Tuesday, August 25, 2015

School Starting Rant

I got home from a day in my office, highlighted by a faculty meeting. Tomorrow is the first class day at SHSU. That means our online students will be able to access our classes for the first time, and we can start getting to know them. It's exciting and fun! I came home and admitted to myself that I had been building up to a rant for a couple of days. Fortunately, I do not rant all that often but this one refused to get out of my head so I am sharing:

I love the beginning of school. In my previous life as a classroom teacher I had some fun getting-to-know you activities for students and looked forward to the fresh faces. As a school librarian it was even more fun to stand out in the hall and greet students, both the returning kiddos and the fearful first-timers. I confess that I can still get a bit excited even though now my first day (and subsequent ones) is online. I love getting to know my amazing, motivated, graduate students. They are a special breed.

This week I’ve had fun seeing all the wonderful pictures posted by teachers, parents, and grandparents. There are so many cute ideas for ways to denote your special student’s grade and first-day excitement, which does wane humorously with some teens looking either pained or indulgent about the fuss made over them. On the first day of school everybody says such positive things. Teachers get high praise and lots of people offer prayers for both students and teachers. This is all great!

But…and if you know me you knew there was a “but” coming, could we have some love and praise throughout the year? Wouldn’t be great if ALL parents bent over backwards to encourage their students and back up the teachers? How about if all parents made sure their kids were prepared for school and on time every day? Of course I’m preaching to the choir because my online Facebook friends'  postings that I see are by folks that will do these things, so thanks in advance.

And here’s what I really wish. Could we stop electing people who don’t support public schools and teachers? Could we not even let someone progress after saying he’d like to punch teachers in the face? Could we vote for people who GET IT RIGHT about education? Frankly that’s a tall order. Our present administration has, in my opinion, dropped the ball here—or rather passed it off to Arne Duncan. Could we at least refrain from voting for those who clearly want to do away with public schools, who heap scorn upon teachers, who are out to make a buck for themselves or their cronies through educational testing and review products, and who advocate cutting already cut-to-the-bone funding? Could we? That’s my school year wish, in this important year as we move toward nominating our next president. Have a great year everybody! I plan to!