Las Vegas Sun

April 26, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

A lesson in what a teacher does daily

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Have you ever been the only adult in a room with 35-45 children?

Do journalists, politicians and other random citizens constantly criticize your entire profession?

Do they suggest a multitude of ways to improve the way you do your job when they have no experience with what you do?

Imagine that you are in a classroom and you will have five or six different groups of 40 students during your day.

Some of the light bulbs have been removed from the room to save electricity, and the students are asking why the room is so cold.

You will be teaching two or three different subjects. You have 55 minutes a day to plan and write your lessons, grade and record work, write tests, contact parents, fill out paperwork, check your mailbox, confer with colleagues, etc.

You are going to be teaching them something that many of them have no interest in learning, and some don’t have the prerequisite skills to learn. Many of them did not do their assignment the night before or bring any materials to class.

Good luck trying to spot the ones using their cellphones in the sixth or seventh row.

There might be a student with an ankle monitor that may go off during class. If it does, you will be required to verbally verify that the student is actually in class.

Some of your students have thick discipline files.

You can use the restroom during your 30 minute lunch, but those 40 students will want to go more often than that.

Consider doing a good job for 17 years and realizing that you may never get another raise in your career.

The only raises that you may get will come from politicians.

The only choices you have are to move, quit, contact your legislator or write a letter to the newspaper.

If you have a college degree and can pass a fingerprint clearance, this could all be yours.

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Previous Discussion: 18 comments so far…

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  1. Jeremy, thank you for sharing the realities of today.

    I think many people who criticize teachers are speaking with the image of experience in the distant past.

    While I do agree that outcomes are an aid to evaluating effectiveness, there are many other circumstances that effect both.

    We have failed our children and nation by not investing in education and teachers appropriately. What we see now is the result.

    Teachers are professionals with a very important role and they should be treated as professionals and given respect.

    The system need reforming to reflect the seriousness of the goals of educating our youth. Expectations need to be reflected in the classrooms.

    Parents need to be accountable for their role in furthering the education of their children.

    Thank you for your efforts Jeremy.

  2. Nobody said being a teacher is easy. But teachers are not martyrs and treating them like they are is overreach. Teachers have a freedom of choice and free will. They can teach or do something else. Their decision.


  3. Jeremy

    Thank you for choosing a profession where you receive little of the credit for success but all of the blame for anything less.

    Thank you for choosing a profession in a State that views you as burden on taxpayers and offers compensation that provides only an outside chance of repaying your student loans before you retire.

    Thank you for being a scapegoat for those with poor parenting skills and little acceptance of responsibility for their children.

    And, thank you for drawing the fire of "self-made" commenters who would be the last to admit that a teacher ever made a difference in their life.

    And speaking of drawing fire --- how good are you with a Glock?

  4. Nothing new coming from Jeremy. Complain, complain.......and.......complain. Previous Las Vegas Sun letter dated May 6th from Jeremy enclosed.

  5. Teaching is a calling. It is a passion. You do it, naturally, everyday of your life. Some, despite the many issues associated with teaching, select it as their career, their life profession. Most teachers in the United States of America, must complete a university degree and undergo rigorous post teacher credential training (standards vary with states). Because of the uniqueness of each school culture, it is nearly impossible to prepare for all the various scenerios a teacher encounters in a lifetime, ahead of time. The teacher training programs only "touch" upon this, as part of their teacher preparation programs. Much like parenting, some of the trade is learned as you go.

    Parents are a child's first and lifelong teacher. Without the cooperation and support of both parent and child, the work of learning what is taught at school cannot effectively be done. Our Lawmakers seem to be BLIND to this, as well as many critics. We all should be working together for the best in our neighborhood schools and our children. How many reading this attend school site planning meeting, school board meetings, or PTA/PTO meetings? How many volunteer at their neighborhood schools?

    Teachers have no problem with implementing necessary changes, as long as there is support doing so. Teachers regularly pay for and attend any extra schooling required to do their job as best as possible. They are, afterall, lifelong learners themselves.

    For the learning equation to work, it must have SHARED RESPONSIBILITY, with all concerned parties: parents, administration, teachers, and students. Lawmakers need to listen to all involved, in order to best serve all. How has that been working out?

    It is now time for the news media to make public and disclose the views of our Lawmakers on pressing educational issues so that the public will be INFORMED. Please do that.

    As the Nevada State Legislative Session convenes, let's join together to be heard, and insist that our representatives listen and do what is in the best interest of all. Thank you.

    Blessings and Peace,

  6. Absurd and PRETENTIOUS. Until you spend equal time figuring out and listening to what a social worker does, what an accountant does, what a law enforcement officer does this is just stupid to expect that the world is your captive audience. Many K-12 teachers have never performed in another job where they have a basis of comparison with the complexities of ANY occupation. Do you think, for a minute, that we get to share our workload with everybody else? That we can call in people off the street to take over the things we'd rather not do?

