Friday, February 18, 2011

How To Cuss Out Your Students

Now, as promised, how to cuss out your students. Before we begin, let me emphasize that I do not condone cussing out your students, they deserve better from you, if not as their teacher, then at least as a fellow human being. But, if you simply must cuss out your students, the method that I advise would be the same way that I vent my occasional frustration with my students, to a colleague (or a wonderful sister who has a similar job) in private.

In all seriousness, I think a good support network is essential to an educator. For one thing, you are dealing with people all day who are not, to some degree or another, your peers. For another thing, sometimes they want a lot of you, without seeming particularly interested in giving back much effort themselves. In short, teaching can be an extremely demanding job, emotionally, professionally, temporally, and in a ton of other ways that I'm sure that I'm missing. So, I strongly suggest you find people with whom you can be honest about your job, and let the crazy soak out of you from time to time.

These people you are honest with; they should not be your students! In fact, if you for some reason feel compelled to cuss out your students in front of every stranger on the Internet, please be very careful to remove all details that could be used by your students to determine that it is indeed you who are cussing them out. By now, you may have guessed that this is inspired by the Pennsylvania teacher who got in trouble for posting a blog where she, you guessed it, cussed out her students.

Having just read some of the hateful comments on her cached blog, I find myself slightly less eager to defend them. However, it has been my experience that the truly horrible students are about matched in number by the truly inspiring, and there aren't many of either. While the majority of your students may be entitled and... unmotivated, they have spent most of their lives in a culture of "social passes," so it should hardly be a surprise when they do not quickly catch the correlation between hand work, education, and grades. On the other hand, for the most part, my students have been altogether decent people, and it has been an honor to know them. Cussing out your students, publicly, does a great disservice to the truly decent among them, even if there are but one or two.

In summary, DON'T cuss out your students, it's disrespectful even if it never gets back to them. DO find someone with whom to commiserate and in whom to confide. DON'T say mean things about your students in general publicly on the Internet. DO love your job, because if you are a public school teacher who doesn't, then there is almost nothing in it for you. Oh, one last one, DON'T simply pass them on to the next grade by virtue of them achieving another birthday at some point during the year, it really does mess them up in college!


Max said...

It doesn't make sense to me to broadcast thoughtless opinions on the Internet, (your articles are full of thoughtful opinions, and sometimes facts!), but it really baffles me when people broadcast hateful or mean opinions.

As per your update a few posts into the future from now, it's still a good idea to take into account the full potential audience that could be reading your blog, even if the hit count would indicate virtual (pun!) privacy.

Kenny said...

Yeah, carving out a public/private distinction is something that we are having trouble with, as a society. Which, now that I think about it, sounds like a great topic for a post.