Rick Jamesing Some Kind of Terrible Teacher

I love my job. Like anyone, there are days when I don’t want to get up and go to work, but it’s more about the “getting up and going” than it is the “work”. I might work with criminals, but in 99% of the cases, I’ve got a pretty big soft spot for the lil’ guys and gals. Teaching, for me, is awesome. It’s something different and challenging to look forward to on a daily basis. I absolutely love what I do.

However, teachers get a bad rap. They’re called lazy, greedy, useless, the whole she-bang. And you know what? I totally agree.

Bueller? Bueller? Douchebag? Bueller?

I actually dislike quite a few of the teachers I have met in my life. If you’re a teacher, and I talk to you, don’t worry. You’re not on my list.

Those who are fall into some of the following categories (typically all of them at once, but meh.)

A. Pretentious, snobby, holier-than-thou teachers: Usually their conversations with teachers and non-teachers alike sound something like this, “Me! Me, me me me me. My class, me me me me me. Homework me me me me me. I me me me, parents. Me.” I don’t mind talking about my work. It’s interesting and kids do some funny shit. But shut the fuck up already. Yes, you’re fantastic. Yes, your mural on the hallway bulletin board won best in show. Yes, it’s just so horrible to have to take marking home with. Boo-fucking-hoo. SHADDUP.

Cheap pricks!

B. Cheap, penny-pinching teachers: We are not underpaid. Well, some of us are ($10 000/year pay cut for moving from one province to another! HELLO!) but I digress. I don’t know what it is, but teachers are some cheap god damned pricks. I worked as a server/bar tender all through school and even while I was teaching for a few years, and on numerous occasions I have gone back into a restaurant, feigning that I’ve forgotten something, just to add more to a lousy tip that some other teacher has left. It’s brutal and embarrassing. We’re not rolling in cash, I know this. We spend lots and LOTS of our own money on supplies. Yes. But you know what? We’re not working the counter at Dairy Queen. Leave a god damned tip or offer to buy me a tea sometime. Jeez.

C. The “I hate children” teachers: Does this need explanation? Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking when you took this job?

Unions. I love you. And I hate you.

D. Old, tired, barely there teachers: You know the one. The old curmudgeon with the best classroom, the biggest office and lesson plans from 1967. S/he refuses to change, update or adapt lessons. S/he is counting down the breaths until the pension kicks in and boring kids to death with his/her mouth breathing as they read text books and copy answers off each other.

E. No social skills, hygiene skills, bowhunting skills teacher: I’ll be the first to admit I can be a little awkward at times. I’m neither charming nor demure. I’m kind of loud, very sarcastic, opinionated and I will challenge anyone to a burping contest. Here’s the thing though, teenagers like me. I’m not fake or flaky. I’m not disrespectful and I’m really fair. I usually smell like citrus, damnit. I just don’t understand people that don’t enjoy or are just plain horrible at working with people who choose to be teachers. I mean, you have to know that you smell like old blue cheese, do you not?

Ok, so I could continue to rant but I’ll explain my teacher-rage today. I have a kid, who obviously has issues. I wouldn’t be teaching him if he didn’t. I’ve been arguing incessantly with his school that he will have been at our facility for a full year come December (when he’s released). In this province we have, love it or hate it, a policy to grant “social passes” to students until they reach high school. There’s lots wrong with the system, but if the alternative is leaving an 18 year old kid in middle school, I feel it’s way better to let him go to high school where he (she) will either smarten the fuck up and get some credits, or not. Whatevs. Just to be clear, I’m not even looking for a social pass for this kid, who is 16. My argument is that he’s been working on grade 9 for the past 6 months and he’ll be able to meet damned near all the outcomes. There’s no reason to keep him back based on his age or his time in class!!!

Anyway, I finally got through to the principal and he’s actually been really supportive of having this kid go into grade 10 to take their Career Experience program, which is half day classes, half day job experience. It’s the kind of thing this guy needs. He’s smart enough, but he’s also a kid who probably needs some more tactile learning in his life to keep him motivated and interested. So why is this bad? Well the teacher of the program is thinking it’s not a good fit. He’s not “looking for criminals” in his program. He doesn’t want to be bothered with someone BOUND to fail or cause him headaches.

*Insert my imaginary backhand Rick Jamesing this asshat’s face*

Wow. Really? Well then, let’s just dump this guy on the side of the road and we’ll let him fend for himself.

The good news is, is that the principal has the final say in the matter.

The bad news is teachers like this guy exist.

I’m not freaking perfect. But I give kids a chance. Usually more than one, because a lot of them have been through crap that you or I couldn’t imagine, nor would we want to.

Never leave home without your garter belts.


~ by Andrea on May 21, 2010.

11 Responses to “Rick Jamesing Some Kind of Terrible Teacher”

  1. Beautiful. Insightful. Hope the principal gives your guy a break.

  2. It is sooooooo refreshing to read another teacher’s experience and relate! You’re right on! I’m so glad to have found your blog!


  3. This is the fourth reference I’ve heard this week to that scene in Ferris Bueller by 4 unrelated people. Random, I know, but I wanted to share.

    I hope your student gets into the program.

    • Me too. He’s been working really hard. It’s just crappy that I get to see the side of them that is clean, focused and capable of doing the whole school thing. A lot of times, the influences and issues they have on the outside totally screw them over.

  4. Totally true. And it’s even worse at university level!

  5. I’m pretty defensive of teachers in my short career, but then again, I’ve had some BAD administrators (like 30 of us are leaving bad… out of 140 teachers in the school)… anyway…

    I do agree with some of your points. One of the biggest is that I’ll make sure to get out of education as soon as I’m thinking I hate it. I’d rather be taken out and shot than “just deal with it.”

    As for the last teacher: he needs to deal with it. Many teachers have NO say what kids go into their classroom – my first year I had 30 more students than the district said I should have had, 2/3 of the English Language Learner population of my school, and a mile-high stack of Special Ed. folders. And I survived. While the system did screw me over, it’s sometimes part of the job.

    Then again, it’s unfortunate that I have to say that as it’s expected…

    • Oh, I am very aware about having no control over who’s in your classroom. I taught co-operative education in Toronto and it’s mandated by the board that you’re not supposed to have more than, well I forget exact numbers, but say 24 kids, to a co-op class. It’s a legal and insurance issue because you need to provide so many visits to the job sites they’re working at, and mathematically, they chose “24”. Two years in a row I had 35 kids on my list. You mention the policy and you leave notes in principals mailboxes with the highlighted sections of the mandate, and you get nowhere. However, it was never an issue of “THAT kid isn’t coming to MY class”. I just hate that attitude. No matter how packed your class is, no matter how many Spec. Ed./IPP/behavioural kids end up in there, that’s your job and you do the best you can!!!

  6. Great post and so true. As a teacher, you never know what kind of class you are going to end up with. Some teachers just worry about organizing their teaching supplies and getting through the day. Tough teachers make the best with what they are given and try to make a difference in the lives of those they are working with no matter where they come from.

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