OKP Teachers (and stuff)

Hey OKP,

I know there’s a good handful here who are in education as teachers, whether it’s subject area, speech, special ed, or a principal. I’m finishing up my last year of teacher ed and I thought I’d make this thread so we could share inspiring stories, complaints, silly/serious/educational news articles, or whatever it is you’d want to talk about.

Ever get a student whos into Phish?

I’ve tried teaching guitar a few times and I don’t really think I was successful, so hats off to teachers who know the craft. I imagine it’s sometimes thankless!

I taught 3rd grade for six years in a shitty neighborhood in Brooklyn. Its gets very frustrating to be told by an 8yr old to go f myself. Things like that, and numerous other reasons eventually led me out of teaching, though I am very much still involved in education. When i get the patience, I have a ton of entertaining stories…

I teach at the school of hard knocks.

By that I mean I teach computer classes at the senior citizens center…they are all inspirations to me.

None of this is true.

“Patience” is one important quality that I lack, in order to be a good teacher.

I learned this when I was tutoring 2nd-3rd grade kids who were already behind in math (back when I was in High School). They had some subtraction exercises and had trouble getting the answers for questions like:

= ?

I provided the solution my elementary school teacher gave me when I was learning subtraction (in 1st grade, btw), which was to pretend that the question was 10-7, and then adding back the “3” from the singles digit.

The kid looked at me like I had 3 heads. I explained it a couple other ways, but he just did not get it.

I told him that he just had to memorize it by writing it about 100 times.

Then I thought to myself, wow, I suck as a teacher. I was not able to come up with other ways to help this kid “find a solution” cause I didn’t have much problems learning it when I was taught.

[i] By that I mean I teach computer classes at the senior citizens center…they are all inspirations to me.

None of this is true.[/i]

Excellent work, sir

My degree is in secondary education earth science, and I was pretty good at it for about 18 months while still attending college. Most of the kids and I had a great time together, and for a while I thought I had chosen the perfect path. It was other teachers, school administrators, school boards, PTAs and state regent policies that drove me away. I began to see early on, and this was in 1970, that the schools weren’t meeting the needs of the students and that other non-student issues like more time off, more bureaucratic intervention and regulation, padded administrations, outside, non-educational considerations had more importance than teaching materials, how to reach kids with learning problems, bullying, and a host of other direct student needs.

So I quit the public school systems and went to work in a private school for emotionally troubled kids who were kicked out of the public system. Enjoyed these kids in spite of their personal issues, and they had some serious ones. But after two months of employment the owner of the school absconded with 300K of the schools operating money and ran away with his secretary to Hawaii. It was very traumatic to be there and watch all of the kids returned to their parents within a week and the gates of the campus locked.

I was done with education as a career. But all things happen for a purpose. As it was, after divesting myself of pretty much all of my possessions and hitting the road for a number of years, with a guitar I never learned to play, and a copy of Finnigan’s Wake that I was never able to understand, it led me eventually to Marie’s door.

It was exactly the right choice.

Drew, my man, don’t let my story scare you into or out of any decisions because here I am more than forty years later, happier than anyone deserves to be. Your heart and mind are wonderful tools, and will always guide you to where you need to be, especially if you have faith in their power and patience to let them work for you.

We have to do some education in nursing. Always actually. Much teaching there is.

Ah, great to hear the responses that are from outside actual schools! Those are valid too.

Bill, your comments about bureaucratic and state regulations speaks to most of my fears, but we’ll see what happens. I’m also interested at working at an alternative school.

Piper, can’t wait to hear your stories. I gather you are not a classroom teacher anymore? What do you do now?

^i read Bill’s post and i understand your fears… but here’s the thing, somebody has got to teach the kids. And if it isn’t a good-hearted soul like you or Bill then it will be someone else… maybe someone who doesn’t care as much because in the end it really isn’t about the bureaucrats… its about the kids, or in my case the patients. The management and others pretty much always make it about themselves and all the red tape can be hard to manage but the focus has got to be on the kids (patients) :slight_smile: Somebody has to make the sacrifice, someone has to be there. That ditch ain’t gonna be dug by itself. someone’s gotta take responsibility and dig it, ya dig?

so understand, becoming a teacher or a nurse or an EMT or a firefighter or a cop isn’t about the accolades or thank yous… its about others and taking care of THEM. and the reward comes from when you actually do help another, that despite all that red tape and the obstacles to touch anothers heart and make a difference in their life. Thats about as plain as i can put it.

I run and operate a daycare of 125 kids bw ages of 6w and 5yrs, 25 staff. Not easy working w all women, no offense to anyone here…kinda went from teacher to admin. Love it.

