Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Open Letter to the Gods of Education

Dear Gods of Education,
Why do you taunt and hate me so?
Over the last few months you've been taunting me and toying with me as if you enjoy watching me suffer.
Let's look at the facts:
1. First there was the class in June that was required and almost made me miss the birth of my son. That class offered up nothing new.
2. There is my new schedule for the upcoming school year. 53 students in one class? Is this a joke? I don't mind that I'm teaching three different classes (English 9, English 9 IB, and English 12), but 53 in one class is going to be really difficult. I can't imagine trying to grade those papers. Even's the first class of the day. 7:30 in the morning? You really don't like me.
However, the third fact is almost pure proof.
3. My summer was cut short (sure it's only a few days, but it's short) by this next class I was told, "You must take, if you want to keep your job!"
With that little nugget in mind, I changed my trip to Missouri to a week earlier. I was forced to tell my wife that she would have to go to down there without me if she wanted to attend her cousin's baby shower.
Oh, but you Gods had a fantastic sense of humor. You decided it would be hysterical to totally screw with me.
The class is not for me. Out of 30 people...I am the only English teacher. The ONLY one. I sit alone at my table as the groups are split up by subject. The Math teachers who sit near me stare at me in disbelief. The "Tech" teachers keep asking me if I'm lonely.
But gets better. You put us in the library of the building which does not have air conditioning and faces the sun. You made the class 90% lecture, which means we just sit and stare.
You made me the person who the teacher goes to for answers. "What was the name of the guy Romeo kills again?" I'm asked.
"Tybalt is the cousin. Paris the guy in love with Juliet."
But you waited until the end of the class today to drop the ultimate humiliation.
"Leeeeaab," the teacher says in a sympathetic voice. "We need to talk."
Now I'm not dating this woman, but the tone of her voice tells me that I'm either getting dumped or getting bad news.
I could see you, Gods, sitting in the room, eating your popcorn, and waiting on the words.
" can't be mad at us," she starts. "I know we told you that you HAD to take this class."
I could see you snickering. You started this game when you made my co-ordinator wait until the last minute to tell me about these classes. She even got the information wrong. Was that your doing?
"Umm....Most English teachers don't take this class. They're required to take Struggling Readers I. That's the class you have to have in order to work."
At this point, I hear your full-blown laughter. You obviously find it amusing that I now must suffer through this class for the next two days with material I learned three years ago, and that all I get for taking it is...some credit.
"The next class is in October. It's after school for two hours for three weeks. You HAVE to take it in order to keep your job."
Your laughter was so loud, that it caused me to grab my head with my hands.
"I can't believe this happened, but...hey, you have to take the good with the bad," I am told.
I have nothing to say to this. Your brilliant plan worked perfectly. I'm stuck in this class that has nothing to offer me, AND I have to try and take this other class in two months. Add to that I have other classes I will be required to take, and I'm starting to think you really like screwing with me.
St. Thomas lost my records at one point, a new class was created that I wasn't grandfathered into not having to take, and more.
What's left? Are you going to have a chalkboard fall on me? Maybe the ceiling? Maybe have all of the books I saved disappear on me?
You haven't beaten my spirit yet, Gods of Education, but you certainly are annoying me.
Perhaps if I sacrifice some Freshmen to you, you'll be nicer to me?
I await your reply.
Disgruntled Teacher # 3,912,524.


Arthur Willoughby said...

Dear Leab:

We have chosen to speak through our conduit, Arthur Willoughby, because he has nothing better to do.

Our message: Quit bellyaching. Everyone knows teachers have it easy. Three months off every summer? What more could you want?

Plus, you get to look at high school girls in skimpy clothing every day.

Wait, sorry. Willoughby snuck that one in on his own.

That is all.

Leab said...

It's not three months.
That drives me nuts when everyone says that.
It's 7 weeks.
That's it.
AND we're expected to teach summer school or take classes. There really is no "break" as people think.
As for skimpy clothing...ummm...the problem is that most students who do that...shouldn't!
You get me?

Arthur Willoughby said...

Relax, pal. It was a joke. Purely intended to get your goat. I have a friend who teaches High School Spanish and she hates it when people give the "summer vacation" argument.

Man, you teachers sure get worked up. I don't know why; you've had three freaking months to relax.

Leab said...

I was joking.
Sheesh. A year of banter and still...explanations needed.

Arthur Willoughby said...

I figured, as evidenced by my additional "three freaking months" comment.

Do you and I need to get together and just duke this out once and for all?

J.P. said...

Ah come on Leab Seniors at 7:30 am shouldn't be too bad..... I mean you handle us all and we were probably a good challenge too..... then again there wasn't quite 53 of us to try and drive you crazy either.

Don't worry about it Leab your a great teacher and you will do just fine.

Admin Worm said...

"Don't worry about it Leab YOUR a great teacher..."

Hopefully Leab isn't teaching spelling.