Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Education Is Failing in This Country: Part 37

When I was teaching, I really liked my students.  I mean really.  In fact, that was the only reason why I taught:  to help kids grow up and learn how to survive in a world where everyone wants to manipulate them.

I miss the time I spent teaching.  I miss that opportunity to help kids realize what is coming at them (À la George Carlin).  I certainly don’t miss being a teacher.  Politicians and entitled parents have ruined it.  Anything that threatens the fragile self-image of their darlings is bad.

This morning I was enjoying my coffee and reading what passes for a newspaper these days, and I came across a column by John Rosemond.  He gives advice to parents.  Good, practical advice, free from the latest fashion.

Rosemond’s column this morning was about his best two teachers, his typing teacher and his creative writing teacher.  Here are some quotes from the column.

She was mean. None of us liked her. She didn't care. She was there to teach, not be popular.”  [I used to tell my students that “liking” was nowhere in my job description.]

“ In a voice purposefully loud enough that the whole class stopped writing and watched me squirm, she told me that my latest theme was "trash." She handed it back to me, told me to do it over… By the way, I had most definitely turned in hastily-written trash, hoping she'd let her best student slide. No such luck.

Here's the point, and why our schools are being forced to fail our students: 

“Neither of these teachers would be allowed to teach today…  Mind you, I thank these two teachers often, to this day.  During my twelve years of school (I did not attend Kindergarten), no teachers made a more positive contribution to my life than these two meanies.   Both of them cared about me.

“Teachers like my typing and creative writing teachers - teachers who are demanding, critical when criticism is due, and in every way the antithesis of touchy-feely - do the best job of bringing out the best in their students. The touchy-feelies are more well-liked, mind you, but their students don't give them their best….  Billy did C work, but Billy gets a B from Mrs. Imok-Youreok because Billy needs "encouragement.  All the kids really like Mrs. Imok-Youreok. Their parents do too!

Researchers are trying to find out why so many college students can’t cut it now.  Employers complain about workers who don't understand work. The reason, according to John Rosemond and with my 100% agreement, is “because they've never encountered the likes of my typing and creative writing teachers. It's because if they ever had, their parents would have screamed bloody murder, administration would have caved in, and the meanies would have been replaced by the likes of Mrs. Imok-Youreok.

I am proud of my reputation as a "hard" teacher.  I am prouder of the students who have written to me from college and beyond and thanked me for not accepting less than their best.

John Rosemond’s web site is

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