This morning I turned on the television just in time to catch Harry Smith with his gorgeously bald head reporting on the most recent "teacher tirade."
Apparently, this guy, a broken-looking man with 20 years of teaching experience, finally *nutted up and started throwing shit around the room.
Might I say......
He didn't hurt anybody and, eventually, once he started picking up and hauling larger objects, actually managed to scare the little shits.
The report focused on the teacher of course, on the fact that he is now in a hospital (you know, that kind), and his remorse for what happened, as expressed through his sister's statement to the media. Prompted by said statement, there was the obligatory, open-ended questions towards the end of the report as to the greater societal significance of the event, but sadly CBS's The Early Show did not, at least immediately, parlay their report into a true discussion or analysis of the greater issue, which in my opinion is not the sensationalism of a teacher misbehaving, but the consistent, soul-wearying misbehavior and disrespect from the students that can lead to a teacher's breakdown/crack-up.
In a sort of flip of Donal Brian Wood's situation, approximately one year after exiting a hospital (you know, that kind), I had recovered to the point (and needed money/a vocation to the point) that I began teaching (the gig at the movie theater didn't work out), even though I had decided a few years previously, during my teaching internship, that I did not want to teach, that it was just too much hardship trying to get teenagers to do anything with their brains besides eat, sleep and wreak havoc.
Teaching was horrible. Horrific. I'm glad I'm a waitress.
And why? Because the students were terrible. Not all of them, but a majority. I would say 98%, and that was my experience because the odds were stacked against me as a new teacher. They give the most challenging classes, with the most behaviorally challenged students, to the newest teachers. This is the equivilant, to put it in terms for those outside of the teaching profession, of taking a new employee, one with really long arms, introducing him to the meat grinder that's been acting up for weeks now, and telling him to have at it - after all, he read the manual, right?
I failed at teaching not because I was a nut, and not because I wasn't a kind, smart, well-educated, charasmatic, earnest, devoted person, because I am those things, including the nut part, but I failed at teaching, in part, because I couldn't control the students.
So the next time you hear about or see a clip of a teacher who has lost control, well, think of the students. They were probably out of control long before he was. The teacher hasn't just all of a sudden lost control of himself, he lost control, or never had, control of the students.
It's a difficult thing to do, controlling students. And it shouldn't be so difficult.
That's all I'm saying.
I know that teenagers, generally, are shits. That's the nature of the beast, and a lot of factors contribute, but it's not all of them, it's not all of the students, and those students are proof positive that well-behaved, mostly well-mannered offspring is possible.
Parents need to give us students that will show us respect, and will have a willingness to learn. And if they can't? Well, then they need to just keep them at home.
(Wow, I just realized that I used the word "us" back there, referring to teachers. I guess it's kind of like being in the military - once a Marine, always a Marine.....School, after all, is a war zone. )
*Thank you to Tara for the phrase "nutted up;" ever since you introduced it, I have fully adopted it into my vernacular and use it on an almost daily basis and think of you well when I do.