This is a lightharted forum out to the French or people that know them well:
Between Bush and Kerry; Who do the French think is more classy and good looking? (Remember hard politics laid aside,)
the French definately prefer Kerry. Besides the politics, they prefer him because he speaks French (I’ve had French tell me this in France at Easter). Also, he seems to understand how to get along better with people than Bush. The French call him cowboy, and if you watch Bush speak ,(when he’s not reading a prepared, rehearsed speach) he talks and carrys himself like a redneck. I have many friends in southern Texas and they carry themselves with class and dignity. Bush stands and talks like a redneck, which does not go unnoticed to any European.
my favorite one from him is "nucluear weaponz". Each time I hear him pronounce this it cracks me up. I even told that to my mom and we had a big laugh.
I know that Texans tend to speak slow and with a drawl, like my Texas friends. This certainly doesn’t make them stupid, however, when you combine that with Bush’s apparent lack of something coherent to say, it stereotypes all Texans as stupid (European/French view).
oh I love the Southern drawls, and I think they’re pretty charming. I just don’t like dangerous dumb chimps.
Many Europeans love the Southern drawl, however, it doesn’t sound professional on a man when the words coming from that drawl are incoherent and the thoughts are idiotic sounding. Of course they prefer Kerry!
so, do you think he’ll win ? We’re all eager to know that here.
He didn’t win the last time and we’re still stuck with him!
Kerry in a landslide. Not that he is anything special himself. "Liveshot" Kerry as we refer to him. But his competition is dismal and frightening. Donerail
Never overestimate the American public. When we lived in NC, every election year I swore Jessie Helms could not possibly win the election. Every election year . . . Jessie Helms won the election. There’s no accounting for taste! Sad but true.
They didn’t care if he was a bigot; he got things done for them.
SalB: I think you meant to say never UNDERESTIMATE the American public. There has been the odd anomaly in our election history. Nixon and Reagan’s second terms for example. Jesse Ventura and of course your current Governor. I can’t remember the specifics, but I think a dead man was being elected a senator a few years back. As far as NC electing Jesse Helms, the are only two reasons why he could have gotten elected beyond one term: (1) an uninformed electorate as he Helms didn’t much of anything for them or (2) NC just loves a bigot just like SC liked Thurmond. Both were right wing bible thumpers who lived off the defense budget. In any event, those events are exceptions to the rule. Even with the dumbing down of America (no offense to teachers…) I doubt that we are collectively stupid enough to put Bush back in there for another four. Granted, Liveshot Kerry isn’t the Second Coming of Thomas Jefferson, but we are talking Shrub Junior as the opponent. He couldn’t even beat Gore. Donerail
donerail: it’s not the teachers who are dumb. It’s the kids, they dont want to work or study I have many examples of this..I’m sure SalB does, too Let’s not forget the parental factaor, or lack of…
I meant "Never OVERESTIMATE the American public" . . . as in "to esteem too greatly." You said Kerry would win in a landslide. That assumes the American public will view Bush’s governance as a disaster and will vote for Kerry simply to get Bush out of office. I’m saying you give the American public too much credit for figuring that out. Mark Twain would agree with me since he coined the phrase. (Which shows this is not a new problem.)
NC didn’t continue to elect Helms because he was a bigot. They continued to elect him in spite of the fact he was a bigot. The reason they did this was because he did get things done for them. If you had a problem and contacted Helm’s office, you got an immediate answer and usually a fairly immediate result. He knew which side of the bread to put the butter. Being a bigot in NC isn’t enough to negate an election. Some people agreed with him and others simply wanted their own agenda enough that they ignored his bigotry.
I must agree with LaVieilleBranche on the main problem with American education right now. Students simply don’t want to work. There are too many more interesting things to do with their time. There is not a pressing need for them to learn. They can work a counter for a rental car agency, work a checkout or cut meat at a supermarket, sell surf boards or roller blades and make more money than their teachers, so why should they care about education?
Most students aren’t dumb; they are simply not motivated. Parents and society can help, but motivation has to come from within. They need to motivate themselves. It isn’t a passive action; someone else can’t motivate them while they sit and absorb it. Society chastises teachers and parents for not motivating students. It’s not gonna happen. Students need to motivate themselves. Go in any classroom from Kindergarten up to about third or fourth grade. The kids love school; they love learning. Then it slowly fades as they become more social beings. By the time they arrive in middle school (all of which should be abolished), they are no longer interested in learning.