So one day as my 3rd graders are unpacking, I notice a bunch oft boys huddled around looking at something. After they roll their eyes at me, ignoring my request to get ready for the day, I walk over and take away from one the students this postcard sized flyer advertising an escort service. I flip the card over to see none other than one of my students mothers wearing next to nothing. I guess he was showing her off.

I went to a strip club when student teaching and saw one of my students on stage…

I have SOOOOOOO many (I could type here for hours) stories. I Love it! Most people can’t hang being a teacher. 50% leave in the first 5 years. It’s even higher in an urban school like mine. I never know what I’m going to run into during the day.

Bill, I agree with you 100% about the bureaucratic bullshit. I just shut my door and focus on the kids…fuck those bureaucratic assholes who have not been in a classroom the last 15 years or who have not even taught in a classroom.

Great thread idea, Drew! I already have a ton I’d like to say.

As far as the bureaucracy/regulation/budget cuts/people’s attention to other things goes, I refer to what Jeff so eloquently said. You are there first and foremost as a teacher (caregiver) and your number one obligation is to the students or people you care for. Drew, I’m sorry you are already apprehensive about that side of things before you’re even done with school. That is not at all what you should be thinking about right now. Money, greed and power make the world go 'round and it permeates every area of society. It’s a hard pill to swallow (every. single. time.) that those principles are readily present in education or other helping professions, but, at the core, there are good people doing good things. In my opinion and experience, if you truly enjoy the kids/adults then you have chosen the right path.

At my new job, I see some middle schoolers and what a strange breed they are. It is an age I have absolutely zero experience with, besides my brief personal endeavor many years ago. This one group of 5th graders is silly and hyper and they talk and giggle non-stop, so in a half hour session you spend about 20 minutes redirecting them back to what you’re trying to teach. It’s frustrating. A few weeks ago I had 2 of them, a boy and a girl. They were especially off the wall, disregarding me the entire session, and they got to me. When we came to the end of the session I basically told them their behavior was disrespectful and unacceptable and sort of kicked them out (it was only about one minute before the end). I am not a yeller and I’m pretty cool (if I do say so myself) so I hoped my speech would give them a little jolt. At the next session, the girl actually apologized to me of her own accord. It was 5 days later; she didn’t march in and do it because someone told her to, it came naturally during the session. I was very impressed, so I kept her after the next session and told her how much her apology meant to me and how it showed what great character she had and how thoughtful she was and so on and so forth, really building her up. I asked if I could give her a hug and, without saying anything, she gave me the biggest, longest hug ever. It was one of my most gratifying moments as a teacher thus far.

I told the MS kids I was going to Atlantic City to see a band called Phish and while I think they were interested in the fact that I was going so far for a concert, they laughed at the band’s name.

Got a bit teary reading this. Well done, Katiemay!

^^Katie, your little story gave me some chills by the end. That’s really what its about. Just shows what a good heart you have. Good job.

It’s the same way in the hospital… bureaucrats and outsiders telling us how to do our jobs. lol. right… just suck it up and smile then get back to work.

I just saw a t-shirt that said “Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, pass laws about teaching.”

I can’t imagine the challenge of teaching teenagers. It’s the period in a kid’s life when they’re at their absolute worst. They’re obsessed with appearance, always trying to be cool, and they’re at the age where they think they know everything and don’t realize that all adults have done what they’ve done ten-fold. The advent of cell phones and Facebook makes all this 100 times worse.

Anyone who can reach kids at this age have major skills.

More of a type your thoughts, but semi teacher related. Last night, I was at my nephew’s school band concert and they were thanking administrators and pointed out the assistant superintendent, who happened to be my 5th and 7th grade teacher and my all time favorite teacher. She was standing near me in the back, so I knew it was a good opportunity to say hello, but I haven’t seen her since 7th grade and I am very shy and socially inept, which prevents people from remembering me and me from speaking with others. I knew she knows my brother, so I figured she would at least be familiar with me through him and I did finally screw up the courage to go over and tell her how much I enjoyed having her as a teacher. She was great and very happy to talk to me. I’m glad I did it. I know it’s a simple thing for most people to walk up and engage in a brief social interaction with other people, but it is typically something I would never do. It was like a little victory.

So to bring it back around to the primary topic: Good teachers have a lifelong positive effect on people!

One of my History Teachers in High School told us Senior year that we are ALWAYS welcome to re-visit the HS as alums, but that he apologizes in advance that he may or may not remember our names.

“Nothing Personal,” he said, “I have so many students throughout the years that it’s hard to remember all the names, especially after a while. So introduce yourself when you come back, but please don’t get offended if I don’t recall your name.”

So I just make a point to introduce myself when approaching former teachers. Just to ease the “who is this person?” awkwardness.

Subbed for some 6th grade classes today. Kinda rowdy! The last hour class was really out of hand and tried to take advantage of me and although I was mostly patient, I had to shout really loudly one time to get everyone to quiet down. Anything more effective than that??