School should be a time of wonder and joy. Of discovery and the awakening to the possibilities that learning and, in particular reading, brings. Secret doors are opened in young minds and potential, if however small and simple at first, is given the time and encouragement to flower. But not in all cases.
Evil, or a horrible spirit of malevolence, lurks in the hearts and minds of a sorrowful few who stumble into this wonderful profession and they are like destructive hulks whose tentacles reach far into the future. Such a teacher has come to my attention recently and it appears little is being done to rectify this destructive force in an elementary school classroom.
Where is school administration in this equation? It appears to be impotent with a “let’s not make waves” attitude that is unforgivable given the damage being done by this individual. Careers in teaching aren’t always chosen for the joy of releasing wonder in children.
Sometimes people fall into them and the vision of many holidays and summers off are as opium to them. Forget the kids. These individuals could care less and their sole intent seems to be to get through the day by giving free reign to their most destructive instincts. One of those instincts is to destroy young minds and poison them to what school can provide.
How can I possibly say this? Don’t I revere teachers and see it as an honorable profession? I do see teachers as among the most valuable resources we have and I honor them any time I can. But there are those who should not be in classrooms and they should be speedily redirected to other jobs outside the school system.
Think of the recent incident in a Southern state where a young, probably extremely inexperienced and unqualified teacher, dug his nails into the hand of a young student. He inflicted pain and physical damage and only now has he been removed and not permitted to return to that school system. But what about his return to other school systems? Do bad records follow really bad teachers? They don’t always follow really bad physicians or therapists.
To many people are intimidated to stand up and when a parent does, the system is ready to pounce and beat down the parent, rather than actively pursue other remedies for the benefit of the children. How many times have parents in your school, or have you yourself, bristled (with very good evidence) against people who don’t belong doing anything with kids much less “teaching” them? Isn’t it time to stand up as a group and weed these bad seeds out?
A child, who had formerly thrived and loved school, is now resenting having to go. School is becoming a virtual mental torture chamber he has to go to each day. What did he do? He did nothing but the substitute teacher appears to delight in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude that may stay with this child for years to come. When his mother attempts to work with the school and the teacher to improve the situation, she is virtually shut down and it is taken out on the child once again. Oh, it couldn’t be that he’s a bad teacher. She misunderstands his intent. No, she doesn’t. She sees full well what he’s doing. Is she given no credit for her ability to see this? Appears not.
His intent can easily be seen as he slowly brings the child’s achievement curve ever further down with each passing day. Former teachers of the child are shocked because this student was always excellent, eager to learn and did extremely well. Now the effort to even make a barely passing grade is becoming like trying to climb Mt. Everest with a three wheeler.
Tearchers’ unions are fine and I have no argument with them except when they protect, coddle and help retain vipers among their ranks. Everyone who loves teaching (and I do and I’ve done it for over 20 years) has a responsibility here. This is a garden that requires constant weeding and it appears the “gardeners” are unwilling to do the work. Well, then, get rid of the gardeners and replace them, too. There is no excuse for it and our country and the lives of these children depend on swift action.
So, what will you do and how will you respond when you see this? Concerted action by parents and community groups is one way and I hope you’re willing to do the work. This battle must be won and it can’t wait. Children are being damaged and that’s just not something any of us can abide.