Monday, November 16, 2009

No Child Left Behind. Because They ALL Need to Be Watching Television at School.

My daughter came home from high school on Friday.

"How was your day?" I asked.

"Fine. We had another substitute so we didn't do anything."

"What do you mean?"

"Whenever we have a substitute we usually don't do anything, we just watch movies. This time the sub spent the whole time online giving us internet quizzes."

"Quizzes about the subject matter?"

"No, personality quizzes, that kind of thing."

"You're kidding."

"No, once we had a guy who spent the whole time going through his text messages and last year in P.E. the teacher--not the sub--would make us lay down on the gym floor and take naps sometimes. He'd force us to close our eyes and if he thought we weren't actually sleeping he'd say he was going to dock our grade."

"So, let me get this straight--you were being graded for sleeping in Physical Education class? Not for running or exercising or playing a sport but sleeping?

"Yea, and in English class today the teacher said we'd been working hard this week so we were going to take a break so we finished up Enchanted."

"You watched Enchanted?"

"Yea, we've been watching it for a couple weeks now, we'll see a bit and then watch other video clips."

"Why are you watching Enchanted? What does that have to do with English?"

"They speak English in the movie? I don't know. Because we watch a lot of movies in German class: Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Ice Age, Finding Nemo--plus a bunch of German movies."

"Because they're speaking German?"

"I guess. We don't really pay much attention to the German part."

"How many movies do you watch a week?"

She thought a bit, counting up on her fingers and trying to remember. "Oh--I don't know--five or six, maybe more. We watch t.v. pretty much every day in at least one class and any time we have a sub they put in movies or something. We watch stuff like Mythbusters a lot and call it chemistry."

She paused a moment then said, "At least it's not like my history teacher who flirts with girls in the class then shows us pictures of himself without his shirt on and talks about his tattoos."

"He showed you pictures of himself without his shirt?"

"Yea, he was trying to show us how big his muscles were and was pointing out his tattoo and saying that we could tell the picture hadn't been fixed because you could still see his tattoo."

"Apparently working six hours a day with three months off in the summer and another month off throughout the school year isn't enough, those teachers must be exhausted. And these are your honors classes?"

"Yea, I've talked to people in the AP classes and they say it's not much different there. Sometimes the stuff we do that's supposed to be real work doesn't make any sense either. Like last year in English we were supposed to be studying the Renaissance so we read The Crystal Caves by Mary Stewart."

"Sure, because why read anything like Marlowe, Spenser, Jonson or Shakespeare when you've got cheap 1970s fantasy fiction at your fingertips? It's not even set in the Renaissance."

"I know. The projects we did had nothing to do with the Renaissance either--we do a lot of projects, especially group projects. I think it's because the teacher doesn't have to do anything to grade it like they would have to do if we actually wrote a paper or took a test. Some kid built a throne out of hockey pucks and hockey sticks and got an A."

"A hockey stick throne? How does that relate to the Renaissance?"

"It doesn't But it was cool."

"And this is public education. Run by the government. If that's not the biggest strike against a government-run health care system I don't know what is."

Sponsored by K & M Studios and photographer Megan Burgess

121 comments:

Bee said...

I almost said, "UN-freakin'-believable." But the sad thing is, it's not. Hard to say what makes me madder, although the History teacher is really near the top of the list!

Kris said...

The education system in Canada is run by the government and it is FABULOUS. But then I'm Canadian so maybe I'm biased. Oh right, they have "social" healthcare there too that everyone in the US thinks this new Obama plan is supposed to be mimicking...uh, no..and if any Canadian tells you it is then ask them what their IQ score is. Seems to me that the individual State carries the burden of the generalized crapiness their schools may or may not have. Can't say I am too impressed with Carol Comeau, but that's a whole different commentary. Alaska, when compared with say, Alberta or Ontario Canada's government run education system is in a league completely of it's own...one that is exceptionally bad. I am scared my children living here in Alaska are going to turn out to be dummies as a result of the education system. If THAT's not a reason to HOMESCHOOL (of which I am not a advocate), or move, I don't know what is. Luckily for us, my husband and I can hold our own when it comes to brain power so we supplement our childrens' education with less movies and more substance...at home. Failure in the schools I suppose is no excuse for failure by the parents to be involved with their childs' education. But I'm not opinionated or anything. Heh.

ShackelMom said...

That is awful. You could do it better. Or let me say it this way, how could you possibly do it worse?

Anonymous said...

When is your appointment with the school Superintendent?

Melissa said...

That's unbelievable and totally unacceptable.

Blessed said...

Oh my... it is as bad as I remember it - we watched some rated R movie about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table when I was in 10th grade honors English, and my senior year, instead of teaching us American History we spent a few weeks watching a documentary (that's really famous, but whose name I can't recall right now)... it really is pitiful. I've got a few years to go until we start - but I'm homeschooling, no doubt about it.

planetnomad said...

WOW! I freaked out last year when one day Elliot told me he'd spent 2 hours of French class watching "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in English with French subtitles on YouTube. I said "WHY am I paying for this?" But that was just once! I must say that the French system, for all it's MANY MANY faults, is giving our kids a good education. He also read Mouliere for French last year (gr 7), and this year is reading Balzac (whom he hates).
All the French people ask why we don't have our kids in the American school here. It's 25K a year is why (French school is bad enough at 5K) They are always surprised that we would have to pay. They don't--the French govt cares so much that each French child receive a good edu that they subsidize kids living anywhere in the world. What a concept--a govt who actually cares about education! And schools where those getting good grades are popular!

Hilary (Adventures from 14 Maple) said...

That's disturbing. I completely agree with Kris' comment though. The failures of the public educational systems are no excuse for failures of education at home. Parents must pick up where the teachers drop off. I also am curious about when your meeting with the superintendent or principal is! This is actually an argument for more strictly monitored tenure rather than an argument against government-run health care, in my opinion.

Lucy said...

Your (and everybody's in the USA) public school system at work. And I know it goes on because I worked in it for 28 years. I know what subs do. :(

Rachel said...

Yep! This brings back memories for me. I'm really leaning towards homeschooling my kids.

Mom24 said...

*sigh* Been here. Am here.

Last year in health class for a mental illness unit? They watched Sybil. Forget discussing depression, post-partum depression, anxiety, things they're much more likely to deal with in their lives. Oh, they also did a relaxation unit where they spend three class days coloring--it's relaxing apparently. I should mention our kids take health in 10th grade.

Anonymous said...

One thing about high school kids: they don't always tell the truth and are prone to exaggeration.
Just sayin'...
(your) Anon

Momma Roar said...

I'm out of school 16 years, and that is how I remember subs as well.

It's sad.

I was a PE teacher and never forced my kids to nap - ridiculous! I taught in an inner city school with low scores - so we were on the state's "empowerment list" - all they did to "empower" our district was waste tons of money to bring in "experts" who did an even better job of wasting our money.

