Teacher Unrest: Has It Finally Reached the Boiling Point?

Posted: September 3, 2012 in From Student to Teacher
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Life has been a compendium of opposites.  I believe it all started in elementary school, when at least 80% of the Catholic priests in New York City looked like the billboard models you see up high in Times Square.  Humans are always fascinated with what they can’t have, drawn to the idea of forbidden desires.

Naturally, my favorite television features were of a similar theme: The Thorn Birds (who could forget this series?), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and even the obnoxious but cute The Nanny.  I followed just such a vein in my own pursuits by going against the grain of expectation and marrying a solid Irish/English-American WASP.  Although I did manage to inculcate him into the delicious world of Puerto Rican cuisine, it was a marriage doomed from the start.

One other show I enjoyed, and have seen every episode at least twice, was Who’s the Boss?, starring Tony Danza, who has aged quite well.  The friendship of Tony and Angela, played by  Judith Light, was another lesson is opposites, and their eventual love for each other was simply the cream cheese icing on the cake for me.  I ate it up.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to read this article and view this video about Tony Danza’s experience as a high school teacher:


It seems Tony Danza has written a book about education and the year he spent teaching in Philadelphia.  What’s more, he is passionately expounding on the situation teachers face, with the myriad of problems teenagers bring to the classroom each day, and how it affects teachers.  It’s about time!

It’s also interesting to note the imminent strike in Chicago’s Public Schools, which will have a powerful impact on hundreds of thousands of students.  I say STRIKE!  Check out the link on my front page for this article.

It’s time to stop talking about an empty chair and deal with the reality in the classrooms, the ineffectiveness of administration, the bureaucracy that has saturated this country worse than the levees in New Orleans.  It’s election time.  Teachers all over this country should stand up and demand to be heard.

It’s just like gas prices.  If everybody had taken heed to the mass emails telling Americans to stay away from all gas stations on a certain day, it would have forced the prices down.  In just such a way, if teachers banded together with a common focus and set of goals, someone might actually take them seriously.  Someone might begin to notice.

One of the problems is that we are a world saturated with information.  News flits into our consciousness for a matter of minutes, and promptly leaves, to be replaced by more and more information, which does exactly the same thing.

Non-educators say we’re always griping about money, and we should be grateful to have so much vacation time.  Look at the blogs and books about education in other countries like Finland, where teachers are educated and treated on the same level with doctors.  They are afforded the same level of respect (and salary) as those life-savers.  The custodian at my last school was earning a higher salary than me.

I believe, however, that teachers want more than just money.  I would have gladly accepted the same salary for another year if it meant all the other crap would change.

What crap? The power-hungry, anal administrators, the assault of standardized testing, the blame game upon teachers, the psycho parents, the lack of resources, the lack of instructional time, the glorifying of sports over academics, etc.  The list goes on.

Clearly, fixing education is a daunting task.  But it must start somewhere.  Good for you Tony Danza!  Thanks.



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