Archive for the ‘General Screeds’ Category

Top 10 Reasons Teaching Sucks

Ladies and Gentlemen- I may have just distilled the entire teaching universe down to 10 talking points. See what you think. Let me know. TOP TEN REASONS YOU MAY NOT WANT TO BE A TEACHER 10) Become object of widespread public scorn; 9) Dignity offered as sacrifice to unholy lovechild of Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee; 8) Lazy, whiny, stupid, absent and/or unprepared students (which studies have shown to be the fault of teachers); 7) Need to use the bathroom? Great!! Your planning period Read more [...]

Michelle Rhee, Superstar

Wow, Michelle Rhee. I’d like to hitch my wagon to yours. I mean, we both know there is no evidence that you know much about much. Including teaching. It seems you were a mediocre or maybe even a pretty good teacher for…what was it…two years? “Two and through”, am I right? Anyway, destiny was calling. You are pushy, stubborn, self-righteous and ambitious. Those qualities can get one far almost anywhere. Very far. But I see little more than this in you. I don’t believe you care any more Read more [...]

Time for a Hug

OK…we’re almost halfway through October and feeling like we want to blow our brains out. Right? I know. The routines and rituals have either robbed everyone of their dignity in the name of order, or not been implemented in the name of making you shout like a fool to get the class to sit down. Either way, your dignity is gone. And Columbus Day…what a goddamn joke. It was only two days ago and already you feel cheated. The only thing that seems farther away than Columbus Day is Thanksgiving. Read more [...]

Respect Individuality (No, Silly, Not Yours)

What would happen if you told Dracula that you really needed him to stumble around a shopping mall all day long and eat human brains? He’d tell you to stick it up your ass, that’s what. I sleep all day, yo. I get up a little after dusk. Shower. Read the paper. I clean up my apartment a bit. Then I go out. I bite necks and drink blood. That’s what I do and I’m awesome at it. I’m not into that sloppy-ass zombie shit. Plus, I work alone. Hey…what’s dumber than a bunch of zombies staggering down Read more [...]

Teachers: Should We Stand Up?

“Best beginning of a book ever” That’s what I wrote in the left-hand margin over 20 years ago when I first read these words: The human spirit glows from that small inner light of doubt whether we are right, while those who believe with complete certainty that they possess the right are dark inside and darken the world outside with cruelty, pain, and injustice. It’s from the second page of Saul Alinsky’s classic, hard-core progressive activism guide-book, Rules For Radicals (1971). Before Read more [...]

Dear May: I Know Your Tricks

It’s finally the end of April. Happy Friday and good riddance to another month. Now comes May. Pretty cool, right? Almost done. But listen, Month of May…get outta my face. You suck. You think you are so great: Hey, Teachers…look at me. I’m MAY!! I’m not like Dickhead March who’s cold, but can never seem to muster up a snow day. And I’m way better than Moody April who will be sunny during the week and then piss cold rain on you all weekend. No, that’s not me. I’m different. I’m what you Read more [...]

Pure Rant

Holy Crap… Does it get worse every year, or have I changed? I teach seniors. I teach nine week classes on a block schedule. Every nine weeks, I get a new load of 16-25 year olds that I see for 85 minutes every day. (Serious…I had a 25-year-old this year.) It’s only nine weeks, but that’s still a lot of time to hang with lazy-ass chatty and the crew. The third batch, from the third quarter, is wrapping up tomorrow. They have to pass my class in order to graduate. Many haven’t given a shit Read more [...]

Do I Have to be a “Great” Teacher?

Be forwarned: This post is all over the place. But, for what it’s worth, it accurately reflects my mental state. And that’s all I can do. God help us. Question: What do you call the guy who finished medical school at the bottom of his class? Answer: Doctor What is it with all of us teachers suddenly having to be “great”? Where I come from, I was taught not to show off. The ultimate goal for we Midwesterners was always understood to be “quiet adequacy.” What if I am content to be “pretty Read more [...]

Jesus Loves You, But Everyone Else Thinks You’re An Asshole

That’s sort of how I feel. After all day with administrators wanting their data standards assessment profile action plans and students asking dumb-ass questions about work they are not going to do, you’d think we’d get some love on the outside. But no. I’m not sure where to start. For at least a few years now the drumbeat of “we have to get rid of bad teachers” has been getting louder. (Nevermind the complexities of defining what a good or a bad teacher is.) In recent days the drumbeat has become Read more [...]

Fads and Fetishes; Choices and Committments

“These people drop every ball they pick up.” –A Beloved Former Colleague, speaking about our administration How many ideas do you think there are for improving the academic achievement of low-income, minority students? Nevermind…It’s too many. Let’s make it smaller. How many ideas do you think there are for doing vocabulary work before a difficult reading? (Then multiply these ideas by a differentiation factor.) How many ideas are there about the best student data to track and how to track Read more [...]