Archive for June, 2008

Hot for teacher? Or sizzling for student?

Mary Kay Latourneau. Debra Lafave. Pamela Smart. What do these three women have in common?  They were school teachers who had sex with students.  They admitted to what they did.  However, one case in Texas had me scratching my head.

I recently watched a two part series about Joelle Ogletree, a teacher from Texas, who was accused of having sexual relations with male students.  According to Ogletree, the boys who made the accusations were lying.  In fact, all three boys failed the polygraph test. But, when Matt, one of the boys, confronted her on the show, his story was so vivid and convincing. Ogletree did not address the sexual acts Matt accused her of, but argued about a peripheral issue, such as timing and when she did or didn’t turn off her car headlights.  Something sounded awfully fishy on her part.

Aside from this Dr. Phil episode, what drives certain teachers to have sexual relations with their students?  I teach adults at my part time job and I have absolutely no interest in dating them.  In a K-12 setting – unthinkable!

Is there any way administrators screen prospective teachers and monitor current teachers to make sure that our children are safe?  How can teachers be protected from being falsely accused of sexual harassment and molestation?

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Who’s to blame?

A couple of days ago, I saw a news clip about Michelle Rhee, the new Washington D.C. schools chancellor.

The news clip talked about how Ms. Rhee is going to terminate a lot of administrators and teachers due to subpar performance on behalf of the students. They showed a video clip of an “on-task” classroom and a video clip of a classroom where the kids were shouting and moving around. Ms. Rhee said that there is no such thing as a bad student.  In fact, the TEACHER is the reason why students engage in off task behavior.

There are a lot of reasons why classroom chaos exists. I believe that Mayor Fenty and Ms. Rhee have good intentions in mind, but terminating administrators and teachers only solves part of the problem. In my humble opinion, there are teachers who do not practice effective instructional delivery or behavior management because they do not have professional support from more seasoned teachers and/or administrators.  Then, there are educators who have no business being in the classroom because they lack professionalism, verbally abuse students, and come into the classroom without any semblance of a lesson plan for the day.

I hope that the Mayor and Ms. Rhee exercise a lot of discernment when they outline their firing and hiring criteria.

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Cast thy net and you shall catcheth

When I was preparing to be a teacher as a fledgling undergrad (I can’t believe it’s been about eight years since I graduated!), I thought that “networking” was a term only used for TV programming and fishing. I assumed that my B.S. and my student teaching would sell my abilities properly and BOOM! I would get the job I would keep for the rest of my life.

So, I have been sending my resume out to my friends and acquaintances, in order to “catch” more contacts, which may lead me to the job God has for me.  I got my previous positions through friends and friends of friends.  I am disciplining myself to wean off the internet and to let myself socialize and do things that I will not have time to do once I am re-initiated into 9-5ville.  I am thankful that I don’t have to rely solely on my wit and willpower and personality to get a job.

While I am not an advocate of passivity and lack of discipline in the job hunting/career changing journey – I am also thankful that my relationship with Jesus Christ has been carrying me through. 

I am far from the stereotypical Victorian Bible beating Church Lady, as showcased through Dana Carvey’s excellent acting skills on old school Saturday Night Live. In fact, I drink beer and bourbon and I watch Roseanne. However, the knowledge that I am loved and protected by Christ has really helped me through life’s incredibly difficult seasons.

If you are reading this and you want to learn more about Jesus, feel free to shoot me an email at sourapplesunite@gmail.com  If you are opposed to my belief system, please continue to hang out here!  This blog is designed for a diverse set of people with backgrounds in the field of education.

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Granny Smith’s Story

I chose the name Granny Smith because 1) it is my favorite apple (just chop some up and add it to chicken salad – it will definitely put some pep in your step) 2) The sourness of the apple reflects the state I have felt since making the decision to change my career from teaching in the classroom to another industry.

I want to state my vulnerabilities out in public because I know that somewhere in the world, there are educators who feel as if they are limited to a narrow part of the professional spectrum. It is lonely and sometimes tear-inducing, but being true to your heart and making the decision to leave the profession is going to pay off in the long run.

Story

The world of education is a very fascinating place. In most, if not all countries, we all have to attend primary, and maybe secondary school. Outside of the parents’ home, our development has been entrusted by our wonderful teachers. If you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs classroom teaching, you may find it surprising that teachers in fields ranging from preschool to trade schools to universities to workplaces (?) put in plenty of time, energy, talent and intellect into their lessons. As soon as the bell has rung, the section has ended and the five o’clock whistle has blown, most teachers’ real workdays have just begun.

I , Granny Smith appreciate all of the teachers who have inspired me to take on a path my family has never taken and continues to have a high respect for the profession.

As a woman who has not seen thirty yet, I am privileged to have taught hundreds of students in the pediatric and adult population. I have managed fourteen classes in three years and worked with a variety of wonderful people.

This website is a place where burned-out teachers who need perspective, confidential guidance and humor can come and take refuge. The site will contain stories you may relate to and my journey through finding a job that will enable me to use my gifts. The purpose of this site is to encourage and empower teachers and support whatever direction they choose to take in their career paths. But because I respect the profession, people and the institutions I have worked for, I choose to speak of my experience in general terms.

There is a sense of guilt that entails leaving any profession, but I have never felt such profound guilt making the decision to leave the teaching profession. Many people in teacher prep programs go in expecting to do this forever. In the US, at least, teaching is seen as a terminal career. Any slight deviation from it, such as educational administration, librarian profession and specialized therapeutic occupations, such as speech language pathology are acceptable in the community. If you feel an ounce of it, don’t feel bad!

I am in the process of seeking employment right now in another industry. Times are tough, but strangely liberating. If you are making a similar transition, I would love to hear your story and support your endeavors.

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