Friday, January 29, 2010

A Diatribe Against Teacher-Bashers

My mother is a supply teacher in the elementary school system. Sometimes she would teach at my school. So when I was young I had to listen to my fellow students trashing my mother. Mostly the big, dumb students who’d been held back at least a year, but I digress. My father taught at my high school. So when I went to high school, I had to listen to those most assuredly bound for jail or permanent welfare trashing him.

Then Mike Harris came along. And for the last fifteen or twenty years, I’ve had to listen to everybody trash my parents and thousands of other decent, hard-working professionals whose goal in life was to educate the young and prepare them for life.

It astounds me that I’m still hearing right-wing, conservative-supporting dittoheads using the same lies and deceit the Harris government used all those years ago in the war they waged against education.

Let us begin with the All Powerful Imperial Greedy Teacher’s Union. Yes, you know the one. Governments quake and tremble with fear in awe of their might, falling quickly to their knees. Yes, it was the All Powerful Union that let Bob Rae take five percent of their pay. It was the same Greedy Union that let Mike Harris outlaw their collective bargaining. The same Evil Union that let its teachers’ salaries be frozen for years, not even hedged against inflation. It was the same union that let the provincial government use millions of taxpayers’ dollars to trash them with deceitful television ads and then take away their retirement benefits.

That Union? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s the one that makes it impossible to ever, ever, ever fire a single bad teacher. Ever.

Whatever. Your union-bashing lies are just that: lies. I’m tired of hearing them. Get some new ones.

What’s next? How about those teachers and their summer vacations? They get two months off, don’t they?

Here’s an idea. Go to Teacher’s College and become a teacher. You know those brats you’re raising? You know how you’re so happy when school starts again because you can get rid of them? Some poor bastard has to deal with 30 of them all day long while you’re at work. If it’s high school, they deal with 90 of them, maybe more if we can’t quite keep up with teacher hiring. After teaching them for 10 months, tell me you don’t need two months to regain your sanity.

You know what happens to the teachers that don’t really like to teach but get in to teaching for the summer vacation? They get to their first summer vacation and then they quit, because they can’t hack it. One of those teachers was Mike Harris. Yeah, the very same politician who set out to destroy the public education system or, as his Minister of Education put it, “Get the government out of the education business.” Coincidence?

Let’s move on to a few lies. There was the lie they told that Ontario’s education was the most expensive in the nation on a cost-per-student basis. Why was it a lie? Because they concocted their numbers by including private school tuitions in his average. Would you call that lying? I would. How about that bit about how making every teacher do an extra class per year was only “asking for fifteen minutes a day”? News flash. A teacher with a four hour teaching schedule puts in more than an eight hour day marking and preparing for classes. If you think that the only time a teacher spends working is in the classroom with the full class present, you’re both stupid and naïve and I’ve had enough of catering to your naïveté and walking on eggshells around your stupidity.

There was a time when I wanted to be teacher. It’s a tradition in my family, going back a couple of generations. But then I learned that my employer, the government, would bizarrely be permitted to purchase television ad time to tell people that I’m lazy, overpaid and greedy while implying that I don’t care about the children I teach. Can you imagine the hatred I feel for a government – and any people who support its lies – that used my tax dollars to take out television ads to publicly trash my parents?

I’m tired of being kind to you people. I’m tired of mincing words. You’re stupid. You’ve allowed yourself to be led in to ignorance. You need to be shaken out of your comfortable, arrogant, talking-point parroting shell and told to shut up. And if you’re going to repeat those lazy, conceited, twenty-year old arguments to me? I’m going to shut you up myself.

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