I was told, by the "experts" that I needed to teach math, writing and reading in my PE classes. Are you KIDDING ME???????

They started taking recess (this was an elementary school) away and I was making my kids MOVE in PE - I'd use a few books to encourage creative movement, but it frustrated me.

I also saw plenty of teachers get burned out, so totally burned out, trying to teach the state standards - it wasn't fun for them anymore. They certainly weren't teaching they way they had dreamed of out of college.

Now, with 3 children of my own, I homeschool.

Lara said...

Wow. Now, I know the rule about not believing half of what your kid says happens at school and all that, but still. Sounds like it's time to meet with a few teachers. That is crazy.

Linds said...

I can honestly say that I am not surprised. At all. I have taught here in the UK and this is horribly familiar. I have seen Subs spending entire periods on their phones while the kids chat. Not even a movie to watch. And I have met plenty of teachers who use the movies as an easy way to take a class. It is happening. Believe me.

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

I am truly amazed sometimes at the laziness of some teachers. I do say "some" because I know a lot of teachers that are incredibly dedicated and put a lot into their curriculum and their students, but there are certainly some that just do the bare minimum to get by and still get paid. My husband works in the school system and he gets so frustrated at what he sees. The computer classes are particularly bad because half the time, the teacher lets the kids just have "free time" on the computers instead of actually teaching anything. It really is ridiculous and sad and makes me understand more and more why a lot of people homeschool their children.

Stephanie said...

I love homeschooling! ;)

Though I do have to say that is common for a substitute especially if the teacher is out at the last minute b/c there simply isn't time to relay the original plan to the substitute and even if it is planned ahead teachers don't trust the sub to do the real work.

There is a ton of down time and wasted time in public school. I believe our kids are getting a quality education and we are almost always done by noon. Now for the history teacher....there is no excuse!

Heather said...

Wow.

carol at A Second Cup said...

We have had similar experiences with the public high school in our area.Sometimes the movies were rated R. Parents were told the kids could opt out of the movies but we were near informed which days the teachers were playing them.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Makes me feel really thankful that I live where I live. We have an excellent public school system in our town and if even half that stuff ever happened here, there would be a whole mess of angry parents at the superintendent's office in a heartbeat!

CountessLaurie said...

I feel cheated. We had to actually work in high school. Dang it!

Allysha said...

I wish you were kidding. That is INSANE! Are you going to have a chat with anyone there at the school?

Anonymous said...

As a former teacher, administrator, and substitute, this makes me so angry. I spent many evenings and weekends at school to improve my lessons and curriculum, and spent summers in graduate school to better myself. But, the guy down the hall could get away with slacking off. This type of behavior needs to be brought up to the school administrator or person who is the teachers' supervisor. S/he is the only person who can do something about it, if s/he has the guts to do it.

Scribbit said...

I should chime in here with a couple things: first, I do think there are a lot of great teachers out there, I know because my children have had a lot of them. In fact, I've only once, with four kids and working on 28 years of teachers, a teacher that I was less than pleased with. Generally they've been wonderful.

But once Grace got to high school there was a marked difference. Yes, I'm aware children can exaggerate, even outright lie but putting aside the fact that she's never given us cause to disbelieve her word if even half of what she's saying is true it's horrific.

There is little reason for a television to be on in a classroom at all, there are very few things that can be shown on a screen that can't more effectively be demonstrated in person with greater learning potential.

I've been thinking about a call to the principal, I'll let you know what happens.

And finally, yes I'm aware that it's primarily the parents' responsibility to make sure their children are getting an education which is why we don't have tv on in our house but on weekends and require individual reading time instead. However, it's frustrating to feel as if when I'm sending her out the door she's going to sleep.

Plus, it must make good teachers very angry to read this. With the unions and the difficulties in removing bad teachers it brings the reputations of all of them down and the good ones don't deserve that.

The Source said...

My only complaint here is the amount of homework my daughter brings home...Every. Single. Day. She's a Junior and in all honors or AP classes. She has been up to her ears in projects, papers, take-home tests, identifications, formal labs, etc. This weekend she had 130 problems to work for Pre-Cal and a 12 page test in AP History to complete. Although I'm pleased that she's learning and she is making good grades, part of me wishes that she had a little time to just "hang out" with her friends. She's only be able to make one football game this season...because of homework, homework, homework.

Janelle said...

I can remember four specific instances of movie-watching throughout my high school life. Well, one was in junior high. I think it was the day before Christmas break of something, and the teacher didn't want to start a whole new unit, so we watched Wayne's World instead (this was 1993).

Another time was in Spanish class. On the infrequent occasions when we had a substitute, we'd watch movies that had been dubbed in Spanish, but we had to write down a minimum of 50 words from the movie that we didn't recognize and turn them in for credit at the end of the class. The movies were always benign -- usually Disney or, once I think, Benji.

A third time was in my senior Humanities class. Our teacher wanted to include Chaim Potok's The Chosen in the curriculum, but we didn't have time to actually read the book, so we watched the movie over two classes and discussed it in a third.

The final time was in my psychology class. We were discussing the id, ego, and the super-ego, when my teacher suddenly realized that The Breakfast Club was a perfect example to illustrate "real life scenarios" of them. I didn't realize until a few years later that the movie was rated R, which bothered me and was absolutely a no-no to be showing in high school, without permission from or even notification to the parents.

There were other times when after finishing a book (or a Shakespeare play), we'd watch the movie, or part of it, just to help bring it to life a little. But your daughter's situation sounds like it's absolutely out of control.

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

I would believe this to be true, I just think with all the regulations placed on teachers these days they have just given up. These hard working people, should be one of the highest paid because of the material they teach and the amount of time our children are spending in school. Now with all the budget cuts, the oversized classrooms, people telling them what they can teach and what they shouldn't, makes you wonder why they do it. Of course with this economy they don't have much of a choice if they wanted different work.

I am not condoning what they are doing but then again, we do have the option to homeschool our kids or as parents to volunteer more and see what is going on in the class rooms. We have the right to join parent/teacher support groups and join with our teachers in having a say at the schools, but then again, too many of us are simply too busy!

I think the actions of the History teacher have stepped over the ethical lines however and should be reported.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

LIDARKSIDE said...

If anyone were to read the actual "No Child Left Behind" (previously known as "America 2000" and "Goals 2000") legislation, they would never put their children in a public school. It's called "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" to create a controlled society through the public school system. Our children's lives and minds are too important to us. We homeschool our children to make sure they are properly educated and not dumbed down. Disregard state assessment test scores. They are simply psychological assessment tests.

jubilee said...

I was surprised to learn that my daughter (in kindergarten) is shown a PBS cartoon on a fairly routine basis. PBS is usually OK, but it would have been nice to have been informed before hand and even nicer if permission was asked. We have a parent-teacher conference coming up . . .

