Kids pretend like they don’t care…but they do!
Teachers are easy targets, but I never thought we would be under attack in California. The recent Vergara v. California ruling strips teachers of essential job protections under the pretense of “equality.” Without these job protections, low-income and inner-city schools will become even harder to staff. The case seemed like it helped needy kids, but the media frenzy neglected to uncover the motives of David Welch, the rich Silicon Valley financier of the case. His investments include Microsoft, Pearson, and the Eli Broad Foundation…all big businesses who will benefit from making teachers easier to fire. Mark my words, pay for performance is not far behind. I wrote letters and sent emails about this travesty, but the local newspaper didn’t publish it and my Congressman hasn’t gotten back to me. It’s like no one cares. Protect your job and fight for our rights. Teachers are under attack in California. Watch your back.
I went to a Boys Town training earlier this month and started putting some of the strategies into comics to better remember them. Here is one of the comics, entitled “Guided Self-Correction.” I highly recommend the training, and have seen great improvement when I use them.
I guess comics are like jokes in that if you don’t “get it,” you lose the humor when it is explained. Whenever my husband doesn’t immediately “get it,” I write out an explanation in case others are confused, too. Here’s what’s supposed to be happening in today’s comic: The teacher in purple has taken a student into the hallway to discuss his “mad-dogging” in class. (“Mad-dogging” is staring aggressively at others to intimidate them or instigate a fight. It is a blatant show of disrespect meant to humiliate the other person.) She explains, “You’re growing up now. Adults don’t ‘mad-dog.'” As she is speaking to the student, another teacher (whom she obviously doesn’t care for) passes by and stares at her and the student. The teacher in purple confronts the one in red and asks, “What do you think you’re looking at?” and the other teacher challenges her by saying, “Not much.”
I wanted to illustrate the power we have as teachers of living as role models. If we tell students that adults don’t do certain things, then we should show them that adults don’t do those things. Students often ask me if teachers all like each other and I say, “HECK NO! But we must work together so even though we don’t always like each other, we do show respect for one another.”
When you are a teacher, much of your day depends on other people’s choices. Guidance coordinators, parents, and other teachers must place and remove students from your class as they need to, so you don’t have much choice in who your students are. Some students you can’t stand are suddenly on your roll book, while others you adore disappear without warning. Often you will celebrate when a problematic student is removed from the roster, only to be replaced by one much worse. That’s teaching, though. The only thing you can do is be a source of light for all students, so they will remember you fondly. And not shank you when you turn around.