Teaching Intersections

Because teaching is a time-consuming, hell life-consuming job, it’s fairly easy to find connections everywhere.  I can make anything into a teaching parable or allusion.  Sometimes they are cynical, and other times merely silly.  However, all are worth exploring and considering.

FIGHT CLUB

Teaching has more than its fair share of absolute bat-s*it crazy rules.  The craziest, of course, has to do with the “contract” teachers sign upon CST administrative training.  In short, we are given the first two rules of Fight Club.  For the uninitiated these are:

1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.

We’re actually told that we CANNOT discuss any part of the CST test with, well, anyone.  EVER.  We’re not to look at it, talk about it, or use what we might possibly see to inform our jobs. One has to wonder how the state discovers if questions are poorly written or have no correct answer.  I don’t know about you, but given the high-stakes nature of this test, it seems to me that not looking is INSANE.  Of course there’s no cheating, but not talking?  Whatever, dude.

THE INCREDIBLES

So you’d think it’s crazy enough that we can’t talk about the CST test AT ALL.  However, we’re also not supposed to share certain legal information with families.  You see, there are ways to get what you want from a school if you feel it’s necessary.  However, we’re not allowed to tell you what those procedures are. In this excerpt from The Incredibles, Bob is told to place the company’s needs above those of the insured.  Sigh.  It’s sad to say, but often in schools we teachers are told NOT to inform parents completely.  If we do, the school district is responsible for services and payment.  Since we have no extra money (and it gets worse every year), then we’re implored NOT to tax the system even more. [Note: It’s best to skip to 55 second in and watch for about 1 minute.  I don’t care about the insurance rant aside from how eerie it is and how much it mirrors what we do in other bureaucratic industries.]

Even though there is no extra money to take care of student needs appropriately, administrators will make every attempt (after being strong-armed by district office) to have the teachers take on additional responsibilities (say Response to Intervention) after school with limited money or resources because, after all, “it’s for the children.”

Toy Story 3

I don’t have a video for this; however, when I was watching it this afternoon I had a horrible sickening feeling in my stomach as I listened to Buzz and Company tell WHY they weren’t the best toys for the Caterpillar room.  After all, Andy’s toys were made for a different age group.  Lotso counters that this is immaterial.  After all Andy’s toy are the “youngest” and most energetic toys so they should get the most problematic kids.  This reminded me of how experienced teachers often haze new teachers.  We convince principals that the new teachers should get x, y, z because [insert favorite BS reason here].  After a day in the Caterpillar room Andy’s toys were willing to take attic space.

Teaching has a lot of good aspects to it.  However, the more we try to run education like a business, the worse it seems to become.  Perhaps I’m too cynical when I note that cheap toys made in China are often recalled due to poisons in the production, or that other shortcuts in manufacturing often place our youngest citizens in harm’s way.  Those business models only care about money, not the lives they affect.  Why then, would we pick this model for education.  Unless…  Well, perhaps we really don’t care and “it’s for the kids” is just a catch-phrase.

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