Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Post 2791 - Teachers


I have received some feedback about Monday's post, part of which in which(?) I mentioned a former teacher of mine, who later did time for child abuse.

Turns out that he also had an affair with the home economics teacher.



I hate hypocrisy. Hate it. Hate. It. I have one of those memories, as you know, in which I can recall many events from very early in my life. I can never forget things many of my teachers, some of whom were class A-1 a-holes.

I know some teachers. They work really hard. But there is a small minority of them who are just there to collect a pay cheque. They are hateful and ignorant people who do whatever they can to stifle a child's growth rather than to encourage it. Unfortunately, those are the teachers we remember more than the good ones, who did the exact opposite.

Around these parts, all it takes is another professional development day, when there are no classes, for people to have to scramble and find a way to have their kids taken care of for that day. I work with several folks who have to do that. They end up taking a vacation day. Occasionally, they may be allowed to work from home for that day. But the inconvenience they have to endure because of these G.D. P.D. days is something they do not forget. I have often wondered what happens in families where the employer is not nearly as generous with allowing staff to make alternative arrangements.

Back when I was in junior high school, attending Kings County Academy, Grades 7-9, between September of 1976 and June of 1979, I encountered several teachers who... well, they didn't encourage kids to beat me up, but did nothing to stop it, either.

The gym teacher hated me so much he would yell and scream at me for little or no reason. Then, one day, he asked me why I never tried out for any teams. The previous gym teacher in that fine, fine educational establishment, actually broke a student's arm.

One teacher was such a prick, such an odious and loathsome excuse for a human being, that when he came by to give students some heads up information about the exams they were writing that he would be marking, actually stated he would throw their exams "in the garbage" if they did not conform to some arbitrary standard he set in place.

Or our Grade 8 English teacher, who took us to great task because we put our books on our assigned desks during recess, rather than carry them with us to her class that was right after recess, 10 minutes later. You would think we had been experimenting on house cats or something.

Or the ... Geography(?) teacher who threatened a student with violence if he didn't stop what he was doing.

Or the teacher who insisted that every piece of looseleaf have reinforcements on them.

Or the teacher who yelled at me because I walked up a flight of stairs on the left hand side rather than the right. She also took me to task because I referred to another teacher by his last name rather than use the honorific of "Mister", first.

Or the teacher who would strap a student, who was 14 years old max, until said student wept. How I hated that man.

Or the teacher who kept students after school, just because he could, meaning that many students had no way to get home, so they had to walk, some of them for quite a few miles.

I could go on. Something tells me I should go on. But I don't want to overlook the good teachers, one of whom rescued me from a good beating one afternoon. I don't know where History and Math teacher Fred Atkinson is these days, or if he has passed, but he was one of the good ones, a caring man who genuinely cared about his students, one of whom was your humble blogger. When I left that school, he was one of the very few things I regretted leaving behind. Another man was Mister Maddock, and I did see him right around the time my father died, because his mother-in-law or something was in the same facility. He remembered me, all those years later. I wonder if either gentleman is on Facebook.

I guess my point is that, while most teachers are fine human beings who are there for the right reasons, there are more than a few who are there for the wrong reasons. It sucks, but the shitty teachers are the ones whom we remember more. And that negativity toward teachers stays with you, until you grow up and have kids of your own.  Then you have to endure times when your own kids are being bullied or have to make arrangements to deal with another professional development day, whose purpose has always seemed murky, even mysterious, to non-teachers.

The teaching profession is noble, but it needs a serious PR fix.

Tell me about some of your crappy teachers. And tell me about some of the really good ones, too.

See you tomorrow.


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