Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cuckoo ale

This has nothing to do with teaching.
This is intimately related to teaching.

You tell me.

How different would we be if we allowed unprogrammed events to elicit "mirth and jollility"?

Corporations have all the legal rights of citizens in the United States, thanks to the Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company Supreme Court ruling back in 1886.

Publicly owned corporations have a legal duty to maximize profits for the shareholders, thanks to Dodge v. Ford Motor Co., Michigan Supreme Court ruling back in 1919. (OK, an oversimplification of a more complicated problem, but this is a blog, not the Yale Law Review.)

Corporations are immortal, despite the American Revolution. The Boston Tea Party was a deliberate anti-corporate act. American corporations had a finite lifetime back in the 18th century, and they faced dissolution if they failed to act in the public interest.

(This is one of those odd, true statements that rock my mind, right up there with "President Nixon was the last liberal President.")

We just became a Title 1 district--the educorporomob is baying at our doors. I spend a lot of time after school tutoring students. I consider it part of my job.

I can sign up for a tutoring company and make real dollars tutoring during the same time I spend after school helping my lambs. I'd get a nice cut of money paid to professional tutoring organizations. They'd get a nice chunk of change, too.

Alas, I have an old-fashioned sense of duty, and though the union will vociferously proclaim my right to pretty much do anything I want after 2:45 P.M., my professional obligation is to my students.

Call me a chump.

Still, when I go home at night, with a backpack full of papers to grade, I'll drink my cuckoo ale to remember, not to forget. I'm all for "mirth and jollility," and drinking a pint after a day's work well done fuels the feeling.

It used to be the American Way.


Kate said...

I have taught at my school for 12 years, and it always makes me cranky when I go looking for a teacher at 3:15 in the afternoon (my day ends at 3:10) and their room is locked and dark. Or at 7:30 in the morning (my day starts at 8:10) and their room is locked and dark.

I don't even want to venture into my issues with tutoring.

I've moved back to the middle school where there is considerably more mirth and jollity - both students and faculty. It was a wise move and although when I get an assignment handed in I have 73 to read, it can still be fun.

It's clear that this year's class needs more work on fundamental reading, sentence structure, usage, and spelling than some. Maybe together (the students, teachers, and I) we can make some of those tutors unnecessary.

John Spencer said...

@ Kate: I get frustrated when teachers leave early, but often it's things out of their control. The number of teachers who have to pick kids up from daycare or who take papers home to grade or who work early (before I ever get to school) is much larger than I once imagined.

@ Doyle: One of my favorite conversations to have with students is "Who owns the school?" It takes kids awhile to understand the concept of public ownership, but it's part of learning about the American Revolution.

They seem surprised, too, when they find that dressing as Native Americans wasn't meant as a disguise as much as it was the "native savage" myth and the idea that Indians had a better concept of a public commons.

I find it odd that, at least in assessment, instructional materials and standards, the biggest decisions are made by transnational (I wouldn't dare call McGraw Hill multinational. It would make it sound as if they feel a sense of obligation to any nation) corporations.

When I explained the system this year, a kid wrote, "That's more rigged than Chuck-E-Cheese."

Charlie Roy said...

My best teachers seem to be the ones who find the time to provide the students the help they need. I struggle with my group who race the children to the parking lot every day.

Kate said...

@John - I am not talking about the folks who have responsibilities outside of school. I know the road rally that is child care, lessons, homework, making dinner - I respect and admire those folks who make it all work. I'm talking about those teachers whose kids are grown, who like their "sleep in" when they don't have a class until 9:05. I work in a small school. We all know each other WAY too well sometimes.