter (who has 3 Es and 2 Ds) when I find her hanging out with her friends in the hallway rather than participating in an optional after-school Exam Review session which the teacher is running voluntarily and on his own time.
I am not alone. Many teachers feel like punching bags and crash test dummies.
I've written endless about this "woe is us, how can we be held responsible for educating THESE children???" attitude. Yes, there's some truth to it. Some parents and kids are really lousy. But I'm really sick of the blame game…