Subject: American Schoolteachers
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 09:37:33 -0500
From: Linda Berryhill

I read with tongue in cheek your observation of the choice of magazine that a teacher might choose. Then to top it off, I read the letter from the home schooling Mom in Florida. It amuses me when I see these people who are running down public education and teachers. This woman's husband is a doctor. Wonder where he got his education! I can assure you it wasn't from Cracker Jacks! She also is teaching her children. Wonder where she learned to read and write! Sometimes we forget that teachers help create all other occupations. If you can't read and write, forget it! If you can read and write, thank a teacher. While we are on this, instead of running teachers down, why not try helping to fix the system. Also, the books the Mom is using, I bet two to one they were written by educators. I am a Professional Educator and I am proud of it! Second, how dare YOU decide if a project is relevant of not. Where did you get your education degree? Teachers are state employees and we are bound by what the state legislatures and the state education department says to do. It didn't hurt your son one bit to "waste his time" on one project. He is not the only one in the class. The project may have been an integrated content area project that others needed to do. Did you ask the teacher if he could do something else? Or was it just easier to make a big problem and be noticed and have something to write about on your website? However, sometimes one forgets that down the road of the future that stupid project may mean something for just a fleeting moment. Also, the principal that agreed with you that it was a bad project needs a lesson in employee management. He just wanted to get you out of his office. That is his job! More than likely he has a degree in English or P.E. Odds are he didn't have a math degree or math certification. Just because you know math doesn't mean you understand it and just because you understand it doesn't mean you can apply, synthesize and evaluate it. I hold a BS in Science, MS in Math, and I am on my way to a PhD in Science. These are not all education degrees. We have a system that needs to be fixed. But, nobody wants to help fix it, but everybody is willing to place blame for it. I recently held fall conferences for my students and out of 42 students, I had only 10 parents show up. Maybe the answer to education lies outside of the classroom and not with the classroom. However, I would rather teach than do anything else in the world. Let me add that I am quite aware that there are "bad" teachers out there. However, there are "bad" doctors, lawyers, nurses, web site builders, and mathematicians. Education is the most important thing a person can give to a child next to spending time with them. I hope the children in Florida do well in life, but I bet they are going to have social problems. They have never had to work with someone they don't like. They have not had to share materials and books with other students. They do not have anybody's ideas except the ones their parents posses. It also sounds as though the boys have a father that is too busy with work to help his "teacher" wife. I would be very concerned if these students were in my class. More than likely they would be wonderful to teach and work with, however, what message is being sent to them when their father's practice takes up to much of his time. Last, you have a very interesting website. I will be sharing it with my students. Oh, I didn't tell you. I teach at-risk, socio-economically depressed, and culturally diverse students. They are the greatest! Most are behind when they come to us and it is a joy to see them excel in the right environment. Before any one passes judgment on teachers, let me invite you to walk in my shoes for just one year. I guarantee you will change your mind and stop putting down teachers and start helping us try to fix the system or create a new one. Thank you for the opportunity to express my views.

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