Saturday, February 19, 2011

I support "the teacher"

This week I have read two very different stories from and about two very different teachers. The first story was about a Pennsylvania teacher named Natalie Munroe who said horrific things about her students on a publicly accessible blog. Read the news story here. She made comments such as "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners." She also talked about things she wished she could have put on student evaluations such as "I hear the trash company is hiring," "I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son," and "Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?" The friend who posted this said that she supported the teacher. I have a very different take on this story.

I had teachers like Natalie Munroe. They were critical, uncaring, and demeaning. I have lifelong scars from those teachers. Munroe is a high school teacher. My teachers were grade school teachers. I cannot begin to tell you how much I thank God that I did not have a teacher like Munroe in high school. I went to high school with major baggage. I was dealing with serious self esteem and confidence issues from early childhood bullying from teachers and students. I became involved in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, and at one point, I tried to commit suicide. I don't know how having a teacher like Munroe would have affected me in high school. I know it wouldn't have been a positive experience. Luckily, I had teachers like Mr. Terry Verlo, science teacher. He was exceptionally kind. He taught me that I was worthy of kindness even when I felt that I did not deserve it. I also had teachers like Mr. George Fisher, history teacher. He taught me that my ideas and thoughts had value and were worth listening to and discussing. I had teachers like Mr. Charles Barber, English teacher. He always made me smile in class. He taught me that we students were important by trying to make learning fun and trying to engage us. I had teachers like Mr. Curtis Anderson, music teacher. He taught me that I could pour my energy into the things I was passionate about, and he inspired me to be more than I thought I could be. There were others as well who made a positive impact in my life.

I thank God for those teachers. Teachers have incredible influence on their students even if they don't (as it seems Munroe does not) realize it.

The second story I read this week was written by a former teacher named Peggy Robertson. She writes eloquently and beautifully about the joys and frustrations of being a teacher. I don't want to paraphrase too much of what she said here. I would encourage you to read the post for yourself. Here is a former teacher who WANTS to teach. She WANTS to fight to make the system better as opposed to spending her energy putting down the very people she is supposed to be helping. I may be idealistic, but I truly believe there are more Peggy Robertson's in the world than there are Natalie Munroe's. I believe that most teachers go into teaching because they truly want to teach students. What a beautiful privilege to be a part of helping a child become the person they were meant to be!

I am currently in school studying to be a high school teacher. This summer there will be a march in Washington D.C. You can read more about it here. I really want to be there. You see, I support the teacher. I support the teachers who are out there trying to make the world a better place. I support the teachers who are out there working their butts off fighting the "teach to the test" mentality. I support the teachers who are out there every day trying to find a way to help that one student who just isn't "getting it." I support the Mr. Verlo's, Mr. Fisher's, Mr. Barber's, Mr. Anderson's, and the multitude of others who are inspiring students. I support the teacher.