I’ll admit society could make self motivation much easier for them. Parents could (and many do) impress on kids that learning is important and not always fun. Knowing is fun; getting knowledge isn’t always. We could glamorize our scholars and learned men and women instead of our sports and movie stars. We could de-emphasize the whole dating scene so ten-year-olds didn’t feel the need to date, and kids’ sole goal in middle school wasn’t to attract the opposite sex.
Teachers haven’t dumbed down America. Society has dumbed down America. Teachers are victims as much as students are victims, perhaps more so. Many try desperately to make education fun and interesting and still cram as much knowledge into the recalcitrant learners as possible. They do tend to burn out rather quickly though.
SalB: Thank you for saying it as it is, with regards to teachers
SalB/LaVieilleBranche: I wonder why it is that most teachers are so defensive. I merely made an observation about the dumbing down of America -and taking care not to cast blame on the teachers – and SalB and LaVieilleBranche launch into a tirade as to how it is not the teacher’s fault. There are only three principals involved: the kids, the teachers, and the parents. Only one of these principals are being paid by "the system" (and I agree they don’t get paid enough) and that is the teachers. Of course kids are going to be a challenge. Thats because they’re kids. Massachusetts passed a law that high school students had to take and pass an achievement test ("MCAS" or they don’t graduate. The howling from the teachers and their unions was unbelievable. When it came to periodic competency exams for teachers (which I disagree with and it didn’t pass) they became ballistic. Personally, I think good teachers make a great difference. You both are selling your profession so short. I remember when I was in the Army, the saying was: "If the student failed to learn, the teacher failed to teach." I know SalB is passionate about teaching. Look how she tries so hard with me? crc95, how is the student/teacher/parent situation in LaFrance? Donerail
Forum Admin: I didn’t put that smiley face thing in my post after the acronym "MCAS" in my prior post. Did you put that in there? I don’t use those rediculous things. My prose has been tainted. Donerail
donerail: you said, "If the student failed to learn, the teacher failed to teach." what about the student who refuses to study or take school seriously? That student failed to learn and it was his own fault.
You cannot blame everything on the teachers. Teachers are overworked and underappreciated for what they contribute to society. Not every student wants to learn.
If you can read this post and can reply to it, thank a teacher.
donerail and DrEska: both of you are now complaining that additions have been made to your posts. Maybe somebody found a way to hack the visitfrance.travel servers and edit our postings.
Now we know why ikorrelim hasn’t been posting…too busy finding backdoors into the servers?
I don’t want to speak for the Forum Administrator but I do know that certain symbols and punctuation marks used in combination create these little smiley faces. Try typing the same thing again and see if you get the same smiley face. If you do, you may have to leave out the parentheses. The worst offenders are the parentheses marks because they are the smiles!
As far as your "If the student failed to learn, the teacher failed to teach." The Army is a whole different story from the public schools. If we could use some of the Army punishments, discipline would sure be a lot easier. The Army doesn’t get too excited about self esteem.
We had one man on our school board who announced he would not be happy until ALL our district students scored in the 90th percentile on the standardized tests. No more than 10% of the kids will score in the 90-100 percentile rankings. That’s what a percentile is.
If your student body scores in the 50th percentile in intelligence, they are certainly not going to score in the 90th percentile on a normed state exam. Oddly, they will score in the 50th percentile. I wonder why that is so difficult to understand?!
I would have to say I agree I think our educational system in the US is rather shabby. Besides this obsesive secular-nazis frenzy, I think that France has a way better educational system that the US. If you study the way the French lay it all out, it’s a lot more organized than this thing we have in the US.
About the military thing; One of the Senators in our legislator put an amendment to an education bill that would require all students in the state to wear uniforms. It passed the Senate and the was ripped out in the House. The funny thing is that this Senator never combs often wears a Rugratz tie and passed his crotch. So much for uniformity.
Anyway about John Kerry;
I think that the French absalutly hate him. You see his mother was French and he through her inherited a castle of some sort in France. He claimed the office, but never bothered to do his job there. He never showed up.