  7. It's easy to criticize our teacher's. Who spent so much time and money to get a degree in education, In order to help other's do the same thing.

    Talk is cheap and so are the critics. Some of you out there who have all the answers. Might try being a substitute teacher for a while. And than offer some construtive ctiticism. Don't blame the teachers. They already get the lion's share of the blame for the problems facing our school system.

  8. Parents have failed teachers. If a child is a discipline problem, the child shouldn't be the school's problem. Remove the child from the class. From the school. Harsh? Yes. Next issue. Teachers. Do you know how to teach? Are you well trained? Are you committed to your profession? If not, quit.

    Moral of the story. We need better students. We need better teachers. If we don't address these two cataclysmic issues, all the money in the world will not fix the dismal public education system in America.

  9. THIS needs to happen: Legislate and REQUIRE all educational administrators to work as teachers one month of their contractual year!

    State Lawmakers should be REQUIRED to volunteer one week at a school (not touring school facilities as many of them do, and trying to count that!).

    Then, let's all get together and truly work together.

    Blessings and Peace,

  10. "Carmine & future:

    Do you guys take pills to wake up perpetually crabby? " @ Jeff

    I can't speak for Future BUT can say to YOU: No, I'm just providing the truth. If it hurts, then you need the pills, not me.


  11. "They already get the lion's share of the blame for the problems facing our school system." @ Samspeaks

    Not from me, Sam. The blame for failure for our students to achieve academically rests completely on the parents, not the teachers. It is a well known and proven fact that students do better when their parents/guardians are engaged in their academic and scholastic progress. Teachers can only do so much. Without the active partnership of students' parents/caregivers [such as care, concern, and guidance] teachers can't do much more.


  12. Hadn't planned to comment but reading Roslenda's stunningly inane comment forces a response. My wife and I ended our careers teaching high school in Las Vegas, she for five years and me for four. I have worked as a bar swamper/bouncer/bar tender, put myself through school logging, worked in, managed and owned auto and truck repair shops and managed a health care business with 300 employees. No other job that I have had was as time consuming or challenging as teaching. Roberta, it is clear that you do not like teachers nor do you respect what they do. Your irrational responses to education issues [and immigration, BTW] render your viewpoints as little more than bird droppings on the paper of discussion.

  13. "No other job that I have had was as time consuming or challenging as teaching." @ Hayes

    While that may be true for you, it is not necessarily true for all others. I opine Roslenda saw and read this link below, when posted here before, and I suggest you do the same if you haven't. And reread if you have.


  14. Carmine,

    "Not from me Sam. The blame for failure for our students to achieve academically rests completely on parents, not the teachers."

    I would have to disagree with you on blaming the parents for failure of students who do not achieve academically in school.I will agree with you that it isn't the teachers fault either.

    We the state of Nevada have the lowest school rateing in the country. It can't be that Nevada has the worst parents in the country. Who you say deserve to get all the blame for failing students. Nevada has some serious problems to tackle.Trying to improve our school system for a better education for all our kids is a whole community involvement matter. Where to start is anyone's guess,how is another?

  15. Sam:

    If the parents/guardians show no interest in their children's grades and academic achievement, the children won't either. Show me a student who is achieving beyond his/her capacity, and I'll show you a parent/guardian/mentor who is directly and actively involved in that's student's school studies. Ask any teacher, anywhere, and the teacher will tell you the same as me. Involved parents/guardians, better students. Non-caring, non-concerned parents/guardians, poor students.

    My grandfather lived with us when I was a youngster. He couldn't speak much English. Just Italian. When I took my report card home from first grade, he always wanted to see it and it made him happy when I did well. He even signed on occasion. I was 6 when he died, and I remember 2 things about him very distinctly. He read the Bible every day [in Italian] and always asked me about school.


  16. "Unlike you, Carmine, we are speaking from experience." @ Teacher

    If you only knew rather than just think you do.


  17. "Incidentally, the link caused a computer freeze." @ Teacher

    Sounds like an ostrich defense. Or the 3 monkeys. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.


  18. Carmine,

    Parents play a big part in all things that involve their children.I still can't agree with you that the parents are the main cause of Nevada ranking as the lowest performing school district in the country.

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on Jan 17, 2013 that 3.1 million students nationwide earned their high school diploma in 2010. With 78 percent of students finishing on time,that's the best since the school year of 1976.

    Nevada on the other hand had only a 62 percent of our students graduate from high school in the same year of 2010.This cannot be all because of the parents, lack of interest in their children.