Jenna Consolo said...

AMEN! This is one of my biggest frustrations in life! I could just add and add to your already great list. You expressed this so well! Wait until they start showing rated-R movies! That's a real charmer!

Maddy said...

Hmm. My eldest daughter has recently thrown herself into substitute teaching - quite a few teachers ask for her specifically because they think she's so great - she doesn't think her performance is so great, being a newbie - but if that's the competition = I can see why she's so great.

Nancy Astudillo from 2MO said...

And I thought we had it bad here in Quebec!! Unbelievable. These past few years, a lot of teens have dropped out of high school (and it seems they keep getting younger and younger...). I personally think the teachers/substitutes play a big role ...it's not just the kids' fault.

The Marketing Mama said...

Michelle, after your past posts about your son's education, I know you take school and your children's education very seriously, so I assume you were STEAMING mad about this conversation. My jaw dropped about 50 times reading this. I hope you have a phone call in to the principal. There are so many things wrong with what your daughter reported. Does it make you consider homeschooling or changing her school? WOW!

Anonymous said...

I would beg to differ with the assessment of the Canadian schools being superior. Have they attended here recently? Watching Movies was a regular thing when my boys were attending. We now homeschool. :!)

Cindy

Aleta said...

LOL - and that is why we homeschool -see, I'm not doing any worse than the public schools ;)

Emily Gerow said...

Wow, I've only been out of high school 10 years and it seems like a lot has gone down hill in that time. It makes me extremely frightenend for my unborn child.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I used to be very strict about getting Maya to school EVERY DAY. Would never consider playing hookey, always tried to make sure appointments were outside of school hours, etc. But now that she's in middle school, we have some of this crap as well. Not the shirtless teachers (thankfully), nor the unrelated projects, but the movies movies movies? Yes. So if she has to miss class to go to the dentist or something, it doesn't bother me a bit. I figure if they can waste her time as much as they want, I can waste their time, too. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping this is more indicative of public schools in Alaska than schools in general, but I know there are bad teachers in lots of places. There were a few at my high school, but the majority of my teachers, and all the honors and AP teachers at my old public school were good enough, luckily...

Anyway, it's hard to generalize because there are good schools and bad schools, good teachers and bad teachers, in every country, every state, every system.

I have to say, though, as someone with kids in elementary and middle school, that even though I've been mostly lucky with my kids' teachers so far, in 2 different countries and 3 different US states, if I had known as much about homeschooling before they started school as I do now, I would have been strongly tempted to homeschool from the beginning, just for the sake of consistency.

I agree with the person who says that she and her husband supplement their kids' education by providing good opportunities at home--definitely a must, whether the kids are at a good or not-so-good school!

Whitney said...

Let's just be clear that we, school teachers, don't have quite the sweet schedule that you make it out to be. Also, not all teachers are like the one's you describe. Most of us work ourselves to the bone to teach children what they need for life. Just because your school has lazy teachers doesn't mean you should make us all out to be like that.
Signed, Disappointed in Your Blog

Sandy said...

As a teacher, I can certainly confirm that what you've described here certainly does happen. To be honest, this post is one of the reasons I homeschool.

However, when I taught American Studies (an advanced 10th grade class) and required papers and actually graded work based on the quality of their essay answers, I had numerous parents tell me that I was much too demanding and was too hard on the kids. (sigh). So I think some of the movie stuff is actually in retaliation to parents demanding less of teachers.

But I do not think it is fair to compare gov't run healthcare to a public schools. It's apples and oranges....

Rosanne said...

That's horrible. You should speak up. Good luck.

Twinsmom said...

A month or so ago, my daughter had to write a paper in English class about the worst things in high school (pick a topic and give 3 examples). She picked teachers and staff, wrote with a typical teen sarcasm viewpoint and asked me to proof it for her. What did I learn? Her accelerated world history teacher can be easily thrown completely off his teaching plan with one well-asked, completely non-world history question (which the students do routinely), and the "information" she has learned in study hall - from the supervising teacher! - I didn't learn until I was married! Last year in Music Appreciation, they watched musicals on DVD the entire semester and took tests on each musical. And I can't wait to see how time is wasted again next week when they are only in school 2 days before the holiday break. And the government wonders why our kids are so far behind other countries???? Gee, I wonder!

Carrie said...

Just another reason to homeschool- much more efficient, and you can make sure you're actually teaching something!

Sandy said...

Also, the part about teachers working 6 hours a day with 3 months off??? Harsh! And untrue....please be careful before writing statements like that. A lot of the hard-working teachers get very hurt when such judgmental things are written.

Like I said, I now homeschool my kids. When I did teach, I spent every weekend in my classroom (my husband helped sometimes!). Conferences were held from 4-9 p.m. after school once a quarter (after I'd taught all day), and most days of the week, I spent time after school helping kids "catch up."

No matter what people write or say, MOST teachers put well over 40 hours per week into their work and are quite passionate for what they do. I could've worked in retail and made more money (seriously!), but I enjoyed helping kids.

Melanie J said...

Um, I haven't read all the comments but speaking as a former middle school language arts teacher I can say the following: your daughter's school is lame. A lot of us take pride in what we do and only integrate video CLIPS if it makes absolute sense to do so. I never even left movies for my substitutes if I had to be out. Film has valid applications when actually TAUGHT but using it as a babysitter is ridiculous. Also, speaking for teachers who really do give it their all, what other people refer to as our two month "vacation" would be more rightly described as a "recuperation." Imgaine how exhausting your kids can be on a daily basis. Now imagine me, and hundreds of thousands of teachers like me, trying to cope with a 150 14-year-olds all day who haven't been as well raised as your children have and tell me that two months still looks like a vacation . . . just sayin', it's not fair to tar all public school teachers with the same brush.

MommyK said...

I find this totally unacceptable. It's been awhile since I was in high school, but I KNOW we didn't watch that much TV. And when we did, it was related to the class. Like watching the movie "Glory" in AP US History class, because the AP test was already over and we didn't have anything left to learn, but school was in session. Although, even then, substitute teachers were still more like babysitters, who handed out dittos and tried to keep the talking to a minimum.

Stephanie Frieze said...

There is a ciriculum called Springboard that our district bought a couple of years ago and at the high school level it is very media heavy using movies and movie clips and short stories with few actual works of literature. I hate it. The teachers hate it. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea and am glad that my children all got through school when students had to read the classics in school. It's great to add newer works of good writing, but we are raising a bunch who don't know the classics.

Trixie said...

Oh dear, how terrible!

