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The Annual Autumn Teacher Blues – Part 1/3

21 Aug

I retired from teaching August 2005, and every year near autumn, I started losing sleep, which was a direct result of years of abuse/stress dished out by parents, students, administrators, politicians and ignorant idiots that believe everything they hear or read in the media about how horrible public school teachers and their unions are, which is wrong.

Usually, when I complain about the years I taught, one of those ignorant idiots leaves a comment saying I am just another disgruntled teacher that could not teach or I’ve been brainwashed by the liberals.

However, if you are one of those ignorant idiots, I suggest you discover what kind of teacher I was from from the media—a piece published in the Rowland Heights Highlander December 3, 1998, which gives a brief glimpse into the success I experienced as teacher for thirty years.

Starting in autumn and for the entire school year I often lost sleep due to difficult students, mean spirited parents, and administrators pressuring me to inflate grades to pass more students.

Then this week, an e-mail arrived from a younger friend that is still teaching (more than 20 years). I could sense the same suffering in this teacher’s words.  He/she asked me not to write about some of the stuff in the e-mail so I will avoid those topics and keep this teacher’s identity private.

However, I am going to share some of what this teacher wrote.

“I am highly motivated,” the teacher-friend said. “I still want to teach, but I have lost a lot of my passion for it due to the lack of support from parents, administrators, non-motivated students, etc.  Also, American society does not really value education.”

In addition, “The way education is headed, makes our (other teachers at the same school) stomachs turn sour.  There is growing talk among localities, states, etc. about terminating seniority.  Some states have already done it under the umbrella of Right to Work‘.  Some states have a clause that states they are ‘A Right to Work’ state, which sounds semantically awesome, but this was a dream child of big business.”

Basically, the ‘Right to Work’ clause allows businesses and school districts to circumvent unions.

My teacher-friend said Idaho is a perfect example and mentioned another teacher that had a teaching friend in Idaho that said a district in Idaho wanted to equip all of its students with laptops except it didn’t have funding to do that.

To come up with this funding, that one school district in Idaho invoked the ‘Right to Work’ clause and fired the teachers with the most seniority.

Teachers with 20, 25, and 30 years of experience lost their teaching jobs before they were ready to retire on their own.  This saved the district much money; hence, that district had the money to buy the laptops for all of its students.

Note from Blog host, “I’d like to know the name of this district in Idaho.”

In conclusion, my teacher-friend said, “The point here is even if I wanted to teach for 30 years, I might not make it.  I could see my district getting rid of me to save money.”

Continued on August 22, 2011 in The Annual Autumn Teacher Blues – Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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