I know a teacher pretty well, and I know nasty little secrets she’s not telling.
She sneaks out of bed at 4:45 every morning. No one else is up. No one’s watching her. At that hour, she can do whatever she wants without consequence.
She sneaks downstairs and puts on her make-up in front of the TV. She also encrypts mysterious lesson plans into a little black book. Names and numbers. Goals and strategies. Like a KGB agent plotting a mission to flip a Navy Radioman.
At some point, she eats breakfast and creeps back upstairs to do her hair and get dressed.
Yeah, it’s 14 degrees out, but this teacher’s on a mission. She fires up her Jeep and backs out of the driveway at 6:25. She’s packing her lunch and books and papers and a plot. A plot no one’s telling you about.
That plot’s what’s so threatening to America.
See, there are kids who don’t think as straight as your kids. They struggle. They’re vulnerable.
This teachers knows who they are. She knows their weaknesses and their strengths. She knows how to get into their heads and plant subversive ideas. And she’s really damn good at it.
So these kids who’ve been pre-selected for failure get these ideas in their heads that upset the plan. They start scoring better on secret little tests, so the teacher gives them bigger tests.
They go from 50 to 74 in just a year. Plus they get along better with other kids.
Kids who should be ashamed of their flaws instead grin those obnoxious, gapped babytooth-missingtooth-grownuptooth-grins because, for the first times in their lives, they scored with their grade level.
That’s how dangerous this teacher is.
Now the question is: what the hell do we do about her?
We spent our adult lives vilifying the evil Public School Teacher. We molded caricatures of these creatures sure to rally public sentiment against their nasty breed. We developed narratives – complete with pathetic victims — designed to make the kindest heart turn to stone when confronted with The Teacher.
And these evil teachers, shrewd as they are, ignored our work and went on trying to turn little, predictable failures into happy people with meaningful lives.
But we have hope. In every district there’s one or two crappy teachers—imposters, really. People who use the classroom to advance personal political agendas and hold back the smart kids. Just like there’s Navy sailors who sell secrets to the Soviets and priests who diddle little boys and CEOs who hide debt and lie about revenue. At least we can take solace in the knowledge that not all teachers are heroes.
Reality Check #
For conservatives, ragging on teachers, blaming them for our stupid kids, is a sport. Yes, the teachers’ unions are working to undermine America. But so are 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 CEOs. Do you really think the CEO of GE gives a crap if America remains the world’s strongest economy? Eighty percent of Fortune 500 CFOs would, in their words, destroy shareholder value in order to meet Wall Street’s quarterly expectations. And we’re demonizing teachers?
Teachers are not their unions. From kindergarten to 49-years-old, all but a couple teachers I’ve ever met live and die for their kids. And I bet I’ve met more than you have. (For one thing, I was in college for 32 years.) Sure, the Department of Education has been a disaster for learning, but teachers didn’t create the DoE. Jimmy Carter and Congress did. And Ronald Reagan didn’t kill it as he promised.
Here’s What It’s Like To Be Married To A Teacher #
Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been driving down the highway wishing my wife would just fucking quit teaching so I didn’t have to hear about her students? I mean, she married ME, not THEM, but even on Valentine’s Day the only thing she talks about is how this one fifth-grader is mentoring kindergarteners and that one is reading at grade level and another one hasn’t been suspended in a year.
So I ask you: who’s the selfish, angry, greedy bastard in all of this? The teacher who lives and dies for her students, or the Tea Party “leader” who’s sick of hearing about her damn kids?
If you think Bill Hennessy works for America’s future, you’re wrong. It’s his wife. A teacher. And as much as I love her, I’m afraid, in that regard, she’s not an exception. **That’s the way teachers are. **
Happy Valentine’s Day, baby. A little late, but that’s because I didn’t pay attention to Sr. Ann Gregory when she tried to teach me about calendars in second grade.
My fault, not hers.