Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011 - Stalker; New Students; In Defense of Teachers; My Numbing Mind

It’s now been a few days since I’ve updated this blog. Ever since my entry the other day, things have been different. I’m trying to be more wary of what I say these days, and besides I’m still feeling a little numb in my mind, so to speak. Regardless, here are some things to keep you updated:

The Stalker

It’s been four days since the last incident with Fuzzy. It would appear that my text to him was enough to make him stop bothering me, though of I have been making an effort to start coming home at different times in the days since just in case. Hopefully, it’s over with!

New Students

Once again it’s been a busy week at school. On two consecutive days I got two new students in my classroom, a 7th grade girl and an 8th grade boy, both from El Salvador and both not knowing a word of English. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten brand new students such as these in my class and I’d almost forgotten how it can be. Once again I was reminded of how difficult it must be for these kids to even come to school without knowing the language.

Although I did everything I could to make their first days at school as easy as possible, they did not go without incident, especially for the boy. The poor 14 year old got lost in between periods and was found by one of my other students crying in the hallway. As all of my students would do, she took matters into her own hands and helped him to get where he needed to go and made me proud. He was so traumatized by that incident and his whole first day that he didn’t even come back on his second day. He has returned since, thankfully. Their first week is now almost behind them and hopefully by Monday, they’ll both be feeling a little more comfortable.

In Defense of Teachers

I have a huge pet peeve when it comes to my profession and unfortunately it’s been thrown in my face a lot lately. It’s an issue I discussed in my interview with Han because it’s been all over the news. I’m talking about the state and teacher union situations in Wisconsin and Ohio. For the past year or so I’ve stopped following the news in general, mostly out of a newly experienced pessimism over it all, but I have seen bits and pieces of these events that have once again put my profession under scrutiny.

Earlier today, I had a pretty heated discussion with a coworker on the issue. You see, lately there has been a lot of local news about school districts laying off teachers because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking school aid away from districts. He is trying to balance the omnipresent deficit in the State budget by doing so and he’s justifying it by telling districts to dip into their reserves to cover the costs in order to help the state get back on track. In response, districts have instead been handing out these advance pink slip letters to teachers, telling them that they may not have a job come next September. To me, it’s all stupid politics!

All of this news has brought up the never-ending bashing of teachers once again. I’m hearing it on television, on the radio, and from people I know personally.

“They make too much money.”

“Their jobs are easy.”

“They have no right to have protection (tenure) from being fired for doing a bad job.”

I agree that may be true for some, but this is not the issue I have. Of course there are bad apples within the teacher community and yes, a lot of them make more money than they’re worth. I regard these colleagues with the same disdain as the bashers, but my problem is how personal and strong these issues are with the general public.

Why do people feel the need to have a say over teachers’ jobs at all? A teacher makes over $100 grand a year and that’s a travesty? Maybe so, when the teacher in question really shouldn’t be a teacher, but why is that anyone’s business but the teachers’ and the school districts?

Are there any other professions where we scrutinize the quality of work and the salaries made in them? When was the last time you heard someone complain that Lady GaGa has already made millions from her latest song? How about the actor who just made millions for one movie, and a bad one at that? The minimum salary for a rookie baseball player is a cool million these days. Why is the same vitriol that’s directed at teachers not directed at them? My theory is that the average person feels entitled to bash teachers because their salaries come out of the public fund.

A teacher is a public employee. The monies used to pay them comes out of the tax money that’s collected by the states, the counties and the towns in which they work. We’re all obligated to pay taxes, so I guess we have a right to bitch about it as well. I’m sorry, but the money that baseball player makes comes out of the $100 tickets we buy to watch a game. And the actor collects his millions through the insane ticket prices at Loews. You get the picture, right? Are their jobs any more important than a teachers’?

A teacher’s job is an honorable one. We are tasked with educating today’s youth in order to prepare them for the future of our country. Why is that taken so lightly? A teacher’s educational requirements are surely comparable to that of a doctor or a lawyer. They must even take continuing education classes for the duration of their careers.

Every profession has its pros and cons, and I say that if you think being a teacher is so rosy and easy, then become one! There’s nothing stopping you. Boy, do I feel an article coming on! Stay tuned…

My Numbing Mind

As I said earlier, I’ve been feeling quite numb in the mind lately. Mood swings hit me at all times of the day, often out of nowhere. Presently my problems seem overwhelming. The residual effects from the breakup, the summer coming up and financial worries about it, my house, my move, my family and now my job, a future job, writing…ugh, so many things!

Anyway, with each new day there is fresh hope, and tomorrow is Friday, the beginning of another weekend. I think it’s almost time to dance!
Thanks for reading!

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