Saturday, November 01, 2008

What teachers really think...

"pompous, uneducated parents"

The Frustrated Teacher... keeping it real


tft said...

Thanks for the link!

Look, you have made a number of snide remarks about the stupidity of your kids' teachers. As a teacher I can't let it go, so I "keep it real" by knocking you off your high horse, at least until you get your credential and into the classroom.

Hey, I read your blog! You are clearly an intelligent guy. Your lack of a BA is just fodder for me to use on you--but I have never called you stoopid. I may disagree with you on some things, but I think we actually agree on many others, like parental responsibility [for which I give you props, though you (or I, for that matter) don't deserve them--it is the least we can do as parents, right?] and the ridiculousness of how the system works.

We want the same things for our kids, and America's kids. Let's keep working toward that end, and I hope a friendly rivalry.

Got any more salmon?

Parentalcation said...

Actually, I probably disagree with you on parental responsibility. Well at least sort of.

I think the education system should be set up with the assumption that their will be zero parental help at home.

Improving parental involvement as an education strategy is unrealistic, as it's outside the control of the education system.

Instead, I would advocate for longer school days, less/simpler homework, a longer school year, and an adoption of effective pedagogy.

And... I didn't actually call the teachers stupid... I call their "projects" stupid.

Having said that... I do appreciate the comments.

And... come on over: tonight it's Halibut and Crab taco's with home made pico de gallo, coleslaw, fresh tortillas, and lots of cilantro. All served with ice cold Stella Artois.

tft said...

Well, I am not convinced taking a kibbutz model to education is going to work. Parents must take responsibility, just as we must get off foreign oil. We simply have no other option.

As for your claim you only call the projects stupid, you deleted the post in which you called the teacher an idiot, remember?

I love crab. I have a friend up there in the country of Alaska, and one of these days I'm going to get up there. If you and I are close enough, we will drink beer, on you (I got no money! I'm a teacher!)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Rory....stop the stupid projects. The time my daughter spent making a model of a mission last year could have been spent much more productively actually learning California history.

tft said...

By the way, I don't assign projects to my second graders. In fact, at Parent Night (when I tell the parents what they can expect from my class) I make it clear that I don't need them, don't want them around, and if I did need them around, what would that say about my ability to teach?

So rory, when I said somewhere that you and I are closer than you think, I meant it; we are.

I make the assumption that the parents of my students are useless, uninterested, and no help. Not that it's true, but that is my working assumption. My homework can be done by the kids with NO help from anyone. I tell them not to do it at daycare because inevitably the daycare teacher is not a teacher at all, and is usually a low-paid, uneducated, uninterested old lady.

I tell my students to do it at home; its called HOMEWORK. And I expect THEM to do it, not their parents.

So, yeah, a lot of what gets assigned is useless. My comment had to do with your calling teachers idiots.

Mind you, these kids whose parents are useless will have a harder time in school. Kids need involved parents. School and teachers won't save them. Yeah, some will save themselves, but that will be their doing, not mine.

Beer and crab now?

Anonymous said...


"I tell them not to do it at daycare because inevitably the daycare teacher is not a teacher at all, and is usually a low-paid, uneducated, uninterested old lady."

Your part of the day is at the school. My part of the day is everything else. Don't tell my kids when to do your busywork. If they can get it done at daycare, that is good.

By the way, my daycare provider is much more informed, likely more intelligent than many of the teachers are the school we send our kids.

I work, my kids are in daycare. Their homework is almost always mindless busywork. I accept that teachers have to give out a lot of busywork in the classroom, but I object to them sending home busywork. When they get busywork, they should get it done wherever, as soon as possible to get it out of the way so that we can have family time, go to sports, dance, 4-H, whatever we choose to do with our time.


tft said...

Jane, if you choose to do things other than school work with your kids, fine. Just don't blame the teachers. It seems a reasonable expectation that a parent would be involved in their kid's school work. I think our divergence here is very enlightening; you want school to do everything so you don't have to, I think you ought to be involved. Diff'rent strokes, I guess.

Independent George said...

It seems a reasonable expectation that a parent would be involved in their kid's school work.

It's reasonable to expect a parent to make sure a kid does his work. It's not reasonable to expect a parent to help teach the subject at home. And, to go back to the point of Rory's original point, it's most definitely unreasonable to expect homework in an academic assignment to involve construction paper and glue.

tft said...

It's not reasonable to expect a parent to help teach the subject at home.

Seriously? Just leave it up to the school/teacher, and if your kid can't read, or write, or add then you're not to blame? Wow. We are in different worlds.

When I became a parent I assumed the outcome for my son depended more on me than his teacher. You seem to think the opposite.

I am not advocating construction paper and glue, but, just "making sure a kid does his work" seems a rather meager notion of parenting.

But, I'm just a liberal do-gooder, or something.

Parentalcation said...

TFT, your point is actually anti-liberal.

By relying on parents to do the job of teachers, you ensure that kids of engaged parents (read white/middle and upper class) will always have an advantage.

Most teachers don't know diddly squat about effective homeword. They assign it because everyone else assigns it, and everyone has always assigned it.

