Archive for the ‘PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ Tag







They would succeed only in alienating a still larger portion of the public.

You cannot play these kinds of games in private industry and remain employed.

And extremely well-paid teachers should not be able to either.

I see several references to professionals in recent comments.

There is nothing about teaching that warrants the name “professional.”

Teaching is a talent, an art, a calling, but it is not a profession unless you misuse language.

A profession is defined by a special body of knowledge – as exists in medicine or law or architecture.

There is no such body of knowledge in teaching.

Elementary teachers do not even have to have any expertise from their BA. Many of them do not know math or language or other subjects any better than people on the streets.

Teachers’ college serves up 8 or 9 months of unexamined assumptions and tidbits of pop psychology. It is totally unscientific and qualifies you for nothing beyond union membership.

Take any bright, motivated person – someone who actually knows a subject – and put him or her into the classroom, and you will instantly get results better than those of many of the “professionals,” especially the thousands who are unmotivated and often know little worth giving children.

We need expertise and motivation in our schools, and the loose use of “professionals” does not give it to us, especially at the elementary level.

The great teacher and scholar, Roger Ascham, tutor to the young Queen Elizabeth I, said that it was the young who should get the very best teaching, and we do precisely the opposite.

And he was right.

“So the minister thinks it’s a “privilege” for teachers to be able to spend the day in the classroom with students…

“What a crock. That statement ncely [sic] encapsulates why people loathe politicians. It’s a job where people have to make ridiculous statements that conform to third-rate p.r. strategies. And they have to do it with a straight face. This minister is either delusional or a simpleton if she actually beleives [sic] that statement.”

True for politicians, often.

But equally true for teachers, often.

“I’m out. I’m using the time I spent doing extra curricular on my new additional part time job. I have no choice. My hydro bill is going up 8 percent.”

There is a perfect example of a pathetic and unthinking pleading, seeming to come directly from the realms of Cloudcuckooland.

A teacher up in his scale, and it takes not many years to reach that, earns more than $80 thousand plus unbelievable benefits for what really is part-time work.

If you can’t live comfortably on that, just try your next best job opportunity.

Clerk at WalMart? Clerk at the post office? LCBO check-out? Real estate sales? Whatever a general BA gets you, which isn’t much.

Comments like yours only anger most people who earn a fraction of what your schedule rewards you with, and they have exactly the same costs of living.

And how about all the retired old folks, barely keeping their homes with costs like real estate taxes, used to pay your salary?

Anyone who complains the way you do only exposes himself as someone who should never have become a teacher.

“Thinks it’s very sad that people devote so much time and effort to criticizing the professions of others.”

The only reason this happens is because we have to read and hear the special pleadings of teachers regularly.

And you say people should “shadowing a teacher” to see how difficult is the work?

Please, everyone with children has intimate exposure to teachers, and that on top of their own experience growing up.

I’ve done both substitute teaching and tutoring as well as university lecturing.

I do believe I have experience worth communicating, as do many others.

Again, teaching is simply not a narrow field of specialized knowledge, and that fact qualifies all thoughtful people to comment on what are widely seen as abuses and excesses.

“Many [teachers] put their lives on hold for 10 months of the year. Spend some time shadowing a teacher before posting a rant. That’s how you can truly make an informed opinion.”

There is the special pleading of all time. While I don’t doubt that this might happen in a few extreme cases, I’ve never seen it, ever.

Spend a little time with teachers, and what you’ll often, in fact, hear are whining, special pleading, and just plain nonsense claims.

“It’s time for disgruntled teachers of the public system in Ontario to show us that they can find better job opportunties elsewhere. Good luck!”

Yes, just a few examples would be interesting.

But, except in exceptional circumstances of course, it’s an impossible task.

General BAs get you absolutely nowhere on the job market.

And a teaching certificate has zero, or even negative, value outside of the closed and privileged school system.

“The last time the teachers “worked to rule” my daughter was the high school year book editor. Alone, and unaided, my daughter got the Principal to cut her a cheque for $5K, bought the computer system she needed, taught herself Photoshop, and produced the yearbook in time and under budget. She received no acknowledgment for this accomplishment at her graduation the next year. The next year the yearbook editor had the help of teachers and went back to the non computer cut and paste method. Perhaps more student activities should be done without teacher “help”.”

