Looking for a prompt for today’s post (yeah, I guess I don’t have too much to pontificate as I thought), I came across a great post: “Things to Never Say to a Teacher” http://singingpigs.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/things-never-to-say-to-a-teacher/.
I do feel the need to write my own version. Here it is. You’re welcome.
THINGS TO NEVER SAY TO A TEACHER: AP Version (especially a short/stoutish, 30-something AP teacher at a Hilliard High School who happens to advise a publication and who happens to teach in the A wing)
1. Have you graded my paper yet?
If I had, would you be asking me this question? No. I haven’t. And I don’t look forward to it. Have I ripped to shreds 62 four-page essays by noting everything you did well (cause I can’t handle you sniveling so I will say something nice) and what you did NOT do well, which includes THE SPELLING OF MY NAME? Also, did you check Home Access? No? Oh, ok. Sure, don’t bother. Just ask me every day until I want to cry and break down and just give you that A+ you undoubtedly deserve. Oh, that reminds me:
2. What can I do to get an A+?* (I do teach AP; an A just isn’t good enough. Particularly when the grades are weighted. I mean, how is a kid supposed to be #1 in their class without a 5.789 GPA?)
Well, since this is supposed to be a college class, it does make sense that your first foray into AP would allow you to think an A should be automatic. I mean, if you simply do what I say, like “Write a paper,” wouldn’t that warrant a 100%? Don’t worry about your lack of style, boring vocabulary, ambiguous evidence and complete misunderstanding of what letters make which sounds. I guess if you really want an A, you could ask me some questions once in a while, show some interest in class and stop coloring notes to your friends, hanging out on Twitter, or staring at the wall. You could probably do some homework and maybe meet with me to talk about your paper BEFORE you turn it in. But none of that matters if the A pops up. Cause that’s all that matters.
(*I particularly like when parents ask this… “what can my child do to get an A?” Because unrealistic expectations and extreme pressure to succeed are healthy. I think. I’m pretty sure. It’s always best to emphasize grades rather than hard work and learning for learning’s sake, which is pretty lame.)
3. Must be nice having all that time off. How do you stay busy?
Yeah, mostly I just sit around with my feet up. That’s true throughout the year, but especially in the summer, when I’m revamping my classes, reading new potential texts for class or spending time with my family. During the school year, working 9 hours and then going home to grade papers, all while attending various extracurricular activities and fielding parent and student emails at all hours, is pretty much like sitting around eating bonbons. And the recommendation letters? Forget it! I only have about 5 to write each week, which require some actual thought. So that time off is almost unfair. I kind of hate it.
4. It must be nice getting paid in the summer for not even working.
Yeah. See #3. Oh, wait. I have more: I have 2 degrees. Plus professional development hours that are higher than you can probably count. I have a professional license to practice what I happen to be damn good at. I manage other people’s children all day, every day. I believe the service I provide is worth the shockingly average salary I bring home. I keep doing it because I enjoy it. But the constant barage of media coverage of how perverted/stupid/overpaid/unaccountable teachers are? Not enjoying that. One can only take so much.
5. I’ll never use this in my life.
Oh, shit. You figured it out. Education is a racket. Basically, a pyramid scheme. Sorry. Sad face.
Reading, writing, analysis and understanding how civilization works is so lame. Geez. And why trust the adults who have been to college and who have held actual jobs? Obviously they have no idea what they’re talking about. Losers.
6. Oh, you’re an English teacher? Are you going to correct my grammar?
Yeah, probably, but only in my head, the only place I can destroy you and be honest with you… cause if there’s one thing educators can’t do, it’s be honest. Should you take AP? Maybe, but probably not. Since the whole phonics thing is foreign to you. But I can’t say that. Or really anything except “nice work” or “could be more organized” or something similarly inconsequential.
But I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, because I can and because for every stupid question or comment, there are 5 exponentially great things that happen in my class or in my school. And if you listen hard, you can hear me laughing through the block walls. There are few things funnier than teenagers…
Epilogue: I can’t talk about the all day PD teacher meeting that I sat through today. It’s too soon. Too soon.