I read a post by Josh Stumpenhorst entitled, "What I Really Want to Tell Parents and Teachers". It was in response to other pieces written by two others. The first was an article titled “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents” by Ron Clark and the other was titled “What Parents Really Want to Tell Teacher: What You Do Hurts Our Children” by Laurie A. Couture. I had read and possibly tweeted the Clark piece, but I had not read the Couture piece until today. After reading her piece, I finally realize that I'm a terrible teacher and possibly not even human at all. Possible a troll of some sort.
I want to touch on some of the points Couture made that made me feel so trollish.
"As 'trained professionals', you seem to be ignorant about the basic functioning of the human body. You deny our children their right to eat when hungry, causing their blood sugar to drop and putting them at risk for fatigue, nausea and mood instability. You deny our children their right to use the toilet when needed, causing them intense pain and desperation and putting them at risk for urinary and gastrointestinal dysfunction and damage. You deny them hydration, causing them to dehydrate and putting them at risk for headaches, mental fog, lethargy and medical problems. You deny our children physical activity at their will, causing them distress and putting them at risk for hyperactivity, challenging behavior, inability to focus and obesity, weakness and medical problems. You also act oblivious as to how preoccupying and awkward sexual development can be in a school setting for our teen boys and girls, putting them at risk for shame, distress and early sexual activity."
I'm a ELA teacher, so I guess she is right when she says that I don't know the intricacies of the human body. As a troll, my hygiene is not very good and I probably should not be in charge of making sure others are well hydrated or fed. I figure it's not my job to dictate what these human children eat and drink. The energy drinks they consume by the caseload seems to be ok when they enter my classroom, so I let it go. I also allow the students to consume high quantities of sugary goodness whenever possible. As a troll, my dental hygiene is not great. I just figure the human parents will educate their kids on good eating habits.
As a troll, I do like keeping kids in their desks. Imprisonment was actually a minor of mine in Troll Academy. (We are Nationally Accredited) I take much pleasure in watching my human students sit around tables and working on projects they selected. Watching the toil as they struggle to learn something new is exciting. It's almost as pleasing as grinding bones into bread. (Double Minored in that)
In regards to the Awkward teen boys and girls, Trolls actually have to do very little in that realm. Teens are awkward all on their own regardless of the setting.
"You take our children away from us. They will be children for less than two decades out of a long adulthood, but you steal those critical years from us. Our children are touch and love starved all day in school. Your academic training taught you the vital importance of parent-child attachment and how a disruption can cause psychological problems. But you disrupt the parent-child bond by infringing upon our family time, causing emotional disconnection to deepen with each year. You subordinate children, causing them to form and focus on toxic peer networks. You can do little to protect our peer-tormented children because you have set yourselves apart from children, like another species. By the time our children are in their mid-teens, they are so depressed, angry and overwhelmed with busywork, pop-culture escapes and peer expectations that society has to write books to try to convince us that “pulling away” is natural in the teen years when in fact, it is not."
One of my favorite parts of the day is when I go door to door and place those human students in my sack and cart them off to school. Once there, I proceed to sit them in their desks and make them feel awkward around the opposite sex. After lunch, I place them in cliques and encourage infighting and backstabbing. (Almost majored in backstabbing, but changed last minute.) By the end of the day, I pass out "Catcher in the Rye" to all of the humans and instruct them to read it at home, ignore their parents and act as much like Holden as possible. Being a Troll is awesome.
"You treat our children without respect, empathy, compassion or love unless they behave according to your rules and expectations. You seem oblivious to their pain, vulnerability and distress."
It's almost like she cut and paste the 3rd rule from my Humiliation 101 textbook. If I do not do all of those things by the time I'm evaluated by an administrator, I might not get the extra merit pay of a lamb.
Being a Troll is not an easy job. We get no respect from the community and constantly questioned for low test scores and high mortality rates. I can't teach on an empty stomach people. As one of millions of Trolls out there, I know we work as hard as we can from dawn to dusk doing the jobs that the humans trained us to do. If they humans do not like the system, start a new one and higher non-Trolls. (The Troll Union will kill me for saying that, but it's true)
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read the rambling grunts of a Troll. I hope I am lucky enough to have one of your delicious children in my class one day.
Sometimes, sarcasm is the only way for me to respond when I'm a bit overwhelmed by venomous writing. I understand that she was talking about the education system, but she wrote it in such a fashion that it attacked classroom teachers. I hope she honestly does not believe that teachers are going out of their way to injure students. If so, I feel bad for her because that is a miserable way to spend your life. I would suggest that she check out #SchoolDidAGoodThing posts. There are some amazing things schools have done for students that would not have been possible without them.
I think the current educational system is a disaster and it needs to be changed. I think parents need a strong voice in changing the system. I think blaming teachers for being in a system they did not create, a system they were trained to work in and a system that currently does not value the opinion of the classroom teacher is misguided. For real change, teachers and parents need to stand side by side and arm in arm. If that were to happen, they would be a force so strong, even a Troll would shake in his loin cloth.