Editorial/Opinion Page-May 2000

Summer is almost here, so school is almost out. I guess that means most kids and teachers are looking forward to summer vacation. I guess I still don't understand the complaint teachers have about how tough they have it. I wish I could work 9 months out of a year and still make a decent living. The thing I have found out about teachers is that there are some excellent ones, and there are some not so excellent ones. As a matter of fact some of them down right suck. The problem is, the really good ones seldom get the recognition they deserve, while the bad ones are usually pretty good at sucking up to school board members or district officials and they manage to better themselves at the expense of the students. The next problem is teachers unions are so powerful that they keep politicians from addressing the real problem with schools-The bad teachers.

Teachers and school officials like to blame parents and families for the decline in education, and I will agree they have a point, some parents aren't as good at it as they should be. Parenting is basically an unpaid volunteer position and most of the volunteers are unskilled at a job they haven't done before and know nothing about. Unfortunately, most won't learn the skills they need to know until it's a little late. Some parents flat out don't care about their kids. That's where the good teachers come in. The ones that care about the kids, actually like kids and do the best job they can to prepare the kids for life despite the problems the kids may have at home. These are the teachers who put up with the politics of their job, parents who blame them for their kid's failures, and continue to show up every day and do their best to make a difference. Well for what it's worth I can think of several of you who have made a difference for a lot of kids. You know who you are, you’re the one's who sometimes wonder why you even try, but then you think about it and you know why.

I can also think of some that should be fired. They are arrogant, self centered, don't like kids and appear to be teaching only to benefit themselves. They seem more interested in controlling kids than teaching them. They know how to use the system to their advantage, and some like to be in the limelight. Unfortunately, the current structure of our school systems makes it near impossible to do anything about them, except maybe go to a different school. You know who you are, you’re the one's who can't wait to get away from the little monsters for a few months. You might even be the ones who like to go out and work for "cash" on the side during the summer. After all you already have a job, so you can work cheaper than any legitimate business can. Maybe if you get good enough at it you will make more than you would teaching and you could switch professions. Wouldn't that be a good deal, both for you and the students. I just hope the good ones don't give up and find something else to do to. We need them.