I have an interesting story about how far downhill public school has gone:

My dad only completed 8 grades. He went to the 8th grade in a little one room country school in the 20's and early 30's. When he started, his teacher was 16 years old. He could do complicated long division in his head, read, write and spell very well. He had a very good knowledge of history, geometry and exhibited tremendous critcal thinking skills . He was a well rounded, productive citizen with only a small amount of schooling -- which did not involve watching tv.

I didn't even start to learn some of these things until I got into high school and you can forget the math in my head! As a matter of fact, I even got a special scholarship for college because I was considered "at risk" because my dad only went through the 8th grade. Little did they know my dad learned more in 8 years of school than I learned in 13.

Trixie

Inkling said...

Oh my goodness. And these teachers don't even have to write their curriculum (like I did) or probably even do lunch and recess duty every day. Wow. This is definitely one time when I cannot "side" with the educator - if that is what they could even begin to be called.

Thank goodness your kids have you as a mom. That means they at least know where to find real books and do real work.

So what are you going to do? Do you have any recourse?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are being fair to the countless educators who give hours of their time, years of their lives, because they truly love to teach.

By making sweeping generalizations about slacker teachers being the norm, and about their time away from school during the summer, you are discounting the majority of professionals that truly do make a difference.

Janel said...

I have mixed feelings about TV in the classroom. As a babysitter, no. As a tool for providing a glimpse or different look, that's fine. For one class everyday? And Disney no less? um, no.

We homeschool and my kids just watched about 15 hours of National Geographics videos on everything from tigers to the rain forest. Afterwards we had some awesome discussion about what we saw. A couple of the kids even did a bit more research on their own about several of the topics. I'm cool with that. To me, when using TV in the classroom, teacher interaction before, during and afterwards is key.

There's little doubt we need huge educational reforms. I just don't think we're going to get GOOD reform when it happens.

Flea said...

Homeschool, mom. Homeschool.

Patricia Linehan said...

My daughter had a 4th grade teacher that loved watching movies with the kids. They must've watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Imporium 5 times. They also had candy often and she made microwave popcorn every Friday. As long as they asked for more popcorn they got it...she told us @ parent night that our kids were pigs because between 18 of them they ate 12 bags of popcorn. UGH. I couldn't wait for that school year to be over. Of course, I'm pretty sure my daughter still considers that teacher one of her favorites.

stephanie said...

Just got home from teaching 10th grade chemistry, read your post, and felt like a horrible teacher! I showed a 25 minute movie in class today! While some teachers abuse the privilege, I think showing movies or video clips is perfectly appropriate for a high school classroom. I would say that in a given week, I show maybe 30 minutes of video. The clips are always relevant to the topic at hand and most of the time students are engaged by answering questions that we will later discuss as a class. Video clips allow me to show demonstrations that I don't have the resources for in the high school setting. We do not watch Mythbusters or Bill Nye (which is far too common in junior high). I have video clips and materials that are often provided by textbook companies. Not only are the videos educational, but they provide me with time to pass back papers and meet with students on an individual basis. I do leave videos for substitutes. Try finding someone qualified and willing to substitute teach high school chemistry!

I was very put off by your comment:
"Apparently working six hours a day with three months off in the summer and another month off throughout the school year isn't enough, those teachers must be exhausted. And these are your honors classes?"

It is statements like these that cause the good teachers to quit and leave the video showing teachers in the schools. If I was paid $2/hr per student (crappy babysitting wages), it wouldn't even come close to my yearly salary. What parent wouldn't pay $12 a day to get rid of their kid?!?! Obviously, like most teachers, I am not in it for the money. Please don't make me feel like a failure if I choose to show a video once in a while.

Scribbit said...

Okay Stephanie- I hear you, but to be fair if you aren't doing the things I described why did you assume I was talking about you?

Are you showing Disney movies? ARe you texting friends instead of teaching? THen if not you're not what I'm describing. I wish you'd have read the comments.

I'm hearing from so many teachers who are mad from what I've written but I haven't drawn one generalization. I've just repeated a conversation we had about my own daughter's teachers. I haven't said teachers are overpaid or underworked, I haven't said that teachers are worthless, I haven't said I don't appreciate good teachers (just the opposite in fact). I've even supported teachers when I thought they were off a bit because it was better to support the authority in the classroom rather than to make sure my child had it exactly fair.

So this isn't about you (teachers out there) this isn't even about all teh teacher at my daughter's school. It's about the three she's got right now that are slackers and the subs that the system creates.

I think the system is flawed. Primarily because it is a federal program rather than a private institution. You can't fire bad teachers and the good ones suffer in consequence.

Scribbit said...

thanks Kayris--I had some great teachers in high school too, there were two in particular that not only did I love them (though one was a difficult woman and not easy to like let alone love) but I had to go back after college and tell them how great they had been for me.

I also had teachers like you describe. The trig teacher who was lazy he sat at his desk all day eating and telling us to just correct each others' assignments because he didn't want to do it or to actually teach us. Or the P.E. teacher who made sexual remarks to the girls (sounds like dittos would have been better).

But I think that just kind of proves how bad the system is. When duds like that can flourish and receive equal treatment with the great ones. You can't fire the bad ones and you can't reward the good ones the way it is. Not easily any way--it's crazy.

Magi said...

Actually this comment could be interpreted as being directed to all teachers:

"Apparently working six hours a day with three months off in the summer and another month off throughout the school year isn't enough, those teachers must be exhausted. And these are your honors classes?"

Also, education is run at the state level, not the federal. Yes, they got involved with NCLB, but the majority of educational decisions are made at the state level.

I actually wrote a comment earlier today, but it was too long to be posted. A first for me.

I read your blog often, and do believe that you didn't intend to direct this to all teachers. Please understand that we are underfire all the time. The majority of teachers are professional, caring, and ethical workers. Just like the majority of doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc... Just like any profession, there are some bad apples who get all the attention.

When situations like the ones your daughter described take place, you have every right, no duty, to be upset and take action.

Whether you meant it or not, comments like the one I quote above are highly inaccurate and insulting. They are also a commonly held belief. I can't even begin to tell you how many people "jokingly" make comments like that to my husband, my peers, and me.

I worked for 20 years in the hotel/restaurant industry and almost 10 now as a business/computer teacher. I can honestly tell you that I work harder now than I ever have.

And, no, I don't just let my students have free time on the computer. We have a curriculum, lesson plans to create, and standards to meet.

The longer version of my response will probably become a blog post tomorrow. I can't do it tonight as I have papers to grade and must get some sleep before my 5 am alarm goes off to begin my day where I'll put in a minimum of 9 hours in my 6 hour job before coming home to cook dinner, can apple butter, and spend time with my own 3-year-old and my husband.

Bryssy said...

I am a high school teacher and yes, if I have to be out, I leave a video or movie. Why? Because you don't know what kind of sub you will get. Some aren't even willing to take attendance.