SalB/LaVieilleBranche: I think both of you need to get a grip.LaVieilleBranche: I didn’t blame the dumbing down problem all on the teachers. But now that you bring it up, I would apportion the teachers 50% of the blame. The other half would be go to the student/parent/gurardian. If you have a degree in education, you should have learned the tools with which to teach – or did you not learn those tools? If you did not learn those tools whose fault was it? If you did learn them, why aren’t you using them? (Not you personally, but the profession. I wish I didn’t have to say this, but you and SalB are somewhat thin skinned. If I was that thin skinned, I would have taken your "…if you can read this…" remark personally. Then, I probably would have responded along the lines that your grammar is starting to look a lot like Amero-Franc’s. SalB: A couple of comments. (1) The Army. When I was in the Army, I was unaware of any punishment being handed out to students. How you grabbed on to that one is interesting indeed. As for self esteem, I believe the Army valued it very highly. At least that was the case when I was in the service. Everyone was subject to the draft back then and we got all cross sections of society to teach and be taught. (2) I think you hit on the crux of the problem with the member of the school board. I would have interpreted his comment as that he was looking for "excellence" in his school system. That is exactly what we need. The search and accountability for excellence. Your reaction as a school teacher was predictable. You would prefer to ridicule him and start coming up with excuses as to why expecting excellence is either something a mathematical chore or otherwise unrealistic. Hence the dumbing down of America.
Amero-franc: Your recent post to this thread is very timely. I ride a Harley and one of the juvenile things that we do is put weird little stickers on our helmets. Gross sayings, jokes, and the like. One of my favorates is: "I am not totally useless. I can be used as the bad example." BTW, I would be interesting to hear a Frenchman weigh-in on our education crisis in the USA. Donerail
We have friends with children in (or who went through) the French school system. Generally, it is excellent. They spend more time in school; the courses are more rigorous and the schools tend to be more disciplined. They teach logic and reasoning which would be a good addition to the Boston curriculum.
On the down side, we were talking to a woman in Grasse a few years ago and she said they were Americanizing their kids’ school. She and her husband were appalled at the increasing lack of discipline and the fact that kids were being praised for doing a bare minimum rather than for doing things above and beyond the call of duty. We were wondering why they wanted to change a system that works into our system that has so many problems.
Most of our French friends say their kids’ teachers are almost harsh. They expect good behavior; they expect work to be done; they expect students to attend class and be on time. (Imagine that!) They have much more homework than we are allowed to assign. The kids are nearly never praised and often see classmates humiliated. (Their kids are too savvy to do something bad enough to be put in that situation!) If an American teacher did that, they would be suspended, sued and/or fired. In the US, just giving a kid a well-deserved D or F will get you called into the office. If you’re lucky, it will be gently suggested that you made a mistake and "junior" should really have gotten a B. If you don’t take the hint, they start turning the thumbscrews. I got so mad at a principal once that I told him I refused to change the kid’s grade but that if he felt the school was going to be in trouble because of it, he could change it himself and take the responsibility. He actually backed down and let the grade stand. The kid, I might add, had missed more than half of his classes. No, he was not ill.
I got my information on military schools more recently than you did. Our oldest daughter was in the Air Force and attended one of their schools. She said if her high school teachers had been able to discipline their students the way the military did (use a little yelling and good old-fashioned humiliation with a bit of tough physical exercise thrown in as punishment), the high school would have been a much better school. I can only imagine what would happen in the AF if a kid pulled a knife. In our school, if the blade wasn’t 3-1/2 inches long, the kid was sent home for the day and told he was a bad boy. The next day it started all over. In the AF, the kid would be sent to Leavenworth!
Everyone says they want high standards, but if you flunk a kid on a test or a course, those same people are furious at you. They think if the kid shows up most of the time, he should pass. I had a senior in college sit in the back row sleeping through my class. When it was time to go, his wife poked him; he woke up and they left. His wife, who stayed awake, passed handily. The joker who slept failed. He was quite surprised that I failed him. Fortunately the dean is a friend of ours and he supported me. However, if the guy had raised enough fuss, the vice president of the university would have changed his grade. I’ve seen it done before. We must not discourage our students . . . it might hurt their self esteem. Oh yes, why didn’t I wake him? If I embarrassed him in front of the class by waking him, he would go screaming to the administration about my lack of concern for his feelings. I’ve seen that happen too, and often.
