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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Moments in Education to be proud of

A substitute teacher in the Tampa area says he was fired earlier this year, because a middle school student and the student's dad complained to school officials about the teacher.

Did they complain that the sub touched the kid? Nope.

Or that he told the kid dirty jokes? Nope.

Or that he pimp-slapped the kid? Nope.

The teacher performed a "magic" trick, in which he made a toothpick disappear.

Just so you know, the toothpick didn't disappear 'cause the teacher sat on it and squeezed it between his butt cheeks or anything. It was simple, sleight-of-hand.

So this kid freaked out and after school ran home and told his dad he believed his substitute teacher was some kind of sorcerer and had performed wizardry at school. Wizardry.

What does the dad do? Pimp-slap the kid and say "quit being silly; go do your homework!" Nope.

Say nothing, but go into the kid's room and gather all his Dungeons & Dragons parphernalia and burn it? Nope.

Tell the kid he's been reading too much Harry Potter? Nope.

Use the kid's paranoia to his advantage and tell him if he doesn't do his chores Dumbledore will come and get him in the middle of the night? Nope.

The dad got angry with the teacher and complained to the school and to district administration.

What did the school officials do? Tell dad and son to get a life and get bent? Nope.

They fired the teacher, because he scared the kid...with his wizardry.

To offer both sides, the school district says they dumped the teacher 'cause of bad habits in the classroom.

I don't know why, but my cynical side believes the teacher.

And moving right along to "higher" education, a Dartmouth professor is suing some of her students for violating federal discrimination law. The alleged discrimination? They sometimes failed to pay attention to her, they complained to her supervisors about her teaching style and alleged that she refused to accept contrary opinions and would lower the grades of students who openly disagreed with her.

This all makes me wanna consider homeschooling when we eventually have kids. Even for college. Probably cheaper ;>)

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  • See that's what's wrong with people. They spend too much time trying to control everyone. That professor was straight up college nazi and that dad, only time will tell, that kid of his is going to be his pay back.

    By Blogger C, at 9:25 PM  

  • I can't wait until some school teacher tells that kid that the Earth ISN'T only 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs DID exist and that it WASN'T Noah's Flood that created the Grand Canyon.

    By Blogger Jay, at 10:32 PM  

  • So Jay,,,,,you think because the dad was a pussified wimp- that he was a conservative biblethumping fundimentalist creationalist?

    Sorry, I'm not 'nuanced' enough to get that out of the article.

    By Blogger KurtP, at 11:27 PM  

  • When I retired the first time, the mayor wanted me to teach in any of the local high schools. I had talked to people who had left teaching and heard the stories of what parents had pulled, and why they left because the teachers wouldn't put up with the harassment anymore. Industry paid a lot better. Who was it that said that we're the most litigious society on Earth?

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:39 PM  

  • me either kurtp.
    I saw that on one of the news feeds.
    Oh dear James, I'm going to get on your bad side now... uh... I've had a few experiences with reporters not telling the whole story, tho. I may do a post on that this month yet. So, I'm questioning the veracity of the whole situation as told.

    And the professor. For some reason I believe that Dart mouth story. (Yes. Dart Mouth. Her.)

    By Blogger Pamela, at 12:18 AM  

  • I really got a laugh over how you presented this. But those people certainly show how crazy things are out there. Talk about uptight. I'd like to follow them both home though and see what goes on there. Yikes.

    By Blogger CrystalChick, at 6:33 AM  

  • Maybe the toothpick was the last straw.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 6:36 AM  

  • C, I agree: control freaks bite.

    Jay, it is frustrating that the dad seemed clueless, but I gotta say I didn't draw the religious theme from the articles I read about the incident. I guess it's possible it's there, but it hadn't occured to me. If anything, the conclusion I drew was that this kid and his dad were simply uptight eggheads...if the teacher's version of why he was fired is true.

    KurtP, see my comment to Jay.

    Monty, probably a wise call. Kids need good teachers, but if you've worked long enough to retire do you really need that headache?

    Pamela, no need to apologize to me. I see this situation similar to that of the woman who apologized to me for saying "black guy:" I didn't write any of the articles in question, so I'm not offended on that front. I don't personally know any of the reporters who wrote the articles in question, so I'm not offended on that front. And I was careful in my post to make clear that this wasn't a story I'd reported and that I was culling it from other news outlet(s). As far as your experiences with lest than honest reporters, post away. Maybe it'll help wake some journalists up and keep on their toes. On the other hand, whenever anyone tells me that they're chagrined over a crooked journalist and doubtful of the news thereafter, I ask them if they quit going to doctors, 'cause plenty of them go bad each year. Or maybe they'd represent themselves if they ever ended up in court, 'cause there are plenty of crooked lawyers. And teachers? Put a chastity belt on your kid if he/she has an attractive, relatively young teacher. You know I'm being facetious, but my point is if you look hard enough you can find shady characters in every profession. I'd argue there are no more - maybe less ;>) - shady people in the news biz than any other. It's just that the nature of this biz puts our mistakes out there for everyone to see. If you do that post though on reporters not telling the whole story, ask me about my first encounter with that sort of accusation. It was eye-opening, and not necessarily in a way you might assume.

    Crystalchick, uptight is exactly what I was thinking. Seriously, take away the religious component and I'm envisioning some form of Ned Flanders.

    Sarc, that's possible too. Maybe the teacher's right, and the school's right. Maybe they did fire him 'cause of the toothpick trick, but only because it was the latest in a string of things he'd done wrong...though I don't consider the toothpick trick something wrong.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:57 AM  

  • I don't know - this ranks up there with that story of the 2nd grade girl getting suspended from school because her mom accidentally left a butter knife in her lunch box.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 10:33 AM  

  • Karmyn, we've been seeing stories of administrative overkill like that for years. Frustrating. Instead of the overkill it would be cheaper and quicker to exercise a policy of common sense: a kid shows up with a vial of crack or tabs of oxy? Look into it. Suspend them, get them treatment, whatever. A kid shows up with a Tylenol? Quit wasting eveyrone's time and let the kid get on with his school work. Same goes for the kid with the gun vs. the kid with the knife AND fork in his lunch bag.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:05 PM  

  • Sounds like it's time to have zero tolerance for Zero Tolerance rules.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 6:56 PM  

  • But . . . but . . . professors have always marked pupils down for disagreeing with the opinions they put forward - in some disciplines anyhow. Even if said disagreeing students have been able to argue their cases really well.

    But suing them? Sheesh!

    & that parent . . .

    BTW - for the benefit of those of us further out of touch than the Cassini probe, what's pimp-slapping?

    By Blogger Bronchitkat, at 8:52 AM  

  • I can't tell you how much I hate to say this, but (audible sigh) back when I was a kid...
    Okay that's all I can stand, but believe me I have stories all revolving around the fact that teachers were GOD back in the day. Nothing you said to your parents about what happened at school meant doodily. It seems we have overcompensated again and now the students are GOD. Why, why do we go to these extremes?

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 6:19 PM  

  • Wow. I hadn't heard this story. Unbelievable. I wonder if that kid also checks pineapples at the grocery store to see if there are talking, pants-wearing sponges living inside. Idiot! (And even more idiot parents!)

    By Blogger Balou, at 9:22 AM  

  • I had't read that type of story. Please post some more stories like this.


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