Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teacher responds to editorial calling on educators to do more in response to recent bus incident
Today’s teachers feel increasingly burdened by testing requirements, lack of step increases, increasing health-care costs, new teacher evaluations and other demands on top of their normal duties.
A teacher from Brooke Point High School in Stafford spoke out in a Letter to the Editor today about the demands on educators to address the moral ills of society.
Specifically, she disliked an Oct. 17 editorial that called on teachers and parents to do “remedial work” on teaching students respect as a result of student behavior on a Stafford school bus last month. In that incident, the bus driver called for help when high school students became unruly. When deputies arrived, students did not heed their commands.
What do you think?
Below is the text of the letter from Brooke Point teachers Laura Lacey.
In today’s society, teachers can’t win for trying
I was disturbed by the editorial “Bus 240: The Law Won” (Oct. 17). I would argue that one of the problems in public education is that teachers can’t win anymore.
Let’s look at this particular incident at Brooke Point High School. The student in question is 15. At most, he is in his second year at Brooke Point. His parents and com-munity have had that darling for 15 years. A teacher has had that student, at best, for an hour and a half a day for half a year, or every other day, for the same timeframe for the whole year. Yet they are responsible for his behavior?
Neither I nor my children would have ever confronted an adult, especially at that age, let alone a police officer.
Today, teachers have all the responsibility and none of the authority–nor the respect–yet we are supposed to be miracle workers and fix the ills of society. I am responsible for a child’s yearly progress, scored on just one test, no matter how many days that child was allowed to miss school or whether he slept in a car the night before. I am responsible for protecting my students from insults, and from students like the one on the bus (although because of confidentiality I will never be allowed to know who I must protect against). I am responsible for students graduating, responsible for providing school supplies along the way because no one else will buy them.
I am also responsible, as one teacher did this past year, for buying their clothes for graduation because no one else will.
Teachers give their time, their love, and their money to countless students. They then go out and volunteer in multiple venues in the community. They are not perfect but almost all teachers work hard and take the profession to heart. Yet they are insulted by parents and the community with continual attacks on their professionalism and their dignity. They love what they do despite their monetary value being questioned.
Teachers can’t win: Even a student out of the building and on a bus becomes their responsibility, their fault, their failure.
Perhaps teachers need Tasers, too, or perhaps they just need to remind those who don’t have 35 teenagers in a classroom that they are supposed to teach them, not raise them.