A note from a classroom teacher

This is circulating on the Internet.  A friend of mine was e-mailed a copy by his daughter who teaches school in California.

Dear Jerry,

I just wrote a letter to our new Governor, a Republican for whom I voted, by the way.

I explained to him that if I am to treat my classroom like a business and be rewarded or punished for my students’ performance, a few things would need to change.

I would want to interview each student (candidate), and choose the ones with whom I could work most effectively.

I would want to be able to fire them for lateness or excessive absence, lack of proper equipment, failure to complete work assignments, poor performance, insolence or disrespect toward me or anybody else, and of course sleeping on the job.

Or, don’t treat my classroom as a business.

These students are, after all, children.  As God is not finished with them and neither are we, most of us give them a fresh start every day, hoping to eventually bring out the very best in each child.

I’ve been teaching since 1972, and it took me a few years to realize that those misbehaviors were not necessarily directed at me, but were the result of multitudes of factors way beyond my control.

I would encourage those who are currently maligning teachers to spend a day or so unassisted in front of a classroom.


[P.S. 3/10/11]

Click on Learning from the Luminouspage for the web log of a high school art teacher.

Click on Building Better Kids for a essay about early childhood intervention by Kevin Drum on his Mother Jones web log.

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One Response to “A note from a classroom teacher”

  1. Jane Hickok Says:

    I think this is fair. I think blaming teachers (assuming the teacher is performing adequately) for the failure of students to learn (assuming they do not have a significant learning disability) is putting the responsibility on the wrong individual. I am not talking about children in the early grades here, but about middle and high school age students, especially those approaching adulthood. The old adage that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” applies here. Ultimately each of us is responsible for our own actions and the sooner kids learn this the better.


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