I don't mind homework, as long as it's purpose is to reinforce things learned at school. What I do mind is homework that requires a parent to "teach".

I have five kids and have been through roughly 40 teachers. Most teachers wing it when it comes to homework. It shows.

Anonymous said...

"I think our divergence here is very enlightening; you want school to do everything so you don't have to, I think you ought to be involved"

The school has my children for six hours every workday. I expect that time to be used wisely. I expect that my children will be exposed to material they have not mastered and work on learning it. If that is expecting the school to do everything, well I guess I do.

I send my kids to school well fed and well rested. They have been taught manners and are expected to behave. I also expect the school to put some effort into teaching them.

My older daughter has spent the majority of the past four years in school reading under her desk because she is a gifted kid stuck in a heteregenous classroom. If there is not enough for her to do in the classroom, there is absolutely no reason for her teacher to send work home.

And no, it is not reasonable for the parent to help teach the subject at home. It is not reasonable to assume that parents have the skills to teach subjects at home. The Latino parents who did not finish elementary school cannot help with algebra. I cannot help my kids with art projects.

I don't mind homework that has some purpose, but most of it is timewasting busywork.

tft said...

Would you, as a parent who self-identifies as one who cannot help with the education of your child, assume that once you get better teachers all the students taught by them will be better prepared to help their kids than you, or those parents to whom you refer, are?

Seems to me, yes. And if so, when did education get so bad? When you were young? Or is the notion that teachers should be the only ones teaching your child just ridiculous?

Anonymous said...


I don't know when education got so bad. I do know that when I was in elementary school, 1) I had no homework and 2) I have no recall of reading books under my desk all day waiting for the teacher to get to material I didn't already know. My kids experience both of those things.

When I was in high school (I didn't go to middle school), there was no way my parents could help with my homework. I did it because the teachers, during the school day, explained how to do it.

The notion that anyone other than the teachers are responsible for teaching leaves the children without a support system out in the cold.

The kids with uneducated parents, alcholic parents, uninterested parents deserve a chance for a decent education too. They didn't pick their parents.

Besides, if parents are responsible for educating their kids, what purpose, exactly, do teachers serve?


tft said...

I think you missed my point. If you are saying that teachers need to teach, I agree. If the end result of that teaching is that the students learn, good, we agree. Now, when these educated kids grow up and have children, do you expect them to ignore those children and leave education to the teachers?

When do parents play a part? And do we expect every parent to act like an irresponsible addict? Or are we trying to create a society where those parents are few and far between?

Leaving your life, or your child's life, in anyone's hands but your own, especially if you are able and willing, is negligent.

Assuming teachers are the cure perpetuates a society that abdicates responsibility for those they bring into the world.

Your kids are YOUR responsibility, no matter how punitive you want to be toward teachers,

Anonymous said...

Whoa--every parent who doesn't teach/reteach stuff that comes home on worksheets is an irresponsible addict? That's pretty harsh. But then, both my parents were alcoholic. My dad was also a doctor and my mom a nurse--both well respected community members. As it happens my dad did teach me to read--in kindergarten, ahead of the school's schedule, so I was one of those kids who learned to count ahead to the sentence that I would get to read in reading group and then mark it with my finger while I read ahead.

It's not so simple as dividing parents into responsible and irresponsible. I gave up any addictive substances (except coffee) ages and ages ago--certainly before my children were born. But I had to back off early on when I realized that a good parent couldn't make up for an inadequate education--and trying to teach/reteach every evening and re-punish every school infraction (as expected) was making our homelife as miserable as my kid's school life.

I have had a lot of teachers tell me (directly or indirectly) that I should be fixing my kid when he isn't learning, and catching him up when he falls behind. As someone mentioned--I see that my kid gets to school clothed, fed, rested (although this doesn't mean he won't fall asleep in class), and a good deal beyond. I take on seeing that he has a healthy network that accepts him as the person he is, rather than the cog that someone else wants him to be, filling in a good bit of the art/history/music/socialization that he isn't likely to get in school. But I get really frustrated when I read accusations that parents just want the schools to raise their kids. I just don't know a lot of folks like that.

(different anonymous)

tft said...

Whoa--every parent who doesn't teach/reteach stuff that comes home on worksheets is an irresponsible addict?

I don't think I said that. I think you are being a bit sensitive; your alcoholic parents did what they were supposed to do by teaching you, regardless of their addiction. My point is that we should expect just that, responsibility in the face of whatever, not abdication.

Read my post again. I did not direct it toward those who do what I suggest, and raise their kids--like you and your parents did, apparently.


Anonymous said...


I think you missed my point. I said (or tried to say) that if my child has time to waste at school, with the teacher's knowledge and consent,(that would be reading under her desk during classtime)then the teacher should not send work home.

We have better things to do than busywork.

Raising children includes taking them to sports practice, to dance and letting them veg in somewhat unproductive down time. It also involves teaching them to distinquish between productive and unproductive work.

Busywork is by definition unproductive work.


And, no matter how educated my line gets, I don't know if anyone will ever be able to do construction paper and glue productively.