I had another college senior who told me all my red marks on her homework papers were lowering her self esteem (her exact words). I cheerfully offered to not mark her papers if that would make her feel better. She finally realized she would flunk the tests if she didn’t know what she did wrong. She passed.
As far as our school board member, he literally meant that he wanted all the students to score in the 90th percentile on the standardized tests. He didn’t want excellence. He wanted "his" kids to be better than "other" kids. It wasn’t a matter of education to him. It was a matter of personal pride. Ask him to purchase text books or materials and he refused. He actually had a fight with a biology teacher who dared mention Darwin. (The biology teacher left the district!)
LaVieilleBranche’s "If you can read this . . ." remark is a bumper sticker. It wasn’t meant for you personally. It’s a generalization.
I’m not sure why you think your spelling and grammar are better than anyone else’s on this board. You make a lot of mistakes and we are all kind enough to assume they are typos or you are in a hurry. Look at only the previous post. "favorates" "I would be interesting to hear a Frenchman . . . " Let’s see how thick your skin is.
Actually, I’ve been posting either late at night or early in the morning while blow-drying my hair. I’ve not proofread my posts lately as I’ve done in the past. I regret any bad grammar or typos. I just wasn’t up to the the task at midnigh of proofreading. If Amero-Franc can get away with terrible grammar and spelling, why can’t the rest of us?
I’m tired at midnight or 1 A.M. What is his excuse?
For that matter, why is it an okay American sport to bash teachers? Why not criticize sports announcers, plumbers, nurses, engineers, food service workers, doctors (50% of the illness in the US is CAUSED by doctors), librarians, firemen, car rental clerks, mailmen, stock brokers, web designers, weathermen, for Pete’s sake. They’re only right 80% of the time.
One of the reasons kids don’t behave in school is that it is okay in this country to disrespect teachers. All a kid has to do is tell Mom and Dad that it’s the teachers fault. That absolves the kid of all responsibility and sends a screaming parent in to the principal / dean / director’s office, or worse yet, to the school board. It never occurs to anyone to believe the teacher. The kid is always right.
When I was a kid, my mother told me that if I got spanked in school that I could expect another spanking when I got home. That certainly isn’t an option any more. I don’t think teachers should paddle children but when the threat was there, we behaved a whole lot better.
The point is not the paddling; the point is that there is no support for teachers hence, no discipline. I’m not talking about a rowdy student or two in a classroom. What we have today are classrooms with ten to fifteen uncontrollable kids disrupting the entire learning process. Combine that with the fact that it seems to be okay to remove kids from the classroom to go on vacation, hunting trips or to babysit younger siblings on a regular basis and why does anyone think teaching is possible in these situations. In California we have 34 to 40 kids in a classroom built for 15 to 20 kids. The teachers are expected to teach their own music, art, physical education and they do not have a planning period. You kill yourself and then open up your favorite web site and are told you are an incompetent boob. There are a lot of excellent teachers out there and they deserve to be respected.
Am I upset? You bet.
Maybe because the sports announcers weren’t taught to be good good sports announcers; the plumbers weren’t taught to be good plumbers; the Nurses weren’t taught to be good Nurses; etc.
SalB: Why is it when I ask you "what time is it?" you either go out and build a clock or you lecture on the inadequacies of the shape of the time zones? I hope you feel better after having vented. You would make the rest of us feel better if you would now stop whining. I certainly hope you are not upset with me!! A few posts ago I merely referred to the "dumbing down of America," taking care not to blame teachers. I guess that statement really sent you and LaVieilleBranche off the deep end. I know you both are teachers and I hope you both are very good at it. I really do believe there is no more important job in America than teaching. I can still see the faces of those great teachers who made a difference for me. Based upon your collective reaction, I felt the need to voice my opinion. If you must categorize my opinion, please refer to it as "constructive criticism" as opposed to "teacher bashing." The first third of your first July 1st post was informative. The rest of it was both entertaining and troubling.
Having said that, I feel the need to comment on the depth and intensity of your defensiveness. I don’t think your defensiveness is particularly helpful but I can deal with it. I do see that you lose your objectivity when you get upset. Alas, I suppose we all do. Now, since you asked me to do so, I will respond as objectively as I know how to some of your concerns.