Most high school teachers work way more than 6 hours a day - unpaid. I know I do. Yes, we have 2 months without work - and without pay. I, along with every other teacher in my state, is considered a 10-month employee. But our pay is sent to us in 12 monthly payments. No options there. We are also supposed to be teaching morals, reading, math, and our content every 45 minutes for 180+ students a day.

Yes, due to NCLB, I have to identify the kids that count the most for AYP (average kids count 4 times and below average can count up to 24 times) and devote extra instruction to them for school funding.

I show videos sometimes to have time to grade papers. I can't afford extra childcare so that I can work late, I haven't even gotten a cost of living increase (step increase)in the last 3 years.

Try walking a mile in a teacher's shoes. You might be surprised all the non-teaching work that is included in the job. Social worker. Counselor. Et all.

This is my last year teaching, I will be homeschooling my kids next year - as my oldest will be kindergarten age. And, yes, I will do what I have been doing for years while teaching...."doing more with less."

Daisy said...

Oh, dear. I'm sorry to hear about these experiences. If I tried to show full length movies in class, I'd lose my job. My district has pretty tight standards; so does my state.

LibraryGirl62 said...

You need to tell someone in authority those stories. That would be tolerated for about 2.3 seconds at my school. Our teachers have sub plans for planned days out and emergency plans or the team leader to gets them plans. But I will say I have had subs ask for movies in the library because "the kids are getting antsy". I refer them to the team leader for help. Please don't let this go-a good school will want to know.

Mandy said...

I just went to our Book Fair and my hubs pointed out 5 Obama books Scholastic was trying to sell. It's ridiculous. Yeah, I would be livid hearing that from my daughter! I am not a fan of government owned education and my hubs and I have been discussing it a lot lately...

stephanie said...

Whether it was a blanket statement or not, joking about 6 hour work days and summer vacation is enough to get any hard working teacher fired up. I know it is what triggered my initial post.

Dyan said...

Wow! I can tell you are very frustrated and angry, and rightly so, but as a former teacher your statement,
"Apparently working six hours a day with three months off in the summer and another month off throughout the school year isn't enough, those teachers must be exhausted. " really hurt.
OUCH!

liz said...

"Plus, it must make good teachers very angry to read this. With the unions and the difficulties in removing bad teachers it brings the reputations of all of them down and the good ones don't deserve that."

Yes. It does make me angry. I work 2 hours per day beyond my contracted schedule and through my lunch as well to plan engaging, exciting and interesting lessons. I also take work home most nights. And then I have to constantly read about how bad people think teachers are. It's depressing and frustrating, because the majority, in my building at least, are good teachers who work hard. *sigh*

Jennifer Dawn said...

Are you trying to start controversy and loose blog followers? I agree with Liz, Dyan, and Stephanie. The comment about getting so much time off over the summer and only working six hours a day was really cruel. Don't bash all teachers and make "blanket statements" like that just because there is a problem with your child's honesty or your child's school. The school I teach at is filled with wonderful, dedicated teachers. I work my tail off... In fact, the majority of my last four years has been spent staying until 9pm. Since having my daughter I have had to change that, but I really resent it when people think that a teacher's job is easy. Don't judge us all on what a few teachers may or may not have done. I have put my time, talent, and treasure into my job trying to make a difference in the lives of kids coming from low income and inner city areas. Talk to your child's teachers and teachers you know to find out what is really going on. It is people like you who make our jobs so hard because we begin to wonder why we put so much into our jobs. For me...it is a calling and not a job! Consider me no longer a follower of this blog.

angie said...

I'm pretty much speechless.

Leslie said...

Wow. I was waiting for the joke, thinking, "This can't be real." But wow. I'm stunned.

JChevais said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JChevais said...

The teachers who are offended by this post should know better than to think that Scribbit is slagging off all teachers.

It is my opinion that teachers, traditionally, are constantly on the defensive. Because there are lazy gits out there who bring a bad reputation to the institution of teaching. And perhaps because they have absolutely no idea what the working world outside of their teaching bubble is like.

The fact is, is that slackers are unacceptable in ANY business and if those teachers are so riled up by the "blanket" generalities that Scribbit may, or may not, have brought up (which may be beliefs that many non-teachers have), why the heck aren't those good teachers rallying to have the losers thrown off the docks? If those people are bringing teachers' honour down, why the hell aren't they doing something about it, rather than snarking and yapping at heels to assuage their feelings of being misjudged and belittled?

If you believe in your profession, your vocation, your life-calling, why are you letting others sully what you've worked so hard for? How many teachers have just said in the above comments that, "I'll homeschool my own kids", leaving the children who don't have parents who can even make this choice, to suffer?

What Scribbit has described is unacceptable and we all know that she'll do something about it. At her level. But she isn't a teacher. If reform is to come, then good teachers should not be running away and letting the losers win.

/two cents

tara lynn said...

OH! Amen sister! And, I feel your pain. The question is: what on earth can we do about it? I'm afraid the answer is nothing...the system is too big.

Jeana said...

"What parent wouldn't pay $12 a day to get rid of their kid?!?!"

Do you realize THAT was a slam at parents everywhere? Speaking for myself and my husband, we pay out quite a bit in order to keep them home and teach them ourselves. Do you really assume that all parents loathe their own kids so much that we would gladly pay someone to take them off our hands?

Or were you frustrated and upset and in the moment you made a generalized statement that you now realize was a bit of an exaggeration?

If it was the latter, maybe you can see now where Michelle was coming from when she made the statement she did?

Jeana said...

I guess I wasn't done.

My parents are both teachers in public schools. On my mom's side of the family we have nine public school teachers. I'm pretty familiar with it.

Most teachers will admit they know crappy teachers. And while there are numerous ones who work long hours, bring their work home at night, and spend large parts of their summers continuing education or teaching summer school, there are also crappy teachers who show up at 8:30, leave at 3:00, take no work home and put in no effort. Those particular teachers ARE working short days, getting enormous vacations, and being lazy. Those are the ones to whom Michelle was referring

(I reworded that last sentence just for you English teachers. Hi, Mom!)

I felt I had to say this because in my first comment I said maybe the statement was a bit of exaggeration, but after I thought about it I realized that considering who Michelle was clearly talking about, it wasn't exaggerating at all. It was precisely true.

Lori said...

I remember watching Toy Story in Spanish in my AP Spanish class in high school. It was such an easy couple of days! In my Econ class we watched Big Daddy and Billy Madison, and other Adam Sandler flicks because our teacher was a fan. I understand the need to have some in house time to grade papers, to keep up with standards and general what not, but that her movies weren't even pertaining to the class is a bit insane.

I do think Mythbusters could be worked into a lesson plan, though. And when I was student teaching, I did use videos on occasion, but all to illustrate topics we were discussing and we talked about how it would/did pertain to our topic before/after the video and never for a whole period--that's crazy!

Amy said...

