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Piling On Teachers

I have something to say about this nasty thing people do in regards to teachers.

I see it a lot, more often than I care to admit. Mostly it’s on Facebook and I realize that’s not always the best source for such things, but it is a microcosm of emotions all up in there. Facebook, I mean. People tend to be a little more free with their thoughts and emotions. Granted, the friends I have there are all very smart and passionate people so what I’m really talking about is what I see happen in their feeds when friends of theirs comment.

It seems that Facebook and other online message board places are breeding grounds to talk about just how much people hate their kids’ teachers. Or how much kids hate their teachers. Back when I first learned about the Rate My Teachers website (which will not be getting a link from me) I was disturbed and afraid to see what students had to say about me. It’s far too hurtful to see what it is that people think about you or how they feel towards you as a person when they’re rating how well or poorly you teach.

Before I go off on a tangent about teachers, I will have to admit that I haven’t liked all my teachers or the ones who have taught my own children. I’ve even disliked some that I’ve worked with and it’s never a personal or general “I dislike him as a person” kind of thing. Instead, it’s an “I dislike how he teaches”.  My reputation as a mom can’t be untangled from my profession as an administrator and many times I have found myself thinking, “Gawd, my kids’ teachers must hate to see me coming” because I do what they do for a career and it’s hard to be in that position.

I’m like an island sometimes in my role of teacher/mother. No one wants to have a teacher’s kid in class and it’s really lonely out here. I don’t want to suggest that’s what this is really about. I would go to bat for teachers even when I’m out here on the pier all alone.

What I continue to see is when parents talk about a school situation or give an example of how their child was mistreated/upset/unfairly treated (fill in the blank on this one because it can go on and on) and, in general, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s a great way to release some steam about situations that are frustrating. Normally, all of the facts aren’t presented and a snippet of the circumstances are boiled down to fit into a Facebook status. By the time an adult is taking to Facebook about a teacher they have been offended and angered enough to share it publicly.

To be honest, there’s not even much I have a problem with here. I can see how it feels better to write things like:

“When I talk to Jake’s teacher tomorrow she had BETTER have an answer for this!”

or

“I don’t know who this teacher thinks she is talking to me like that! Wait until I get her on the phone and then it’s on!”

If it ended there and a parent let their frustrations out online (in what is, for some people, a ‘safe’ place) and then the real-life incidents were handled professionally I would be fine. But it’s the comments I see afterward that leave me feeling a bit hopeless. It’s the comments from people who pile on insults about educators or cheer on the Angry Mom/Dad. It’s as if I can see the angry mob forming right there and people seem to love it when teachers are the target. The conversation never really goes anywhere and people leave comments about their own experiences of hating on their kid’s teacher. It’s the smugness of it all that rubs me the wrong way. This isn’t who we want to be, is it?

I guess I’m just hoping that someone will read this and know that teachers have it bad enough. They’re not perfect, they screw up, they do really unprofessional things. But that’s only a few of them. A greater percentage of them are good teachers and nice human beings.

That human part. That’s what we could all stand to remember.

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