Friday, August 12, 2005

Yeah...That'll Teach 'Em...

In college I majored in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Before I was able to participate in any practicums with hearing impaired kiddos, I was required to do some work as a teacher's aide in a regular classroom. Not that there is such a thing as a regular classroom, but you know what I mean. I was placed in a second grade class with the most bitch-ass teacher ever. For the duration, we'll refer to her as BAT. Don't get me wrong, BAT was nice to me, but the woman was so over teaching that it didn't do the kids in her class a damn bit of good to have her there.

She only served as an example of what kind of teacher I did not want to be. My dream of teaching was never realized because I eventually dropped out of college after four and a half years for several reasons, not the least of which being utter despair with life. But, anyway...

The class was in the inner city, and many of the kids were underprivelaged, to say the least. There was a little girl whose name I have sadly forgotten, and I could smack myself because she most certainly deserves to be remembered. I'll call her Hope, because I pray she never lost that characteristic.

It's a funny thing when you are the new teacher, especially in the younger grades. The kids just love you, and, well, with the bitch they dealt with on a daily basis, I was not surprised to find them hovering around me, giving me hugs, and telling me they loved me. Seriously. The little rugrats rock like that.

On my second day, Hope came skipping up to the front of the class, and handed the prior evening's homework to me, beaming all the while. BAT snatched it out of my hands, scowled over the crumpled up notepad paper, tossed it aside, and said, "Hope's Mom is homeless. We don't expect a whole lot out of her."

I've never seen a more crestfallen little cherub face. It was all I could do not to cry or to scream out, "Oh my God, you FUCKING BITCH," as that wouldn't necessarily be conducive to me graduating and being a teacher very unlike her. But, for fuck's sake. I mean, there were some mistakes, but little Hope had done her homework, quite possibly on a FUCKING STREET CORNER, and rather than constructively correct her work, you TOSS IT TO THE SIDE, and insinuate that because she doesn't have a home, she's not even WORTH TEACHING!!!

That experience opened my eyes to what the educational experience is for many folks. In Hope's case, I'm sure as shit that this was a case of insidious racism. I can only wish with all my might that Hope encountered teachers in her later years that encouraged her obvious willingness to study.

On my last day of the practicum, BAT gave me a card. In it she wrote, "Good luck with the deaf-mutes!" Which, you know what? I'm not even gonna go there. Suffice it to say that deaf-mute became offensive, oh, maybe twenty or thirty years prior.

12 Leg Humps:

Storm said...

she sounds like a teacher that I was fortunate enough not to have for third grade--although I was unlucky enough to hae to have her for spelling or english or whatever they called it then.

I was scared to death of this lady. I went back to the school when I was in highschool to collect labels from the class rooms. She still scared me.

It really makes me appreciate all the good teachers I had growing up. I wish that all teachers were as good. BAT was obviously a bitter woman; she didn't understand the precious gifts and correlating responciblities that comes along with teaching. I agree with you--I wish that Hope and all the children like her come across at least one teacher that will cherish them for what they are, inspire them to greater heights, and support them when they slip.

Kjersten said...

What a noble profession. I hope that one day you'll be able to finish school and follow through with your dream... then, maybe, that will motivate me to finish too.

That woman makes me so angry. Teachers should have to go through psychological evaluations before receiving the *privilege* of teaching young children.

I was a sunday school teacher for a couple of years. The kids were always so precious and kind and loving (although sometimes hyper and loud at inopertune moments)... How could anyone demean and humiliate a child like that woman did?? I hate her!

Erika said...

I started off as an ed major as well. Music. I had similiar experiences as did my boyfriend (classical guitar). He got out and is getting his PHD to teach college and somehow I ended up as an international charter flight attendant. Now it is 2am and I am so tired I could die. It was 114 degrees or so in Kuwiat today. The air feels like satan's breath. Evil people suck!

Storm said...

hey, i found an orb photo mixed in with my clover pics that you might be interested in--want me to email it to you?

Anduin said...

What an awful woman. I taught Sunday school for a short time and fell in love with those kids. I had the 6 - 8 year olds and they were just so eager and loving. Things like what BAT said leave an impression and I hope that all it did was motivate Hope to be the best she can be.

Zube Girl said...

Storm- Kids should not be scared of their teachers. Respectful. But not scared.

And, I would LOVE to see that photo! I have a few I could e-mail to you, too! Let's exchange.

Kjersten- I agree 100% with the psychological exam deal for teachers. In a way it would be kind of fucked up, but this teacher had favorite students. All four of them were white. It was awful.

Erika- 114! At first I was a teensy bit envious of your cool-as-shit sounding job. But now, I'm not so sure.

Anduin- They are so eager to please (at least usually) at that age. I hope she managed to succeed despite the shoddy encouragement she received.

junebee said...

That about sums up what is wrong with teachers today. And sadly, due to tenure,BAT will probably keep on teaching and destroying young hopes in the way only she can.

Sorry no comments on other posts. I just
spent 5 days in hospital with viral
meningitis. The headaches were so severe
I could not even envision a computer
screen w/o getting another headacje.

PaintingChef said...

I think its such a shame some of the people that end up being teachers. People that just don't have the patience or the kindness to be shaping these kids. I think you would have been an AMAZING teacher.

Zube Girl said...

Junebee- Hopefully BAT is retired by now. I pray. Hope you're feeling better!

PaintingChef- When I did my student teaching (yes, I got through that and still dropped out of college) the teacher I worked with said I had a natural gift. I did.

To be honest, though, I kind of think about hanging out with kids ALL DAY and coming home to my own, and I think I'm happy to be working with grown up people.

junebee said...

BTW, the crooked lampshade is a nice touch on an otherwise BHG-perfect picture.

mothergoosemouse said...

Oy. More power to you (and others who have pursued teaching) - such a sad experience would have been enough to send me home in tears.

Zube Girl said...

Junebee- Hee. That was for the picture above, but that lamp is broken. They were getting rid of it at the hotel I work at, and I took it figuring we'd fix it someday.

Mother Goosemous- It was really sad. I wanted to drop that class, but my Mom said it was in my best interest to work the system so that I could someday be a better teacher. I just feel like I let that kid down majorly. But, I was getting graded too.


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