Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

education-related rants

1) A while ago i thought teaching high school English was what i wanted to do with my life. The most common response i got to that was that, oh, i could do so much better. There’s a Newsweek editorial i have a photocopy of somewhere, in which the author points out that wouldn’t you want the best and the brightest teaching your kids? I love that article. And the issue of pay brings in a huge ranty-type essay about class and money and i'm just not up for that at the moment.

2) People suggest that perhaps i could teach at the college level. I understand the rationale behind this, but what i hate so much about teaching at the college level is the “publish or perish.” I understand that it’s important to keep abreast of the new developments in your field, but that doesn’t mean you should have to do research and publish articles. Particularly in fields such as literature, there often isn’t much new to say. And if you’re paying people to teach, you should evaluate them on their teaching . I understand that is difficult, but so is life, deal. I hate this in regular school, too, where salary increases are based only on seniority and how many often-useless professional development days (and their ilk) you have attended.

3) The situation which precipitated this (series of) rant(s) necessitates an introduction for most of you. My father, brilliant and wonderful man, has been substitute teaching for about 6 years. Mostly at the high school. The kids think he’s the best substitute ever. He’s nice and is able and willing to help the students with their work. The past few years he’s been substituting nearly every day and is usually the first to get called, meaning he gets his pick of who to sub for (by now he knows who has a lot of difficult classes, plus it’s nice when he has classes where he actually knows the subject matter). Oftentimes when one covers a study hall, many of your students have or ask for passes to go elsewhere. Sometimes when you issue a student a pass to one place, he or she ends up somewhere else. This is not your fault, and a regular substitute tends to learn which students can be trusted, but no one is perfect.

So anyway, around mid-November, my dad had a really bad class and the home ec teacher came by and said she was having a speaker and if any of the kids in my dad’s class wanted to, they could come. So my dad issued a pass to some kids to go down there. Later, one of the gym teachers is upset because they’re coming out of the boys’ locker room. My dad had been scheduled to be this teacher a couple other days, but that gets cancelled and my dad doesn’t get called much for the next couple weeks. Finally he asks what’s up, gets referred to the vice principal (who’s in charge of substitutes and also gets stuck handling many of the discipline problems -- my dad says it’s a position with a lot of responsibility and not much power, which is a very bad combination.) and the principal. Turns out he’s been knocked down the totem pole so to speak. A lot of kids end up the vice principal’s office for being places they’re not supposed to be, with passes from my dad (admittedly something he had mentioned to my dad a couple times before) and also, some teachers have said that they don’t want my dad subbing for their classes (which is the part that made me go WTF!!! ‘cause i don’t know who the hell that would be and am damn curious). Since it’s not like they fired my dad or anything, they figured it’s not like they had any obligation to tell my dad what was going on. I found this out yesterday (unfortunately after i had visited the high school, where i could have been all good and gossipy) because people forget to tell me things when i’m away at school and am much calmer regarding it than i was when i first found out.

[edited to add, while i'm griping, that honorary degrees irk me]

Unrelatedly, at dinner last night my mother randomly mentioned that she wants to have her body donated to a Body Farm. She says she read about it in Reader’s Digest. Apparently it’s where people learn how to do CSI-type stuff. She thinks it’s one of the cooler things one could do with one’s body after one is dead. And speaking of CSI, who else saw last night’s 9pm rerun and totally wanted to slash Julia and Claudia at the end?
Tags: fanfic: ideas, issues: education

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