An Epigram

November 17, 2008 at 11:12 pm 2 comments

Someone I know – I think of him as a friend, in that loose sort of friendship that can be held between two people who have spoken in person half a dozen times – keeps a blog. He used to think he was going to be a teacher, and his blog was a “critically-acclaimed” edublog (by which I mean, it was nominated for online awards of some sort, and received a lot of votes). He’s a terrific writer, actually, and a strikingly intelligent young man. If I remember correctly, he earned a double major with student teaching in three years – if that tells you anything about him.

He’s also (and forgive me for unintentionally referencing the election) rather a maverick. For better or worse, he didn’t believe in following the rules and protocol of a student teacher. Most damning for him, he refused to play the political game – playing nice with the certifying institution, keeping on his internship school’s good side, keeping a good safe distance between his blog and his classroom. All the time that his blog was getting accolades for its cutting observation of the failures of public education, the main thing that I kept wondering was how any 20-something-year-old student teacher could possibly be so convinced that he knew so much better than entire schools and colleges full of trained and experienced professionals. I mean, for me, student teaching was a learning experience. I knew that I wasn’t a master teacher; I knew that I might become one someday, but not without the help of those who went before me, and not without a lot of practice. Where did he get such overriding confidence?

The short version of Blogfriend’s story is that he got caught blogging derogative things about his internship school, college, mentors, colleagues, etc., was unrepentant (perhaps correctly so – I try not to judge) and ended up leaving the program just shy of certification. (I’m not telling tales out of school; he blogged frankly about the entire situation, and you could read about it firsthand if you went to his site.) For a while he blogged openly about how he had decided teaching was not for him. Now, he seems to have changed his tune, as he is substitute teaching and applying for teaching positions. I can only hope that he no longer disdains teaching as much as he claimed only 2-3 months ago, for his potential students’ sakes.

For months I read Blogfriend’s posts and kept my thoughts to myself. Sure, there were times when I hollered in disgust, read a particularly pompous or ill-advised passage to my husband, and surfed away before my fingers could begin responding. But usually I just rolled my eyes and went along my way.

Then he posted a short entry titled “Educational Epigram”:

Show me someone who says teaching is the hardest job they’ve ever done, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t remember working for a wage.

I am not ashamed to say that I totally lost my cool (although I do wish I’d calmed down enough to edit my vocabulary). I replied:

Bulls—. Spoken like someone who hasn’t actually been a real teacher yet. You spout out this crap as if you’re this 40 year old guy who has some actual life experience, but [name]? Y’know what? You’re a kid. You went straight from HS to college, straight from college to student teaching, and straight from student teaching to being a student teaching dropout who posts bulls— blog entries about a profession you know nothing about. I’m sorry to go all ballistic on your blog here, but seriously. Get a grip on your ego, why don’t you? Take it from someone who has worked for wages, worked for a corporate salary, and is now exhausted from working as hard as she has ever worked in her damn life.

He has replied, telling me that I obviously haven’t been reading his blog, because he’s talking about substitute teaching – something he claims to know much more about than I do. Maybe that’s true; I only subbed for a short period of time before I successfully completed my program and got hired as an in-service teacher. Then he finishes it off with what I suppose he thought was a stinger:

Maybe the problem here is that I don’t deny myself the satisfaction of a simple, succinct declarative. If that’s what bothers you, pretend I’m practicing for middle age, when I can actually start using them.

I started to post my response there, but then I remembered that I had my own blog – with or without any readers, since I never post – and I brought my final comment home. I don’t deny myself the satisfaction of a simple, succinct declarative, either. The difference is that I am an adult, and I know better than to post my declaratives publicly, with my name attached, on a forum read by my future employers. I know better than to thumb my nose at the industry I want to join before I even get a chance to join it. I know better than to burn my bridges while I am trying to cross them.

If you want an epigram from me, try this one: Show me a rookie teacher who thinks they know everything there is to know about teaching, and I’ll show you a teacher that I never want teaching my children or working in my school.

Sorry, Blogfriend, but you’re stepping on the wrong toes. Back off, and like I said: get a grip.


Entry filed under: MISCELLANEOUS.

Dodgeball, Part Two Nice Underpants, Dahlink

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clix  |  November 18, 2008 at 5:19 am

    *grin* He does come off as an arrogant little know-it-all, doesn’t he?

    I dunno. I found it funny, because he’s clearly clueless. But perhaps that’s also because I don’t tend to get a lot of snark like that.

    And there’s a difference between a maverick and a prick.

  • 2. mrsk  |  November 19, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Ew. THIS is what gives rookie teachers a bad name…(I think this guy student taught at my school). Here’s an epigram for him: Show me a rookie teacher who attempts to speak for the rest of us, and I’ll show you an A__hole that doesn’t know how to shut his mouth and learn.

    I just spent 48 hours stuffing envelopes trying to save our state’s retirement system for teachers who have taught 30+ years because I know not only did they put their time in, I could not BEGIN to teach without their constant guidance and encouragement.

    I hope he never gets back into a classroom.


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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.

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