That makes my blood boil.

gretchen from lifenut said...

What did I learn in 9th grade English?

( )

What did we do in 9th grade English?

Watched A LOT of films not in any way related to anything we are doing. The Falcon and The Snowman, anyone?

Oh! And the teacher enjoyed reading our palms, discerning our auras, and telling us stories about how fun the 60s were in Carbondale, CO and how cocaine will rot yer nose, take it from her.

Tenure, baby.

Lynn said...

This is nothing new. I graduated HS in 1985 to date myself for you. In Elementary school we had at least 2 field trips per year to the movie theater for special showings for the schools. I know I saw Candle Shoe there. In 6th grade we watched Wheel of Fortune daily as part of language arts. In Jr High we watched Gone With the Wind to cover the Civil War. In High School I was in Honors English classes. In 9th grade we watched Lord of the Flies. In 10th and 12th the teachers were best friends with connecting class rms. I cannot count the number of movies we watched those years while they sat and visited.

We have chosen to home school our dc for a wide variety of reasons. Ensuring they are actually educated is one. I have now home schooled 17 years and counting. We do sometimes watch a movie as part of our education, but it is normally watching a movie AFTER we have studied that subject, for instance Johnny Tremain. We read the book, then watched the movie.

There are good teachers and there are bad teachers, good schools and bad schools, but only with home schooling are you SURE what and how YOUR dc are learning.

Melanie said...

These kind of stories are, in my experience as a teacher and parent, the exception not the rule. As a high school teacher I find this totally unacceptable - on many fronts. It's important to know that not all teachers nor all schools are like this. I leave meaningful lesson plans and expect students to work. This doesn't mean there isn't a place for a video or documentary. I'd be interested to know what the teachers' & admin's version of the story is.

Cheri said...

Oh My...where to begin. I haven't read the other comments. I use to be a high school teacher. There is value in group projects as well as using a variety of methods in the classroom so all kids get a chance to shine at what they do best. But there should be a learning objective tied to the project that is explained to the students.

Regarding the substitutes and the teacher showing pic's of himself and his tatoo. I hope you will strongly consider calling the school and talking with the pricipal. This is not appropriate at all. I think a teacher would get fired at the schools I worked at had they done such a thing!

Sometimes in an unexpected illness, you need to leave a video. I always tried to make it as meaningful as possible. BUT, we were required to have meaningful sub plans for such absences. These "emergency" plans were kept in the main office.

Once, my students told me of a sub that sat and talked on the phone the entire period! I reported her and had her black listed from ever subbing in my class again. I had sub's that I knew would teach the class while I was gone.

Unfortunately, good subs can be hard to find sometimes and you have to just hope for the best. I always tried to stay with the same sub that I knew would follow my lesson plan.

Please keep your readers posted as to how this evolves and what the school says if you decide to call.

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered why you aren't a homeschooler. Having been a faithful reader of Scribbit for some, I can say with confidence that you would be fantastic at it.
Melanie Glenn, Grass Valley, Ca.

Anonymous said...

Re the above comment, I meant to say "some TIME." Sorry for the typo.

Carina said...

Ouch! This makes me want to teach English. At least someone, somewhere would be learning something.

Every history teacher I ever had in middle and high school was a coach. Every one. Lazy as anything, too.

My history teacher in college called me up after class and told me that it wasn't fair for me to expect his tests to be perfect, because teachers are human too. (I had been stressed because some of the questions on his test didn't include a little thing I like to call "the right answer.")

Roland Deschain said...

The worst thing about this is how insulting it is to the teaching profession.

The way you speak is offensive and I can assure you that I will not read your blog again and will encourage all other readers I know to do the same.

Be reminded that substitute teachers (which mostly are in your post) are not the experts and not the example for the way things should be run. In fact, when I have a sub, I purposely plan easy lessons so they don't screw anything up. It's the "Prepare and Repair" method where you work hard to get ready to be gone only to work harder to fix the things the sub messed up.

Also be reminded that your kid goes to school in the 46th worst state for education in the country. Additionally, I don't know how your district and or school stacks up in the great north, but it may not be great.

A word on home-schooling: I personally think it does more harm than good based on the fact that I find it hard to believe that someone can teach Hamlet or Calculus AP as well as a licensed teacher who went to a university to be accredited.

As a veteran teacher I can tell you that Bush's No Child Left Behind Act changed education for the worse and made everyone's job harder and more complex.

However....schools are not federal programs. Funding is provided and standards must be met if dollars are accepted. However, it is up to the local governments to decide how to align districts and teach curricula.

Be aware that your local legislators and school board members are in charge of what happens at your school much more than any feds are. There are even states that refuse the federal money in order to keep things the way they see fit.

No Child Left Behind was actually the reason I didn't vote for Bush for a second term or for the successor from his party in 08.

Teachers are heroes in our community just as much as our service men and women, firefighters and police officers. The only differences: we are underpaid and underappreciated for doing a job that is just as important and we are more criticized than anyone else because what we deal with is more precious. If a teacher makes a mistake or has an off day, showing a movie, it is scrutinized and criticized.

I will do what no one on this comment thread has done thus far:

FOR THE SAKE OF TEACHERS EVERYWHERE, TAKE THIS POST DOWN AND PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE.

I, however, will not know if this happens because this will be my last visit to your site.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I was a little sad after reading your post. As a teacher I work very very hard to make sure my students get a wonderful education. With high numbers (30) in each class it is so hard to reach every single one, but I go above and beyond to do so. That is unfortunate that your daughter is having these experiences. But, I would also like to see teachers portrayed in a positive light from time to time. How are your other childrens' teachers? Have you encountered any wonderful teachers that have sparked something for you children? I have only recently started reading your blog, so if you have I may have missed them.

noreen said...

My mom subs and she hates when they just give her a movie for the kids to watch. She wants to teach and instead they just her the movies for th kids

Lola said...

Please do not think that all teachers across the nation are that irresponsible. At the school where I teach we work TIRELESSLY for our students to achieve success, however small it may be.
Unfortunately there are crappy teachers out there who make the rest of us look like extreme slackers when that is not the case. I do think you need to speak with the administration at your daughter's school because what is happening is not acceptable at all.

Nate and Stacia said...

Didn't know you'd be attacked for this post, did ya? I just had a couple thoughts...
-Having been Grace's volleyball coach and YW advisor, and also helping raise kids in that High School, I'm pretty sure she's telling the truth!
-I have to wonder if part of the problem is due to what we are (or rather, aren't) paying our teachers.
-I have several people very close to me that are teachers and I know how hard it is for them and how hard they work. So kuddos to all those teachers out there that AREN'T like this.
-And last but not least... this is why we're looking into good charter schools. There seem to be less of these teachers there. Because it is more privatized?

Jennifer said...