Good example of the kind of stuff that goes on in so many places and institutions.

Yet the whining teachers think an hour or two a week spent on some activity makes them over into the image of Mother Teresa.

And your point on the use of a computer program versus cut-and-paste is well taken. Many teachers cannot use a computer, and they are under no pressure to learn. So students watch them doing tasks in totally out-of-date ways, the teachers earning for themselves a great deal of respect I’m sure.

And your anecdote is the precise measure of how bad the situation has become and why the public has no respect for their special pleadings.

Think of all the volunteers in schools, in public libraries, in Sunday Schools, in food banks, and churches, in old age homes, etc, etc.

Tens and tens of thousands, week in-week out.

And no brownie points earned towards keeping up their status in their work place.

It makes you want to puke that a teacher making more than $80,000 with gold-plated benefits and impossible to dismiss for poor performance thinks he or she deserves an Order of Canada for handling an extra-curricular activity.

They are so out of it, they keep making these ridiculous pleadings, only making people more unhappy with them.

“You all think attacking teacher’s [sic] is the solution but it is not…”

No one thinks that.

You are question-begging.

Everyone is tired of the whining and making a big deal out of every tiny event.

Especially in light of the mediocre performance of many and their guaranteed high remuneration.

“When report card season comes, she spends an extra 15-18 hours per week for 3 weeks at home doing them.”

Many teachers ‘do” the report cards today in a matter of a few hours.

They use a no-work-required, select-a-phrase computer program to fill the forms.

The parents and kids learn nothing from it, and the teachers put no work into it.

“I know some school boards in the US that pay teachers for extra-curriculrar [sic] activities, such as track and field, debate, basketball, and mock trial.

“Either make it part of a teacher’s duties or pay for the benefit. Teachers are not slaves.”

Perhaps, but a lot of other variables are handled differently in U.S. jurisdictions, and it is just dishonest to make a comment which isolates one small fact of costs from all of the others.

First, in many poor jurisdictions in the U.S., teachers are paid a fraction of what they are paid in Ontario. You would shocked by the pay in many poor, rural states.

Second, in some U.S. jurisdictions, teachers are paid according to the cost of living in various parts of the state with teachers in rural places and small towns receiving substantially less than those in a city.

Third, in many jurisdictions in the U.S., substitutes only are required to have a degree – BA for elementary, MA for high school – and they are paid at a low fixed rate, as low as $50 a day.

In Ontario the union says they must all be grads of teachers’ college, and they are paid at beginning full-time rates.

There are many other such differences, and you cannot compare one aspect without giving a more complete picture of all the financial flows.

As to your “teachers are not slaves,’ well, that really does make you sound just silly.

“My mom is a teacher – still working at 67. She loves her job and she’s good at it. Has banked over 350 sick days because she rarely takes a day off. She’s only getting paid for 200 of those banked days upon her retirement as they are still being honoured. That means she’s saved her employers paying her 150 sick days + the 150 days they would have had to pay for a supply teacher.”

I’m glad she is a good teacher, but you do not get to “bank” days almost anywhere in private industry.

And did you know that in many companies and organizations in the U.S. that each sick day taken subtracts from your annual vacation days?

It’s legal, and it is done.

“Teacher’s [sic] have to be in before 8:00, and if you think teachers are free after 5:00 when they homework to mark, lesson plans to write weekly, and new curriculum to learn and review, then you are silly. “

Please, maybe your mother believes that, but no one else does.

The parking lots at schools empty quickly.

And many teachers do almost no marking today, planning their assignments with just that in mind. Many use “group work” to cut the assignments down by a factor of five, too.

As for lesson plans, I’ve substituted, I’ve seen their books, and many are just bad jokes.

Finally, and most important for the quality of education, there is no one, absolutely no one, assessing our teachers’ work or knowledge or personality suitability.

Hired once, in for life.

It is impossible to have a high-quality system built on that weak foundation.










I support the idea.

