Tag Archives: teachers

Don’t Arm Teachers – It’s Not Their Job to Take Down Your Crocodile

Crocodile

Here we are again. Where we shouldn’t be. We will soon approach the point when everyone is tired of arguing. So it will die down…until the next massacre.

I told myself – again – that I would not get sucked into another debate on social media. No one ever seems to “win.” But guess who suffers the casualty of “losing”?

Past and future victims. And that’s why I’ve become Momma Bear. I see myself as those parents who are dying with grief. It CAN happen to me – to my children.

They can’t buy beer, but they can buy an AR-15.

One of my FB friends asked the question that I desperately want a valid answer for – why does ANYONE need an AR-15?

We never got an answer to justify the deaths of children. And it took a looong time to pull out answers. They kept giving garbage about how I would want someone trained with those weapons in the event of an emergency, not some one who barely uses them. I’ve never done any speed shooting, so I don’t “get it.”

Very high and mighty.

At one point, out of frustration, I finally asked, “I don’t know you from Adam. I couldn’t care less how trained you are. I care that our MILITARY is well trained. What do you honestly need training against? Do you think the cast of the Walking Dead are going to break off set to destroy your precious paper targets?”

That was probably too far and earned me the labels of obtuse and silly. But I’d rather be silly and know the value of human life than high and mighty while children are dying.

He tried to quote Reagan to me: “We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Oh yeah. Real succinct.

So I quoted back and told him to go get eaten by his crocodile. He never posed a solution and admitted that he didn’t have one.

Nevertheless, his crocodile is on the loose and is capable of 45 rounds per minute.

So after my Walking Dead jab, Mr. Don’t Take Away My Toys impressed how important it was for him to defend his property. I never said he couldn’t, just that an AR-15 is not necessary. He said, “You obviously haven’t the slightest clue what stresses the mind goes through in a violent confrontation and the additional stress endured deciding to draw and fire at another human being, especially one that may or may not already be shooting at you.” 

And now we want to arm TEACHERS? I tried to teach high school in Florida. Twice. Like so many others, I burned out because of the stress.

How in the world is that gonna end well?

The way to deal with this crocodile is to take responsibility for it. NRA money is worthless compared to the lives of our children. So let’s stop living in this dystopia. Our children are begging you.

The AR-15 is being called a scapegoat by people like Mr. Don’t Take Away My Toys. I’ve heard it over and over. They can call it a scapegoat. It doesn’t change that fact that there is no other purpose for it than to take LOTS of human lives. That’s what it was designed to do. Using it to defend your home is like using a sledgehammer to put a nail in a wall to hang a picture. Yes, they probably thought that analogy was silly too.

Despite, what they think, I “get it.” I get protecting your home. I get hunting for food and even (though I don’t particularly like it) sport. What I don’t get is why it’s worth losing the lives of children for them to do it with an AR-15.

GROW UP!

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Shame on Me for Interrupting Their Conversations

Gif attributed to Obsidian Soul via Wikimedia Commons

I want to teach. But I simply do not have the emotional stamina. I can think of several careers where it’s common to find yourself crying in your car, but teaching shouldn’t have to be one of them.

I don’t like to cry in my car, but at least I’m not the only one who does it.

President Obama recently spoke against the extra tests we give our students. But I believe that this is only part of the problem with public education – especially here in Florida where the need for remedial college classes has risen for high school graduates who’ve “earned” As and Bs.

The first time I taught, nine years ago, my colleagues kept warning me, “Stop grading everything. You’ll burn out.”

Stop grading?

How are they going to know if they got the answer right or wrong if I don’t tell them? Isn’t that what education should be – learning how to get the right answer? How will they know if it’s right or not if I don’t tell them? I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature so that I could teach – not babysit.

After four months of grading approximately 140 students for accuracy, guess what happened? Yep. I burned out.

I was heartbroken. I love to be in the classroom. Around the time I resigned, my 11th graders had just finished reading The Crucible and watching The Village. I assigned them to write a compare/contrast essay which I never got to read.

Cue a good cry in the car.

At the time, I didn’t know that I should not have been eating gluten, but I knew something was wrong with my body, so my official reason on the resignation was “medical issues.”

Once I identified gluten as the culprit for my bad health, I thought that I’d like to give teaching another try. So I did.

Last month, I accepted a long-term substitute position for an 11th grade English teacher who was on a military assignment. I was excited. The textbook was better, I had a projector which plugged in to my computer, and this time, 3 of the 5 classes would be full of honors students. A breeze, right?

I feel like I spent last month herding cats.

Even the honors students are so spoiled from “completion grading,” half of them didn’t bother to try. They realized I graded for accuracy, but didn’t seem to care. Sure, I had several star students (whom I very much appreciated), but these were HONORS classes. They were ALL supposed to be stars.

Do you know what happens when students don’t care if they have the right answer? They socialize during the lesson. At first, I thought, “Eh, they’re keeping it low. The ones who want to take notes can hear me. They have 4 days to complete the handout – they’ll figure it out.”

Apparently, I’d stumbled into some unicorn dust. It must have given me a false sense of reality. At least it was gluten-free.

Case in point, here is an example of how the students needed to fix an unclear pronoun reference:

“The wind grew stronger and the rain began. This made the campers look for shelter.”

The word “this” does not have a clear antecedent, so the sentence needs to be changed. An example of how to fix it would be, “When the wind grew stronger and the rain began, the campers looked for shelter.”

Instead, I got answers like this:

“The wind and rain make camper look for schedule.”

Seriously. Can you believe that answer came from two honors students? Why should they bother even to copy a correct answer when most teachers don’t have time to read it anyway?

And to be honest, I literally gave up my life for the month to grade for accuracy. I didn’t have time to wash dishes, make meals, or help my own kids with their homework. I barely had time to keep up with laundry.

So yes, again I found myself crying in my car.

But it wasn’t just the piles of half-hearted answers I graded, my burned out feeling came from the attitude. With the two standard English classes, if I asked them to stop the chatter because I was teaching a lesson, I usually got a sheepish smile and a “Sorry, Miss” in response. In the three honors classes, I received all the snark of an 80’s Valley Girl.

Where are the parents?

How dare I ask them to stop socializing so they can learn to analyze an educated argument? And yet, when I asked them if they planned to attend college? Most raised their hands. I doubt any college professor (or workplace boss for that matter) would accept “schedule” for “shelter” as good enough.

I don’t blame teachers who don’t grade for accuracy. It’s an impossible task to grade over 100 papers several times a week on top of all the other teacher duties. Toss in the interruption of standardized tests and retakes, and you’d cry in your car too. If I’d had an 80 student limit, I’d have been stressed, but not crying in my car. I wouldn’t have had to become passive-aggressive about constantly talking over conversations. I wouldn’t have to spend half my teaching time on classroom management.

But there aren’t enough teachers for an 80 student limit because it doesn’t pay enough for most people to justify crying in the car.

Hillsborough County once had a 1 cent sales tax to pay for a new football stadium. But I suppose education isn’t as important as football. You get what you pay for. I refuse to be miserable for so little pay.

It isn’t fair to my family.

I’d Love to Hear from You!

Are you a burned out teacher? How would you fix the system? Do you have a job where you are regularly compelled to cry in your car?

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