Those poor, misunderstood teachers,
Counting down days till retirement.
Like grunts in The Nam,
Waiting for a reprieve like it was a
Papal dispensation or a Presidential pardon, or
Last minute stay of execution from the Governor.
Teachers: dying a slow death
On the same lame stage day after day,
Performing amateur comedy,
Hosting their very own Karaoke Club;
Filling barely enough seats in the joint
To crack their daily job satisfaction nut.
The kids who do show up for class are too bored,
Or too apathetic to stay awake,
Heckle you or walk out.
Most teachers hate their jobs.
So many teachers, so many miserable mooks
Wishing they had some other job, any other job,
Like plumber or astronaut,
Mortgage broker or CIA assassin,
The last two with similar personality & career profiles
On The Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI® Step I Interpretive Report. Anything’s got to be better than being
Trapped in a 40 by 40 foot box all day,
Stuck in some Dungeons & Dragons classroom
All day with 40 chaotic, evil, teenage
Gary Gygax-ed kids, used to entertainment
Of higher quality and sparkle.
The cardinal sin of teaching: Thou shalt not be boring!
Teachers complain constantly about how bad the money is,
Having to work almost 185 days a year,
Whining about only getting 8 weeks off in the summer &
Every freaking holiday on earth known to man.
Snap out of it: you get paid what may be one of
The last livable, middle class salaries in America,
Not to mention health and defined retirement benefits, &
You’re still kvetching.
Meanwhile, Good Teachers—
Those deliriously happy few,
That small rare band of subversives,
Maybe you can count them on one hand &
Still feel lucky you had that many—
I’m talking about the good teachers,
Who view teaching as an art form,
Atypical teachers with both brains and heart.
These are the teachers that make the difference.
These are the vital early role models we need
To encounter when we first leave home as toddlers.
I can still hear you, Mr. Feeny:
“I want you to go home this afternoon and open a book! I don’t care what you had otherwise planned, I order you, nay, I command you. Go home and open a book.”
Books are sine qua non.
Good teachers start out by reading a lot of books—
That’s the brain stuff.
It is life lessons of the heart, however,
That really counts,
Stuff they’ve learned the hard way,
The pain they’ve felt personally,
Particularly while young themselves.
That’s where the heart comes from.
And for **** sure they never read about it
In whatever passes for textbooks in
Most graduate schools of education,
Largely lame crap masquerading as academic rigor
In the diploma mills serving the education profession these days.
I taught in 15 high schools across the American southwest &
I’ve known some really breathtakingly dumb,
Essentially illiterate teachers.
Even at the highest institutions of higher learning,
The average educator of teachers is
Rarely known for intellectualism.
With the possible exception of Diane Ravitch,
Jonathan Kozol, Paulo “The Brazilian” Freire--&
Maybe that Marxist hold-out, Eric “Rico” Gutstein--
Instructional staff at most university
Graduate Schools of Education are not
Taken seriously by the rest of the academic faculty.
What was your source of heart, Mr.Kotter?
I can assure you, it was not something you
Picked up at a teacher in-service, Gabe, &
Welcome back, by the way.
If you remember one thing about
Teacher licensing, remember this:
Albert Einstein, at the height of his fame &
Intellectual prowess, could not walk in
Off the street from out-of-state, or
Anywhere else in the universe, &
Qualify for a secondary single subject
Preliminary license to teach physics.
Not in any public high school classroom in
California or in the state of New Mexico.
He simply lacked the requisite education,
Hadn’t taken the plenitude of pedagogic courses,
Expensive college credits in such vital subjects as:
Methods of Teaching Science for Dummies;
Educational Technology for Idiots;
Band Aids & First Aid;
Tae Kwan Do for the Inner City;
Teaching & Testing the Test Takers;
Touchy-Feely 101, 201 & 301;
Understanding Special Kids:
Gifted Kids, Not-so Gifted Kids,
Kids with Attitude & Kids with ADD;
Self-Esteem for the Worthless; &
Last but not least, Foundations of Education:
Sarcasm & Humiliation for Fun & Profit.
And I didn’t even mention taking & passing
That sublimely subtle CBEST or NMTA/NES,
Teacher licensure tests,
Essentially 8th Grade literacy exams
Quite a few applicants take 3 or 4 times
Before earning a passing score.
Blame the parents?
Blame the politicians?