Teacher: Year Going “Pretty Shitty”


Omaha, NE–

Tim Laudner, 26, is a second year history teacher at Norris Middle School in Omaha, NE. Mr. Laudner is not having a good year.

He hasn’t lost all hope, but neither is he optimistic. I made an appointment to meet with Mr. Laudner before school to talk with him about his experiences as a second year teacher.

We got right to it.

Teachbad Education News (TEN): Thanks for agreeing to meet with me this morning. You told me over the phone that your first year was pretty rough. How is your second year going? How does it compare?

Mr. Laudner: You’re welcome. Yeah, this is my second year. Legally, I believe a teacher’s first year is required to suck. I knew that going in. We all knew it. It sucked and that was fine. It sucked a lot. So, after digesting that whole shitty ten-month cluster fuck over the summer, I thought that by this point in the second year it might be better. But it’s still pretty shitty. And that’s been a big disappointment.

TEN: Of all the shitty things this year, what would you say has been most shitty so far?

Mr. Laudner seemed hard-pressed to choose. He paused and folded his hands. He looked down; appearing deep in thought. He appeared to be asleep. Then suddenly he stood up and began to dart quickly around the room.

He paced and examined details of the room as if it was his first time being there. He seemed also to be running through a list of sorts in his head; counting events or circumstances on his fingers; muttering to himself. He kept looking back and forth between his right elbow and a stain on the west wall of his classroom; possibly estimating the change in the angle formed between a line created by these two points and a line created using another fixed point in the room as he moved about. I couldn’t really tell why he was doing that.

After four minutes, I threw coffee on him. He calmed down a little and began to speak, sort of.

Mr. Laudner: Standards frod stan(?)…check, check, check…ha ha fuckers!!!…do you like the way I check my boxes?!?!?!…we don’t need no stinking boxes!!…why do we do this why do we do this why do we do this?…meeting waste fuckstick warm up and into the differentiated assessment tool..change everything!!!…tool…change it now for kids…who are we? lazy assholes! lazy assholes!…parent log…cigarettes and beer…lazy hate you groblant…groblant…GROBLANT!!!(?)…no lunch again…this is a required meeting…I need lunch…time, time, time…Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!…I know I should I know I should I know I should I am bad…bad…bad…data…bad data bad data bad data….

That’s not all he said, but it’s a pretty good summary. He went on like that for a while. Much of it was unintelligible. After about four minutes it was time for another splash of hot coffee in the face.

(This was the first time I had to throw hot coffee on someone twice in the same interview since Bill Clinton realized that Monica never washed the dress.)

As Mr. Laudner wiped the coffee off his face, he seemed to realize that he had had some sort of episode. He apologized. He asked what had happened and what he said, who I was, and where we were. I explained as his students slowly began arriving for first period.

I asked if I could meet him for an interview after school. Mr. Laudner agreed and suggested that we meet at the coffee shop on the corner. When I arrived at the coffee shop, Mr. Laudner called to me from a bar across the street. I walked over.

Cigarettes and beer. Things were starting to come together.

After some chit-chat, which curiously included nothing about this morning’s failed interview, Mr. Laudner began to speak, this time much more lucidly.

75 percent of my bosses, and I have a lot of bosses, are either retarded or so frightened or committed to a dogma as to appear retarded;

My students are already taking practice tests for AYP;

I have been required to submit nearly 15,000 data points about standards tracking bullshit to my retarded and/or brainwashed assistant principal. I know for a fact that he hasn’t looked at it and would have no way of knowing whether or not I was qualified to evaluate it and make decisions about instruction based on this awful, awful data;

Three days after I submitted the nearly 15,000 data points, the rubric was changed so that we had to include “focused area corrections” tracking data. This would necessitate rereading all of the diagnostic essay exams for nearly 200 students and submitting an additional 1500 data points;

I am beginning to understand that there has been a massive social capitulation which adversely impacts teachers. Society does not expect parents to raise their kids. And kids are not expected to work in school. But somehow, by some kind of dark magic, I am expected to correct for this by…what?…differentiation? Really?

I always want to smoke. Always.

I’ve started spending my planning period looking for jobs. My lunch duty includes 8 minutes of my planning period.

The poetry club, every member of which sucks at poetry, meets in my classroom right after school.

Organizationally speaking, my dignity and time are pretty strictly undervalued. I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.



  1. Liz
  2. I Teach in Philly
    • I Teach in Philly
    • TMeservey
      • I Teach in Philly
    • Caline
      • TMeservey
  3. Susan
  4. Vickie

Leave a Reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *