Monday, November 27, 2006

Someone tell me once again why I am attempting to enter the teaching profession.

No, really. I want to know.

"It's the best profession for a woman," my grandma says, citing her thirty-plus years of full-time teaching and her current stint as a sub. She says if she had to do it all over again, she'd do it and go one further, into teaching administration.

I wish she had. I wish more people like her were doing so, because after the story she told me about how parents and their children took advantage of weak school administrators to oust a teacher at a school where she subs gives me the chills.

I didn't hear all the details of the story, but the teacher in question is now teaching at a different school. Her former students once spoke openly about how their parents banded together and wrote a letter. A subbing teacher brought this to the principal's attention, and the principal dealt with it in a manner my grandma said was inadequate. Parents had apparently been wanting to be rid of this particular teacher for a long time, and it took one child making an accusation against this teacher for this to happen.

And because everything is tied up in lawsuits, the teachers remaining at the school don't know what really happened. They are afraid for their jobs and suspicious of the kids and the administrators. Rumors are flying.

Now, as a parent, I want to know as much about what is going on in my kid's school as the next person. If my kid is being bullied or treated unfairly, or left behind in some way, I want to know about it. I want to see what will remedy the situation from my end, and if things are getting out of hand, other options that possibly involve changing the class my kid is in, or even changing schools, might be in order. I also will need to take whatever my kid says about his school day with a grain of salt. He isn't always right, and if he were, he'd probably be off raising himself. He has been known to take toys from school before and to try to pass it by me that the teacher said it was OK.

"Oh, and is it all right if I ask her about it?" I asked my truthful (!) son.

Dead silence from him.

"Uh-huh, I thought so. It goes back tomorrow, kid."

"OOooooh-kaaaaayy," he said, dejectedly. He'd been found out.

If I'm harsh just for being mom and calling my son's bluff , I shudder at what kinds of things could get me fired once I become a full-fledged teacher. And at what sorts of people could aid in that sort of enterprise. I would hate for things to get so bad that a kid can't be chided for not doing his homework. Or for misbehaving in class and getting in the way of a lesson.

Things have certainly changed since my grandma was in her teaching heyday. I have to hope that overall, those changes are for the better, because Lord knows the educational system in this country needs a shot in the arm from capable people willing to stand up for what they believe.

Otherwise, I believe I will be in for a tough time.

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