1. I find it distressing that teachers (whether "pressed" to do so or not) would compromise on values and standards – and on outright truths – when it concerns the education of our youth. SalB, you informed me and I feel sad with the information. In my field, – which is nowhere near as important as teaching – I would not compromise with the truth or honesty. At least not knowingly. I have had countless arguments with my bosses over the years and many times I lost the argument or the boss ruled "I’ve heard enough, this is the way its going to be…" But never was there a compromise over fact or truth. To hear that teachers do this almost as a matter of routine is indeed disturbing. Applause for that biology teacher.
2. I hope "the joker," by the way, failed because he didn’t pass your exams and not because he was resting his eyes during your classes. Or because he liked to sit in the back row. If he was sleeping, at least he had the courtesy of doing it in the back row. Your lectures must have had a soothing effect on him. In any event, you might clarify that it was the exams he failed that was the reason for his failing. And not because he liked to rest his eyes (or sleep) in your classes.
3. Not that I totally disagree with some of your conclusions about training/teaching in the military – I am somewhat amazed, however, that you formulate that opinion based upon the input of one soldier in one of the branches of the vast Armed Forces. I would have preferred a larger and more objective sample size. (Not that it matters much to our bantering back and forth, but there is a big difference between how "Basic Training" is taught versus how the education process is conducted later on after Basic Training. Just so you know that.)
4. I see where you are now capable of figuring out what LaVieilleBranche "meant" in her post to me. That is quite a talent. How do you do it? I am not sure you are correct on it though, and you may want to re-read the interchange between LaVieilleBranche and me.
5. You wanted to know why I think my spelling and grammar is better than anyone else’s on this board. (There you go, even thinking for me now!) The short and truthful answer is: I don’t. Your spelling and grammar, for example, is clearly superior to mine – but not by a landslide. There are many eloquent posters on here. That is why I like these forums. (I don’t use the feature "Message edited by…" which seems so popular.) Truth be known, I do feel that my spelling and grammar is better than some of the folks on here. Hopefully it is better than most, but that is for others to ascertain. And if more truth be known, I do misspell six words constantly. I think it is only six. I don’t know why I do this or why I can’t seem to correct this shortcoming. "Favorate" is one them. Now help me out, since you have the skills and are a professional, why don’t you read a sample of Donerail posts along with a sample from LaVieilleBranche and Amero-franc. I have done this and I have come up with a grade of "A" for Donerail, "B" for LaVieilleBranche, and "F" for Amero-franc. Can you give us a grade? Be brave and be honest.
6. I couldn’t find who called you an incompetent boob but it sure wasn’t me. Has the Administrator been censoring again? Of course, after I get my grade I might feel otherwise.
PS. I did have a Drill Sergeant who caught me sleeping during one of his classes. I had to hold a fifty pound rock for the rest of his class. I can’t remember what his class was all about, however.
Amero-Franc, I asked why do the NOT bash sports announcers, plumbers, nurses, etc. You misinterpreted the comment and answered the reverse of the question.
I’m impressed that you can hold a 50 pound rock. That’s amazing. I sure can’t. (I’ve used your numbers below for reference.)
1) It’s not the teachers who compromise their standards, it is the administration. They are terrified of losing funding and/or support from parents and school board. The teachers fight as long as they can, but you have to remember that most of them have families and student loans and homes to pay for so they are not going to jeopardize their jobs. Our friendly neighborhood biology teacher happened to be a single man who was more than happy to move on. Most places have a glut of teachers and it is extremely difficult to get a job so if you have one, you don’t dump it lightly. You may not be able to get another.
Most teachers fight as hard as they can to uphold their standards. What we hear about in the press are the ones who are forced to back down . . . or who have completely given up after being beaten down for years.
2) Yes, the student failed my class because he failed the tests . . . royally! I didn’t care if he was sleeping as long as he didn’t snore. I did give attendance 5% of the grade, but that was not my choice. I was an adjunct and did what I was told. I was trying to say that it’s very difficult to teach when a student doesn’t want to learn.
3) I wasn’t referring to basic training but to her experience with the Air Force military school for which they get college credit. Your original comment appeared to be based on your own experience so it seemed my daughter’s experience might be pertinent. Each of you is only one person. Also, if a teacher used the fifty pound rock for punishment, he would be in jail. That’s child endangerment.
4) I did reread it before I posted. I think I’ll let LaVieilleBranche speak to this one. Of course I can’t read her mind, but it is a common bumper sticker.
