“Become a teacher. Your country needs you.” President Obama

The highest paid teacher in my community makes $90,000 a year…he is, of course, the PE teacher/football coach, because that’s our tax dollars wisely appropriated.

If we don’t find teachers willing to teach through the nightmare of NCLB, we won’t have teachers to carry on once it is repealed. I work in remedial education and daily I hear comments from kids like…

“Why do I need to learn multiplication? I have a calculator.”

“Books are stupid.”

“Why should I learn Spanish, they should hafta learn English.”

“What am I ever going to use Civics for?”

“English is stupid, I should get to write any way I want to.”

“I don’t wanna do classes over the summer! I wanna hang out at the mall!” Thankfully, in this instance, Mom’s response was, “Well, I hope you like the mall – because when you’re working that minimum wage job you’ll be spending a lot of time there – you just won’t be able to buy anything!”

And, most notably, the following conversation…

Student: “Why would Shakespeare make up names like that — Julius Caesar is a weird name. And the story is so lame!”

Me: “Um, that particular play is based in fact, Roman history to be exact. You know, Julius Caesar – one of Rome’s greatest emperors.”

Student: blank stare.

Me: “Did you take Western Civ, or World History?”

Student: “Course I did! My teacher didn’t cover Rome. Who cares about Rome — isn’t that some foreign country?”

Me (somewhat reluctantly, ok, so filled with total and complete horror): “Where do you want to go to college?”

Student: “Harvard, or some other Ivy League school.”

Me: blank stare.

She was a junior in high school.

We need to re-access our education system before the people in charge have that sort of mentality. The system was “designed” to educate a populace to work in factories – and that’s not who we are anymore.

90% of high school English teachers think that their students are prepared for college – 99% of college professors believe their students arrive unprepared. That is a frightening gap.

I hold five degrees; BAs in History and English, MAs in Literature and Rhetoric (Composition), and an MFA in Creative Writing (Non Fiction). I graduated near the top of my class for each degree. And I am considered unqualified to teach in American high schools. Really? How insane is that? I am not considered “highly qualified” under NCLB. I can teach at the University level.

The system was in desperate need of reform when Mr. Bush (an average student, at best) designed NCLB, he pushed it through without the support of the educational community… His followers supported – and support — the notion that intellectuals are bad; they are what’s destroying our nation and not the dumbing down of America.

If we don’t do something – anything — to support educational initiatives soon we will end up just like Rome did…

We have to find educators willing to work through the change for less money than they actually deserve to start…


4 thoughts on ““Become a teacher. Your country needs you.” President Obama

  1. Great post, Mel. The comments from your students are horrifying. I admire you for working with them.

    One important thing to remember is the echoing drumbeat from the House and Senate throughout the writing of NCLB: bipartisanship. We can heave some of the responsibility on to Bush, but do you really think he’s capable of crafting such a detailed document with such wide spread ramifications? Democrats and Republicans touted the bipartisanship as if to say, “Hey constituents, look how nicely we play together. Now, let’s talk reelection.”

    At the risk of sounding like my grandfather, I don’t trust any of them.

    • Catherine: Oh, I could go on about things students say. It would make you want to retreat to a far away place and never speak to anyone under 30 again!

      I know Mr. Bush did not “write” the NCLB law – but it was his vision. I don’t trust any of them either. But I believe we need to be vocal.

      We get the government we deserve. With so many apathetic Americans (which is shocking in our politically over-charged world) we are left with only the poles speaking. ☹

  2. Agreed, agreed, agreed, Mel. Wait–disregard my comment. I’m still working my last year under 30.

    • LOL. God willing, there will be many people turning thirty who are at least half as bright as you — it gives me hope for my old age!

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