Those of you who know me or read my blog regularly know how strongly I feel about two issues that effect all of our lives and our communities: bullying and education. I have championed many causes over the years and fought battles in the name of making public education better and raising awareness about bullying in our schools. These battles have been difficult but I try to live up to the notion that change won’t happen unless you make it.
I wanted to write about ineffective teachers, here at the end of the school year, because they hurt us all – our children and families, other children, our schools as a whole, our communities, and the future as well. It is time to stop allowing ineffective teachers and administrators to continue working in the education system.
I will share with you a few personal incidents that really highlight what is going on in our schools…in great neighborhoods! One case: there is a teacher who singles out a student constantly, makes comments about the student under her breath, yells at the student for no reason and is generally mean to the student. The student makes good grades, follows directions and does not get into trouble. Yet this student, who suffers the injustices that the teacher throughout the year, is afraid to do anything because it will jeopardize her grade and make class time more difficult. Another student I know went through the same thing at another school and had to go to counseling because she would come home crying all the time.
There is another teacher who is just downright nasty to many students, making it very clear that she has favorites. If your student is one of the many she does not like, and your student gets put in her class (even if you had a run in with her in the past), you cannot move your student out of her class! This happened to my daughter, and the only way I was able to get her out was to downgrade her from an honors to a regular class. That is ridiculous.
There are teachers at the high school level who tell the students flat out that they don’t care, that they aren’t going to spend time teaching some lessons, and that they are protected from being fired because they have tenure! These teachers speak rudely often and the students can feel their lack of excitement for education on a daily basis…what do you think this says to our students? Yet we wonder why students in the USA are so far behind on many educational levels compared to other nations.
In defense of teachers, I must say that teaching is the most noble profession in my eyes, and always has been. Teachers should be paid more and should be placed on pedastals – other nations do this (like Japan). Teachers should be respected, BUT respect is not automatic, it is earned. The moment you lose the respect of the student body you have placed a noose around your neck.
Why do teachers stay with it if they do not care to influence students? Surely at some time they wanted to teach and be mentors, to help students get excited about teaching. I know there are unions and tenure to protect the rights of teachers, but I say let’s get rid of the ineffective teachers. Let the students and parents and communities decide who deserves to continue teaching. Let’s rate our teachers annually. Let’s let the student body know that it’s ok to file complaints, and that they don’t have to stay in classes if they are subject to verbal abuse or other unfair treatment.
I know this is a fine line, and I know there is room for abuse. But WE SIMPLY HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES TO OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM, and we need to get rid of teachers who bully or do not teach effectively.