I knew you would have a ton of comments :)...but I must say, at least they are not rated R movies which is what my teenagers are currently having to fight at their school.....it really makes me a little crazy the small amount of actual teaching that goes on :) But I guess I am preaching to the choir:)

Scribbit said...

Still getting angry comments?

Sorry Roland but the post stays up. I'm not sure why you went off about the NCLB because my post doesn't even touch on it. Not that it matters, but I happen to dislike the legislation and think it was poorly written and ineffective. I refer to it in my title in a sarcastic way (as a teacher you picked up on this?) but that's it.

I don't know why you went off on Bush (not even mentioned) and I don't know why you took this so personally.

As I've stated here in comments already I do think most teachers are good, the teachers my children have had up until last year have been stellar, but I've also seen my share of idiots who go into teaching merely because they can get summers off--and that's a direct quote.

In my own high school days I had teachers who leered at the female students and made suggestive comments, had teachers who sat in their chairs all day and did nothing, teachers who were so lazy that they sickened me--even as a teeenager. Of course I also had teachers so wonderful I went back after college to thank them for what they'd taught me.

I would think that if you were a hardworking teacher like that and read this post you'd be as disgusted as I was by what my daughter described. If you were a good teacher wouldn't you want to rid your profession of horror stories like this?

And obviously, judging from the 80 comments here she's not an isolated case in an isolated state as you seem to suggest (and Alaska's teachers are some of the highest paid in the nation I'd point out. Ironic? You be the judge).

However, the only way you could really take exception to this post after actually reading it rather than skimming it is if you felt it was aimed at you. And it IS aimed at you if you're doing what I described. If you're showing movies instead of teaching, if you're grading your students for sleeping, if you're flirting with students, if you're using projects as a way to escape the work of grading papers or tests--though projects can have some value sometimes--then yes, you would be very offended at this post. And I make no apologies for that.

Anonymous said...

"Apparently working six hours a day with three months off in the summer and another month off throughout the school year isn't enough, those teachers must be exhausted. "

I feel as though I have to comment on this statement.

My mother was a middle school science teacher for many years. She got to school at 7 in the morning so she could have time to prepare for the day then left at 4 in the afternoon. She came home and did the dinner thing with us. But starting at 7 in the evening until 10 at least five days per week she was at her desk grading papers and working on lesson plans. In my book that adds up to 10 hour days. Then in the summers she spent time going to workshops and seminars to learn how to teach better. These were on her own time and at her own expense. And several weeks of the summer were spent on new lesson plans for the upcoming year as for some reason she was always teaching different classes every year.

And many teachers are just as dedicated as my mother was. Your statement is a slap in the face to those dedicated individuals and shows a lack of understanding of the time it takes to properly teach a class. It's not just contact time.

Jeana said...

I think someone posted a link to your blog in a teacher's lounge somewhere.

Some of these people are going off half-cocked about one quote when it's obvious to anyone they haven't read the entire post, the comments, or your responses. Their own actions say something worse about them than anything you have said.

Awesome answer, Michelle.

Linda said...

And this is exactly why we pulled our 8 year old and started home schooling her. She's now studying division and multiplication while the REST of her friends are still adding and subtracting in the second grade...

Carinne said...

Why is it that its so "politically INcorrect" to say ANYTHING that hints that a teacher isn't anything but perfect?

melinda@mamabearscubhouse said...

disappointing, but it certainly is a popular trend..i remember back in middle school my science teacher showed "dirty dancing" as a reward for good test grades. i wasn't even allowed to see that at home--imagine my parents anger. this teacher also rewarded us with stories of her personal experiences with ghosts, instead of teaching us anything. fastforward to hs, i took advanced classes. i took american studies, with a heavy load of books and reports. I was up to the challenge, happily. and then, my english teacher had us cutting out photos from magazines to express vocabulary words. i was so disgusted, even though i knew it was an easy grade. i stopped reading the books, and still passed the tests with ease. i simply didn't have the desire to excel, when the teacher could care less. i realize i am responsible for my intake of knowledge, then and now. but, seriously, what a waste. i was thoroughly disappointed in that class..though i must add, the history teacher (american studies joined both subjects) rocked! it was an honor to ace her tests..she gave a damn and typically her students did, too!

tv can be a valuable tool, if used properly, with instructors that care.

thank you for your insight.

Anonymous said...

Done reading your blog! Man, you are pompous....

Headless Mom said...

Maddening! Happens all over, though, at all levels.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Really hot topic here. I think the overwhelming thing that most need to realize is that in ANY profession there are people who don't do their jobs well. No matter where you work you always have employees that you think do things halfway or don't pull their weight, etc. That's no different for teachers with the exception that their impact may be wider in how it is felt because of the nature of the job. No offense, but a greeter Wal Mart who sucks has less of an impact on society than a teacher who does a poor job does.

However, I think that Roland does make some good points and the NCLB act is federal which I know you mentioned in a comment somewhere.

However, I do think that overall the line of reasoning you (Scribbit) are using as well as your tone is quite offensive to the professionals we have in the classrooms.

I owe a debt of gratitude to all the teachers my kids have had and many I attribute with shaping who they are. Maybe the problem is that we're so quick to assign blame and point out deficiencies and so slow to praise.

But isn't that life and our country these days?

melinda@mamabearscubhouse said...

p.s. three cheers for Scribbit and her grace under fire!

Amber Lynae said...

Ok I think I am just a little bit sadder now about education. And I am not thinking more about how sound my educations was. I don't remember much tv so I'm hoping at least that is a good thing.

lifemoreabundant said...

Wow, comment 99 - don't know how many other readers will get to this one, but I've got to say this:

I was a teacher for four years, and yes, I had homework, and yes, I had to develop my own curriculum, but it is a seriously sweet gig. Sure, I didn't work six hours a day, but the vacation time is unparalleled.

It's certainly a challenging job, and not one for the faint of heart, or the lazy, but it's not exactly at the medical research or first responder level - both of which are paid similarly. In fact my husband has been a youth pastor and is now working temporarily as a manager in fast food and says repeatedly that his four years of teaching were the least stressful working years he's had, and at higher pay.

Also: I'm a Canadian. The public school system there is no better.

LSW said...

I think it's sad that the teachers here in the comments get all huffy and hoity-toity. If you're not guilty, why so defensive?

lifebythecreek said...

Private Christian school eduction for my son.. and honestly, to me, it's worth every penny and every sacrifice to do it. The school goes K4-12th, and I've talked to some alums lately who have told me that their first year in college was surprisingly easy, even as they watched their college peers struggle and often fail. The biggest difference to me is that every teacher we have cares... REALLY cares.. about our kids. Most of them have kids that go there, and there is a sense of pride and investment that really shows.
I'd be reporting the jerk with the tattoo. That's just wrong on so many different levels. I'm glad your daughter trusts you enough to tell you..

