Archive for March 2010 | Monthly archive page

Is Teaching A Calling?

So, here I am. Spring Break. It’s pretty nice…with all the not working and everything. You have to admit that. No matter what else you don’t like about your job, it’s pretty cool that Spring Break is still pretty cool. So I had a choice for Spring Break, like every year. What should I do? I could: A) Go to Cancun and do a bunch of Tequila shots off a stranger’s butt-crack; or B) Watch my kids and try to finish up some projects around the house. Loud and proud: It’s B. That’s right, Motherfuckers. Read more [...]

Are Teachers Morons?

This post, and maybe two more, will be dedicated to responding to some questions posed to me last month by a reader. The reader is preparing to make a decision about whether or not to teach and has some concerns. The reader…OK, enough of “the reader”. Let’s just call him a devoted fan named Raymond. Raymond has a number of questions. The first is about the intellectual capacity of teachers. The second and third have to do with the reality of teaching in an urban school versus the “I’m going to Read more [...]

Do I Have To Be In A Teachers’ Union?

I’m a line worker Education factory Waiting for the bell First, let me say that I love unions. If you are a migrant avocado picker, janitor, coal miner, office cleaner, or assembly line worker; you should get yourself into a union right away. And they will help you. Why do you need help? Because you possess no special skills or knowledge. You are easily replaceable. If you have issues or complaints, about anything, it’s not worth the boss’s time to try to make you happy. If you have extraordinary Read more [...]

Second Education Poetry Archive

Once in a while, twice so far to be precise, I will post some of the most recent Teachbad bad poetry with links to the related posts. This is such an occasion. Not sure which to choose? Go ahead…read them all. They’re FREE! Enjoy the badness with a colleague or loved one. They will thank you. Mr. Teachbad It’s hard to take it Pretend. Go Along. Fake it. A half hour meeting About fire drill procedures We talked about this last week Though most grudgingly And without full admission They’ve Read more [...]

English Papers Still Not Graded

FAKE EDUCATION NEWS -Eugene, OR For three weeks Alan Holcomb has been traveling back and forth between Sheldon High School in Eugene, OR and his apartment, also in Eugene, OR, with a stack of 72 papers on Rhetorical Device Analysis of Winston Churchill’s Pancake Breakfast Address from his 11th grade English classes. “I supposes this makes me a bad teacher”, says Holcomb, 29. “It’s just that I know how bad these are going to suck and I just can’t bring myself to start. I’d rather scrub my face with Read more [...]

Teachers and Schools Fail Students…Anybody Else?

He’s a four year old Watching Apocalypto Inappropriate Three years ago I visited one of my students at home shortly after she had had a baby. I stopped by on a Saturday afternoon with a box of clothes and toys that my daughter had outgrown. The front room of the apartment was narrow. There was barely enough space to pass between the couch on one wall and the TV opposite. The TV, on this beautiful spring day, was on. Shades drawn. I didn’t know before I got there, but my student shared this apartment Read more [...]

Fire Bad Teachers (But Who’s Bad?)

The great teacher gets Along with the horrid one The same token raise The front page story in Newsweek is a piece by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert. The thesis of their article is that people who are bad at their jobs ought to be fired. Okay, Evan and Pat…that sounds reasonable, but let’s slow down a bit. What sort of occupation are we talking about? Teachers? Okay. Shit…that’s an easy target. Have either of you ever been a teacher? No? Then, for starters, why do you feel particularly qualified Read more [...]

Do You Work Here?

If this was your job You’d have been gone long ago Wish I could fire you One of the great things about teaching, people who are not teachers often say, is that “You are the boss!” Yeah…I am the boss! I’m large and in charge! I am a trained and experienced professional who always gets the respect and best efforts of my students. I decide what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. I make a plan and the students execute it expertly and with vigor. If they get confused, they will ask Read more [...]

The Gates Foundation, Teacher Retention, and Supportive Leadership

“Improve your practice” You want to improve my what? I can’t stand that phrase Do I look like a doctor? Do you think you’re fooling me? I’m not sure when this started, but at some point being a teacher has become a “practice”. Now, what other professions come to mind when we hear the word “practice”? I’m thinking doctors and lawyers; the two most stereo-typically high pay, high prestige jobs on the planet. The good news for us is that we teachers now also have a practice. If not the high Read more [...]

Turn Off The Damn TV-Video-Game-Internet-iPod-Thingy

They will kill us both Mom says you’re up until two The video games This is about a student I taught last year. He would come infrequently. When he could be troubled to come to school, he would be very sleepy and not able to pay attention. Nice kid. Plenty smart. Actually he is really smart and I like him. But failing. I talked to his mom through a translator (not Spanish) and she told me about the video games. She knew it was bad news, but she couldn’t do anything about it. She told me she was Read more [...]