Sunday, November 20, 2005

Kids are losers, and don't forget it!

I am constantly amazed by people. Perhaps I shouldn't be... perhaps I should understand people better by now. But the people who amaze me the most are the people I work with. Teachers.

It's supposed to be this honored profession full of devoted mentors who willingly give up a life of comforts that are afforded to other people in other careers in order to shape the lives of young people. And for the most part, I think it probably is. I'd like to think I'm one of those people who is in it for the right reasons.

But what astounds me are the people who teach for a living, but just hate the kids. There are a lot of them. They are so nasty and unforgiving, and just plain mean. What makes it all the more confounding, is that so many of these people I know really think that they are doing the kids a favor by being so awful. They think they are teaching the kids about the real world, and impressing upon them the idea that eventually they won't be coddled.

I was in the team room of another grade last week, using the copier, and I was forced into the most awkward conversation I think I've ever had with a teacher. As I was copying one of my favorite assignments, and feeling so excited about giving it to them, one of the other teachers marched into the room with a sour look on her face and uttered a most despicable sentiment, "Were these kids as big of losers last year as they are this year?" There were kids in the hall not ten feet from her, and there was no way they didn't hear her. But she was unfazed. She continued, "They're all like that big jerk in the hall." Again, right where the "big jerk" could hear her badmouthing him.

And it's not the first time I've seen such negativity from her. A few weeks ago she posted a letter of complaint, complete with her response, in that team room and wrote next to it, "Asshole parent of the week!" Our parent/teacher organization uses that room sometimes. I was shocked to say the least.

We have an entire team, the grade lower than mine, who are also like that. They have the "gotcha" mentality when it comes to discipline. They like to catch the kids doing wrong things and then really let them have it. They completely hated the group they had last year so much that they refused to let them have a field day at the end of the year (a tradition in our school). Anytime I have to visit them on their team time, all I hear is bitching and complaining about how awful the kids are.

Call me a Pollyanna, but I just don't get it. I love my subject matter, and getting to spend everyday thinking about it and sharing it is great, but by far the best part of the job is the kids. I can't even begin to describe how much I love getting to know all of these kids every year. They are all so different and interesting... just really beginning to figure out who they are. It's exciting to be part of that with them.

I can't help but wonder, if they don't like the kids, then why in the hell are they teaching? Can they really believe that every kid they teach is worthless, not worthy of their time and effort? How can they devote so much time to negativity? I would think it would be depleting to spend so much time feeling such vehemence.

I wish I could do something to show them what they are missing out on by not getting to know these wonderful, young people. But I don't think they'd pay attention.

I don't have any answers about this, I wish I did. It just makes me so uncomfortable to see the kids treated so badly. And I think it makes our profession a little less noble.

Sunday, October 30, 2005



It's been a while. I've been learning the importance of saying "no" over the last few months. "No" is a powerfully important word, one that shows control, that helps a person be in charge of her own life. Unfortunately, this is a lesson learned the hard way. By saying "yes" to too many people and finding myself desperately short of time.

I'm starting to figure out my new schedule and how to fit everything into a day. But damn. I have got to start saying "no" to people.

It's a bit early for resolutions, but that's mine.