Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I attended a school board meeting. I was one of many teachers who crowded into the board room and the hallway, spilling out almost onto the sidewalk. We said little or nothing, just applauded when our representatives spoke. Our presence, however, made our position clear; we are the teachers. We do the work. We want to continue doing good work for the children. Bashing us into the ground isn't the strategy that will improve education.
Then, at 12:01 A.M., the recall movement officially began. If every teacher recruits ten people to sign a recall petition, we'll have it done. All the while, this story wove its way through my mind. It's worth another retell.
Let's call her Mrs. Lerner, the teacher in this story. Mrs. Lerner passed away, and continued on her peaceful way toward the pearly gates. St. Peter met her with, "Welcome, Mrs. Lerner. Here in Heaven, we all make contributions. What would you like to do?" Mrs. Lerner responded, "I'm a teacher, so I'll teach."Stumble It!
Peter called over St. John-Baptiste de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers, and had him escort Mrs. Lerner to her new classroom. When she got there, she was was shocked to see the conditions. 40 desks. 35 textbooks, all outdated. Pencils, pens, and paper were sufficient to supply the class for perhaps one day, no computers existed, and a cracked chalkboard hung on the front wall. A single piece of paper lay on the teacher's desk, reminding her of hall duty and recess duty.
"Holy crap, St. Johnny-B. What the hell is this?" she exclaimed.
Suddenly, Mrs. Lerner was in an entirely different locale, escorted by a devilishly handsome young man. With a fiendish smile and a flick of his very attractive -um - tail, he brought her to a very different classroom. 15 desks, well-equipped with supplies, books of all reading levels and interests, an interactive whiteboard, a stack of iPads enough for the entire group, and behind each student, supportive parents. On her desk lay a contract offering the opportunity to bargain for decent working conditions as long as she continued to teach.
"I don't understand," she murmured, shaking her head. "Why the advantages here, of all places?"
The devilishly handsome escort twitched his - um - tail, smiled his fiendish smile, and slyly reminded the dedicated educator, "Mrs. Lerner, when you asked the governor for this, where did he tell you to go?"