No longer

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I awoke this morning to an email that made me pause for a moment. I knew the moment was coming. I have for a while, of course, but actually seeing it there in print made me pause and contemplate the past. A stage in my life is truly over and going back isn’t an option (at least not an easy one).

This morning I had the official notification via email from OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) that my teaching certificate is now officially expired.

Again, I knew this day would be coming for seven years (well, nearly 7…in a little over a month it will be 7 years since I left the classroom). It has been in the back of my mind and occasionally I would get reminded when I would glance at my National Board Certification. The expiration date was right there on the bottom – June 30, 2022. My state teaching certificate was tied to that because the National Board Certification linked the two and extended the state expiration date.

I am no longer a teacher.

It’s hard to say that. There was a lot of time, money, and effort tied to that part of my identity. Of course, I haven’t been a classroom teacher for nearly seven years, but to actually have that part of my life come to an official end (there was always that “open door” to go back) is a little surreal. I loved my subject and I really liked teaching students about it. I didn’t like all the time and politics related to the job.

I am happy with where I am now, don’t get me wrong. However, officially letting go of that part of me is surprisingly more emotional than I thought it would be.

I will always be a teacher, just not a classroom teacher. I guess I have to remember that. I still teach people in education about the software they use. I still teach teachers about the software they use to track student progress. It’s just a different kind of teaching.

Precedent

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The war on your rights, freedoms, and beliefs is about to get worse. Thankfully, there have been some changes in the Supreme Court that will (hopefully) change the trend of erosion that has been taking place. That, however, won’t stop those on the left from waging a war on the Bill of Rights.

A prime example of such would be the attach on student rights. The indoctrination of students has been going on for years and will continue as, unfortunately, there are not enough people in education that come from the conservative side of the aisle. Everywhere you look, from K-16, there are liberals dominating the arena of education and they are bent on destroying anything that smells of traditional, conservative values.

Last week, a 3rd grader felt the wrath of such an attack. All because a face mask had a message that the principal apparently found offensive. Double standard? Of course. There have been other messages on face masks that didn’t offend, though it may have been to some. But, this little girl gets called out for her message – one that was only directed to herself.

“Jesus love me.”

Not “Jesus loves you.”

The former is a personal message, meant for the person. The second is a message of projection, meant and directed at others.

I have a feeling the school district and the principal will be issuing apologies fairly soon. They are totally in the wrong and the Supreme Court has already addressed and established precedent with related to student speech, including symbolic speech. So, there should be a reversal fairly shortly.

Should schools protect students from some messages? Of course. The courts have established this too, when it comes to messages and images that would be inappropriate for the age group as well as something that would be deemed a disruption to the educational process. So, anything that promotes illegal drugs, illegal actions, offensive language, sex, etc. The definition of “offensive language” has changed over the years and seems to be subject to the whims of whomever is in charge. There has been an obvious double standard here when it comes to liberal and conservative values. So, that seems to waver, even though the established “offensive language” is really based on the seven words that supposedly can’t be broadcast (even this has changed).

Anyway, I am glad that someone has challenged the principal and district, though the district (as far as I can tell) hasn’t come out in support of the principal. Students, when at school, should be able to see and hear both sides of an issue and make a determination for themselves, not be indoctrinated one way or another.

Small minority

crowd reflection color toy

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Why should a small minority dictate to the majority what is appropriate and acceptable, or what is not?

Case in point: schools are closed in WA and they are trying to figure out how to go forward as this corona virus thing continues. It was communicated out from OSPI (our state superintendent’s office) that districts couldn’t continue to educate their students if they couldn’t guarantee “equity” for all students it serves. Or, at least, they couldn’t require students to attend because of equity (lack of internet, ELL, SpEd, etc.).

OK, on the surface, that makes sense and it looks great on the PR side of things. However, it doesn’t make sense when you start looking at the numbers. That closer look ends up making the policy a complete “F” in my book.

The closer look:

So, we’re not going to educate 90% of the students because 10% can’t participate because of various challenges?

What if it was 50/50? Is that still too low to continue offering education to those who can participate? You can play with the numbers however you like, but at just about any point you can’t justify depriving a larger group of people from something because of a smaller group. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Do you scuttle the sailboat because there is no wind?

Do you throw out the baby with the bathwater?

Do you cut off your hand because you got a splinter in your little finger?

Do you cut off your foot because you broke a toe?

Do you demolish an entire building because a couple rooms in it aren’t or can’t be occupied?

Catch my drift?

Why do we let small groups of people dictate what happens with the larger groups? Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it?

Remember the saying, “Greatest good for the greatest number“? Why doesn’t that apply these days? Or any day? How did we get so far away from an idea that mostly works?Sure, I know we have to make sure the “minority” group doesn’t get abused by those who are more powerful or has the most resources, but there is still something true about this thought:

What is the greater good when it comes to educating our students?

 

Sit down and shut up

auditorium benches chairs class

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One thing I know for sure, teaching a class or training people never goes quite as planned. There are always things you can’t account for, even when you have experience and account for things you know will happen – because they always do.

I was a high school teacher for 15 years. One thing I got used to was that students, no matter how engaging the lesson was, never were really invested in what they were learning. I mean who are we kidding, right? Students don’t see how what they are doing now prepares them for something down the road, in the future. They are too focused on today to understand that. So interest in class was always a challenge, no matter the subject.

Now that I am no longer in the classroom, I am teaching at a different level, so to speak. I am teaching adults (teachers and school district employees) about how to use the software they use every day. Now, we are talking about people with different life experiences than students. People who know that what they are being taught will be useful to them immediately, or at the very least in the very near future. YET, they are, in some cases, a worse audience than high school students!

Teachers are a notoriously bad audience. I know because I was one of those bad audience members. But I see it all the time from adults. They sit and have side conversations, text, look at email, grade papers, etc. I even had one teacher watching the World Cup on his computer while at a training class. Yeah, real professional, buddy.

Listen, I get that teachers have a millions of things on their mind and a billion other things to do. I can totally relate! BUT, if you won’t let your students (or at least have the expectation that your students will not) act this way, why do you think it is acceptable to act that way when you’re in class? You’re an adult, for pete’s sake. Have a little more self-control than your 4th graders for crying out loud.

So, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!