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

OMG, this is so sad and unfortunate. I know you will research and it and resolve it though. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I just think it is sad that this post came during American Education Week when teachers are supposed to be honored. The timing I'm sure was unintentional, but poor at the same time.

Prahagirl said...

That is down-right appalling. I've been teaching for near-on 10 years and have NEVER heard or seen ANYTHING like this before...granted I teach in a parochial setting where things are not as 'loose-canon' but still! WOW!

Prahagirl said...

LSW-they (we) may not be guilty of the things in this article, but the defensive may be up a bit because teachers and educators fight and struggle daily to reach out and educate our communities about the importance of good education and healthy lifestyles...and when things like this happen, it is just a big huge step backward.

Tammy said...

I taught for 7 years in a Christian school. It was rare when we watched any videos outside the curriculum. When I left the last job (to start a family), I subbed for them. Because I knew the school, procedures and rules, I was able to keep the class on point. Although, I think the kids dreaded having me b/c they couldn't get away with stuff.

I now homeschool. We finish our work in a fraction of the time, I know that my child isn't being exposed to some teacher's tattoos, and we have the rest of the day together.

The superintendent/principal definitely need to be made aware of everything you posted. And if they don't do anything, go higher. Show up at a school board meeting. If subs can't do anything more than operate a VCR or DVD player, the school needs to find better subs.

Kids deserve better.

Tammy said...

Ok - so I just went back and read a bunch of the comments. Good grief. All of you super-sensitive teachers need to take a chill pill. We all know that the common perception is that we work short hours and take a long summer break. I don't think you have to get your undies in a wad.

Teaching takes HOURS of prep. REAL teaching, that is. And if you're a REAL teacher, you should know that whining is unbecoming. "It's people like you" - give me a break. If you are going to quit reading a blog because of one statement that the author later qualified in the comments, then maybe you need to go back to the sandbox.

Tammy said...

JChevais stated, "How many teachers have just said in the above comments that, "I'll homeschool my own kids", leaving the children who don't have parents who can even make this choice, to suffer?"

Ahh. Because I don't buy into the socialist ideal that it takes a village to raise a child, but rather, I hold to the Biblical view that it takes a FAMILY to raise a child. My first responsibility is to my own child.

Elizabeth said...

Another reason to homeschool. At least you get to watch the movies, too! Yikes.

Andrea @ The Train to Crazy said...

That is CRAZY!!! That principal ought to be fired for allowing this to go on! Wow. No teacher should be showing TV in school. There is NO way to justify it- even if the kids read the book first. Laziness, that's what it is.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Wow. What an eye opener. I remember what a TREAT it was if we even got to see an EDUCATIONAL movie in school LOL.

Steph

MacKenzie said...

Both my husband and I have been substitute teachers and I would say that there is a lot of tv/movie watching going on during those times. Some would say it isn't a big deal because they aren't the "real" teachers but subs are used a lot, especially in high school and middle school. Statistics I've seen say that between Kindergarten and their senior year, an average child will spend a year of their schooling being "taught" by a sub.

But it isn't just the when there are subs either. Several of the elementary classrooms I taught at had daily tv watching built into their schedule (the tv automatically turned on/off for all the classes in that grade) . It was normally reading rainbow or another pbs show. For a kindergartener who is only spending half a day at school anyway, it seems wasteful to spend 30 minutes watching television.

Jennifer said...

Well, I have to stick up for the teachers a little here - although your situation sounds extremely bad. IF a teacher has to get a sub at the last minute it is hard for them to have something for the kids to do. Usually if my husband has to call in sick, he will still go into school before it starts and get things ready for the sub, but not all teachers are willing to do that.

I would certainly be on the phone to the principal about this, but I have to say I completely disagree with the working 6 hours a day and having 3 months off in the summer. My husband is AT WORK for at least 8 hours a day (on a short day) and he is working the whole time, whether he has a class of students at the time or not, and work does not end when they walk out of the building. For instance he spent 3 hours this afternoon grading papers and almost every evening will find him doing lesson plans and grading papers. My guess is it is a 10 hour day at best. And most schools no longer have a full 3 months off in the summer either.

I'm sorry your situation is like this, it sounds bad, but not all teachers "teach" like that.

Organizing Mommy said...

So, are you going to start your own school? Sorry about the history teacher. What did the kids think? that he was buff or just crazy?

Sister K said...

YOU'RE KIDDING! why am I not surprised? I'd have more than a few things to say at that school!!!! Then the teachers end up on the news for sexual behavior with a student and everyone is "soooo shocked."

Wanda said...

I work in a public high school! I am not offended! I am not surprised!
People.....people of every location are the same. Some are hardworking and dedicated others are lazy and checked-out!

During the 20 years that I've worked in the education field....I've seen a little bit of it all. Do not be discouraged by the handful of duds you are encountering!

(I would ask for a conference with the principal)

There are amazing educator's out there. Teacher's that put many long hours into their lessons, classroom, and activities. I understand your point!

GO TELL!!!!!

Miche said...

WOW. You should call about the History teacher-and PE? Dang. I've been really thinking about home schooling and looking into it-this is making me feel really motivated that SURELY I could do a better job than those teachers!

Becca said...

oh my word. My husband used to be a teacher and that's why he left - so frustrating how people just dont care!! :-)

and ps - I totally agree with Kris, the Canadian education system is so much better!!

Laurel Nelson said...

I just read this. I grew up in LA and we saw movies sometimes in school too. I remember once my mom was steamed because we watched Schindler's List in AP History after the AP Exam was over. I told her everyone in the class was 17 or older so it didn't' matter if it was an R rated movie. (ha ha) We watched some dubbed Spanish movies on occasion in Spanish class, but other than that I can't remember an occasion where we watched movies - other than educational type stuff that was related to our classwork. I do remember thinking a lot of my work was really easy - even in AP, but I ended up passing the tests, so I must have learned what I needed to. I would HIGHLY recommend the charter schools, and just know that now that I work at UAA in an advising office, I pull transcripts every day for students who come in for advising. I am shocked and apalled at what I see - students who earned high grades, UA Scholars, who are earning dismal scores on the ACT and SAT tests and starting at very remedial English and Math classes in college. I am scared for my daughter in 9 years (she just started Kindergarten this year). It is AWFUL stuff.
My mom was a teacher and is now a librarian at a school in Los Angeles, and even in a crappy school a good student can thrive and go on and do well, it's more what they bring to it, and their environment at home. Homeschooling may not be a bad idea (or home enrichment activities maybe?)

Anonymous said...

>The education system in Canada is run by the government and it is FABULOUS.

Um. Yeah. That's what the international scores say. SURE.

The subs showing movies are due to teachers without lesson plans--unacceptable.

The Chappell Fam said...

Makes me want to go back to teaching . . .