However, the main problem with bullying has always been teachers and administrators who do not pay attention to what’s happening under their noses and are reluctant to step in when they do see something.

Schools are communities, and the authorities of the communities are the adults. Children look to them for safety, but in so many cases today they look in vain.

The anti-bully programs with slogans and videos and t-shirts we have today are little more than a way for administrators to cover their behinds. Window dressing.

Maybe the legislation will change the situation somewhat.

Of course, there are more than a few teachers who themselves are bullies, but you just try getting anything done about them. Impossible.

I do hope the generally spineless McGuinty sticks to this, but in view of past efforts, I’m not hopeful.

We had zero-tolerance on violence – a good thing for the safety of the entire school community – but as soon as one ethnic group found its students in trouble more than others, the policy was dropped like a hot potato.

Yelling prejudice about stats is a pretty sad way to destroy a good policy.

“Bullies learn from their closest role models – their parents.”

I don’t think that is accurate.

First, every serious study ever done shows clearly children’s closest role models are their playmates and peers.

Parents, despite their many hopes and pretensions, have remarkably little influence outside of supplying the necessities of life and a relatively safe place.

I’m sure the parents play a role, but I’m convinced that role is largely through genetic endowment.

Time after time, we find the parents, or at least one parent, of bullies are themselves bullies.

That fact has a lot to do with the school authorities being so reluctant and irresponsible in taking a bully child on: the results will be a confrontation with bully parents, and in our education system today, parents who make lots of noise are paid attention to.

We must remember that all the principals and superintendents and others administering public education are themselves teachers – many of them teachers who just wanted to get out of the classroom and all of them people who never rocked the boat.

It is a perfectly closed system, guaranteed to produce the results we see.

So while expectations of parents are important, expectations of the very teachers who are in the schoolyards, halls, gyms, and classrooms have to become a whole lot higher with regard to tolerating abuse.

Holding parents legally responsible is just passing the buck, and almost certainly leads to further abuse at home by bully parents – not a solution helpful to society.

We must provide mechanisms to support, and indeed demand, the removal of genuine bullies from the regular schools. I say genuine bullies because just about all children sometimes tease or call names, something which must be corrected by authorities but equally something that does not identify a genuine bully.

A real bully is someone who enjoys inflicting discomfort on others – doing so is a basic part of his or her personality. It likely is a mild form of sadism or psychopathy, or, in some cases, not so mild.

When such people are identified, they really need to be removed from the general school population, and we must provide special, tougher disciplined schools suitable for them.

None of this removes the basic responsibility from teachers and administrators. They must correct all the children just indulging in the taunts and teasing most children engage in at some stage, and they must identify the genuine hard cases which need to be removed from the general population.

Anything less solves nothing. McGuinty’s ridiculous 1-800 number to report bullying is a costly administrative nightmare, useful to no one. It is just a way to cover his behind. If the authorities inside a school are already ignoring their responsibilities, what is the use of a report form from an anonymous telephone call center in Bangalore India, or indeed anywhere else?

Absolutely nothing. It’s just busy-work to defuse a problem.

So unless you are prepared to support genuine reform, holding school authorities responsible for what happens under their noses and giving them the authority to act, this problem will continue forever, only becoming larger with a growing population.

“I am a teacher and unfortunately, many of the teachers that I have worked with throughout my career have been bullies. We need to address bullying from the very top down–including administration, as many of them are bullies, too…”


We’ve all known them, bully teachers, but what is anyone to do about them?

A teacher pretty well has to be caught stealing or committing sexual abuse to be dismissed.

I can still remember the names of a couple of genuine bully teachers more than fifty years after experiencing them – a good measure of their bad effect.

Virtually all other inappropriate behavior, as well as downright incompetence, is tolerated and protected in our public schools much as pedophile priests have been protected by the Catholic Church for ages.

The teachers’ union protects the day-to-day creeps who do not reach such excesses as theft and sexual abuse, but still make many children miserable through their careers and teach them little worth teaching.

This issue of bullying is very interesting, opening as it does, the whole set of issues confronting public education.

Serious reform is one of our greatest needs in society.