Middle School Teacher
Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go
into that room with all those kids, and fill their
every waking moment with a love for learning. Not only
that, I am to instill a sense of pride in their
ethnicity, behaviorally modify disruptive behavior,
and observe them for signs of abuse,
drugs, and T-shirt messages.
I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually
transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for guns
and raise their self-esteem. I am to teach them
patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair
play, how and where to register to vote, how to
balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.
But, I am never to ask if they are in this country
illegally. I am to check their heads occasionally for
lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of
potential antisocial behavior, offer advice, write
letters of recommendation for student employment and
scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural
diversity of others. And, oh yes, teach, always
making sure that I give the girls in my class
fifty percent of my attention.
I am required by my contract to be working, on my own
time, summer and evenings and at my own expense
towards additional certification, advanced
certification and a master's degree. I am to sponsor
the cheerleaders or the sophomore class, and after
school, I am to attend committee and faculty meetings
and participate in staff development training to
maintain my current certification and employment
status. I am to collect data and maintain
all records to support and document our building's
progress in the selected state mandated program to
"assess and upgrade educational excellence in the
I am to be a paragon of virtue larger than life, such
that my very presence will awe my students into being
obedient and respectful of authority. I am to pledge
allegiance to supporting family values, a return to
the basics, and my current administration. I am to
incorporate technology into the learning, but monitor
all web sites for appropriateness while providing a
personal one-on-one relationship with each student.
I am to decide who might be potentially dangerous
and/or liable to commit crimes in school or who is
possibly being abused, and I can be sent to jail
for not mentioning these suspicions to those in
authority. I am to make sure ALL students pass the
state and federally mandated testing and all classes
whether or not they attend school on a regular basis
or complete any of the work assigned.
I am to communicate frequently with each student's
parent by letter, phone, newsletter, and grade card.
I am to do all of this with just a piece of chalk, a
computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45 minute
or less plan time, and a big smile on a starting
salary that qualifies my family for food stamps in
many states. Is that all?
You want me to do all of this, and YOU EXPECT ME TO DO
IT WITHOUT PRAYING?
[ Anonymous school teacher. ]
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