Why do people DO that?!

Get ready.

Rant alert.

Last night was the first night of school vacation.  The day before I had cleaned up my classroom and packed up the math book (to spend vacation on lesson plans), the Narrative Writing Rubrics (so I can score the 24 Mystery Stories that my class finally finished) and Book One of the Lucy Calkins Reading Program (so I can desperately try to figure out what I’m supposed to be teaching in my “mini lessons.”)

I had woken up yesterday and decided to try to just relax; it was a beautiful New England spring day, and I raked the garden, turned the compost, walked the dogs.  Aaaahhhhhh.  My knotted neck muscles began to relax.

My husband had gotten us tickets to a concert at one of our favorite venues, and we headed for dinner, drinks and great blues with some friends.  And my cousin, whom I’ve known my whole life, but have rarely seen socially.

We chatted about music, our kids, beer.  We had some apps.  We had a great time!  Then someone mentioned the teachers in Atlanta who will spend 7 years in jail for cheating on the State tests.

And we were off.

My cousin, who last set foot in a school in about 1980, launched into the usual attack on public schools and teachers.

You know what I mean, right?  People who haven’t ever, ever taught anyone anything are suddenly experts on curriculum.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been teaching for 30 years, have a Master’s Degree and 25 years of graduate courses beyond it. Nope.  Everyone feels totally comfortable lecturing me about testing, discipline, teaching math, handwriting and the use of technology.

“Teachers should” are my two least favorite words.

Last night’s diatribe started when my friend asked if I had heard about the teachers in Atlanta. I expressed my shock and outrage at the sentence, commenting that it wasn’t surprising  to find people cheating when they’ve made passing the tests the most important part of teaching.

In the next ten minutes, my cousin, the guy who doesn’t teach, made these brilliant comments as I talked about my objections to the standardized tests.

“They should throw out the tests of the kids with disabilities.”

“They shouldn’t count tests for any kid who has been in your class less than half a year.”

“They shouldn’t depend on one test a year; they should give a standardized test every 30 days.”

“If teachers don’t like the tests, they should say something.”

That last one was the one that did it.  I slammed my fist on the table, shocking the hell out of everyone sitting there, then I jumped up, said, “You don’t know that the fuck you’re talking about!” and ran out of the room.

Seriously?   SERIOUSLY, folks????  WHY does every asshole on earth feel like its OK to lecture teachers about teaching? They don’t try to lecture doctors about medicine, or engineers about bridge building, or baseball players about hitting.  So why the HELL do I always end up being talked down to by people who know literally nothing about what I do every day?


And how can I avoid them the next time I decide to give myself a tiny break from the pressures of teaching?


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by 2old2tch on April 19, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Head them off at the pass. If they want a pleasant gathering, teaching and teachers are off limits. Tell them you would be happy to give them a lecture given that you have an advanced degree and years of experience in the field. If they can’t take the hint, leave before the explosion. I doubt that I could follow my own advice. I would be snarling as well and/or have a massive headache. I admire people who can maintain their cool in the face of attack and not take it personally even when it is intended that way.


    • The last few times it happened, I shrugged and got up to walk away. Last night it just hit me too hard….I had had some wine and it had been a long week…….


  2. It’s not going to help, but I’ll say it anyway — you’re wrong. Oh, you’re not wrong about people being idiots, and you’re not wrong about standardized testing, and you’re not wrong about the fact that people should learn to keep their opinions to themselves when talking to an expert. So what are you wrong about? You’re wrong when you say that assholes don’t try to “…lecture doctors about medicine, or engineers about bridge building, or baseball players about hitting.” They do. They do it all the time and at the top of their voices. And they get upset if they’re called on it. Ask around. Ask a doctor, an engineer, or baseball player. But make sure that person is comfortable talking with you honestly, because it’s a subject that tends to make them blow up too.

    Just because YOU don’t do those things doesn’t mean other people don’t do them. I’ve worked with doctors for half my adult life (and I’m OLD). I hear some of the things patients say to the doctors when the doctors tell them something they didn’t want to hear. And I’ve had doctors hire me because I was a specialist in contracts and then argue with me about what they could and couldn’t do without winding up in court (so, yes, doctors do it too). Their rebuttal source? “Why, I know a doctor that does that so YOU must be wrong…”

    Everybody does it, to some degree or other. Well, okay, everyone but you and me. That doesn’t mean we can’t still get pissed off about it…


  3. Posted by Kat on April 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    I’m sorry you had to listen to that stuff. As a fellow teacher, I’m proud of you for speaking out.


  4. Good for you! As a Sox fan, surely you’ve heard fans lecture ball players about hitting!


  5. A-freakin-men!!


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