by John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
When I think about all the crap that goes on in the name of American Public Education (APE), I start getting sick to my stomach and then I get mad as hell. Teachers are pummeled these days like they are punching bags – and I don’t mean just by the inept, stupid, myopic, insecure, petty, vindictive, and small-minded administrators – but also by the thuggish so-called students and their numb-skulled, irate, and irresponsible parents. Note: If you are a teacher and cannot relate to this, then drop on your knees and thank the good Lord that you are in one of those very unusual schools that has a supportive administration, supportive parents, and fairly well-behaved students. But, for so many teachers in Georgia (and really all over the nation) today, their jobs would be very rewarding if they were allowed to actually teach and not shuffle papers all day, filling out non-sensical and inane forms just to help some educrat justify his or her job. Meetings and more useless meetings. Useless reports after useless reports. And, of course, the daily indignities of having to endure the defiant and disruptive students act impudently toward you and others, calling both you and others everything but a child of God. I had a teacher tell me one time: “I’ve been called ‘bitch’ so much that I thought it was my middle name!” I remember a teacher in Clayton County telling us that a student looked at her and said in front of all the rest of the students: “Bitch, just sit down and turn the fucking lights off!”
Here I am today offering peace to the not-so-amused Cairocas in Downtown Rio de Janeiro today. But, when I return to the States (soon and very soon!), we won’t be offering this peace to those administrators who are mistreating teachers. Isn’t it great that I am essentially unembarrassable! Ha! At MACE, we love to lay it on the line for those teachers who are being mistreated by angry and abusive administrators!
What happens when this happens? Oh, it’s just a “happening” thing. The students suffer no consequences. The teachers are actually put “on trial,” so to speak, with demands from their insane administrators for the teachers to explain how they (yes, “they”) provoked these students to act like this. Is this mad or what? This actually goes on in the name of American Public Education (APE). By the way, I am copywriting this “APE” acronym right now. Ha!
Now, if I had to write down what constitutes a good school and had only three minutes to do so, what would be my Top Three Characteristics of a Successful School?
1. Strong Administrators who Advocate for Teachers (SAAT), especially in the area of student discipline;
2. Intelligent, Creative, and Energetic (ICE) Teaching Staff; and
3. Supportive and Active Parents (SAP).
If you have SAAT, ICE, and SAP in place, you don’t need anything else. Nothing. Just turn the teachers loose and let them teach! All of the other bullshit that is going on in the name of American Public Education (APE) is just that…bullshit, and bullshit hasn’t ever been good for anything but fertilizing the ground, not the mind.
At MACE, we know that you cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. Treating teachers like there are hired hands…like they are Russian serfs, to be denigrated, threatened, disrespected, embarrassed, undermined, and professionally disemboweled. This is the height of stupidity, reeking with complete ignorance of psychological theory. Not even dogs which are valued for their performance would be treated like so many of these mindless and feckless administrators treat teachers today.
When I return from Brazil, we are going to “pay our respect” to a few of these administrators. I think that they may know who they are. Teachers, we hear your pain. We know that you often feel beleaguered, downtrodden, and disheartened. But, MACE is your friend. MACE has been the teachers’ only loyal and intrepid friend in Georgia. MACE is by far Georgia’s toughest teachers’ union. There is no comparison. When you say “MACE,” the administrators listen…and they do so for a reason. MACE has richly earned its reputation these last 18 years in Georgia! © GTSO, November 1, 2012.