5) I don’t give forum grades so you’re out of luck. I also don’t (usually) comment on the spelling and grammar of other people. I was at the end of my tether and I do apologize for that remark. I think it is the country’s collective blaming of an entire profession for the sins of very few of its members that incites me to riot.
6) Sorry, I was paraphrasing. I thought you’d catch it.
PS I love the edit button. You can take out extra spaces, move apostrophes, take out entire paragraphs. You may not believe this (sure you will), but I take out half of what I write. I tend to be a bit wordy . . . in case you haven’t noticed.
On the subject of French education and this holds true in many European countries:
They tend to separate the students at about junior high school level into different segments of the education system. If the student hasn’t done particularly outstanding work academically, he/she is moved into a vocational track or into a less rigorous academic track.
This has a couple effects. It keeps the best and brightest together and they can be truly challenged. It puts the less academically gifted students into a kind of schooling that may be of more interest and of more use them them. It guarantees insofar as possible that most students will be trained for some useful job.
There are negative effects too, of course. The "late bloomer" is wiped out before he/she has a chance to bloom. It also tends to keep certain social groups together . . . and in charge.
We used to separate students here too. It was called "tracking" and is not politically correct at the moment. We are now into "inclusion" which puts all ability groupings into the same classroom situation and supposedly prepares all students for college. In theory this sounds wonderful, but in practice all students are not college material. It can be very frustrating for both students and teachers. When the students get too frustrated, they become discipline problems or simply drop out. They’re lost.
The up side of it is that often a "late bloomer" will show up and bloom his or her junior or senior year in high school and a child who would never have had the opportunity to move up the social ladder climbs a few rungs. He or she can even become President!
There is good and bad in both systems. Hopefully some day we will all find a system that incorporates the best of both worlds.
SalB: Again, I accept your apologies. I think I need to recommend you for an Outward Bound course. I hear and understand your arguments. I also believe that your experiences are true. Bottom line is that a teacher cannot compromise on values. If a kid flunks a test that most pass, he or she has to flunk. Case closed. Fini. If the "powers that be" overrule you, thats their problem not yours. If that becomes a performance issue for them, I would introduce them to my lawyer. If you knuckle under to pressure to do otherwise, you have to accept responsibility for the results. If the entire faculty had the courage of the biology teacher, you can bet your ass the administration would change their orientation. It is very difficult to have your kids taught without the benefit of a teacher. I wasn’t too impressed with the teaching skills of most of the nuns that I had in grade and high school. A couple were memorable but most were lackluster. They could wield that paddle pretty well and discipline was still an issue. When I got to college, I then saw the value of of good teachers versus mediocre ones. I can still remember those that instilled knowledge to me just by their lectures. I could just close my eyes and the knowledge would filter into my brain. It was electric. There were others that were just an embarrassment. They were very intelligent, they just couldn’t teach. Please don’t be upset, when you are recounting your travels to LaFrance, I am all ears. I am also all ears when you chastise me, which seems to be very often but I appreciate your efforts and concerns. Respectfully, your humble servant, Donerail
SalB: YOU GO GIRL! YOU SAY IT THE WAY IT IS!
SalB: Don’t forget the student who REFUSES to work or study anything for the semester/marking period. This said student then EXPECTS an A for the marking period but receives instead a failing grade. What happens next? His PARENTS come storming into the Principal’s office, DEMANDING that the teacher change the failing grade to some sort of passing grade. And guess WHO the principal sides with?? You guessed it, he sides with the parents and threatens the teacher with dismissal if the grade isn’t changed.
I should move to France and teach there. These things rarely, if ever happen in France.
The Jura is calling me
LaVieilleBranche: Your defensiveness rivals SalB’s. Stop whining and teach. Donerail
LaVielleBranche/SalB: I don’t know why it took so long for me to realize it, but as teachers the two of you get the whole summer off! No wonder you have both been to LaFrance so many times. All the more reason you should "cowboy up" and start teaching and stop whining. Donerail
donerail: I have 950 students each week who pass through my classroom. I trained my choruses in everything from Louis Armstrong to Leo Delibes. In 2 years, I turned a bunch of urban students into an elite chorus who love to sing jazz, ragtime AND French OPERA….They sing in perfect tune and in complicated harmonies. I don’t get to pick who can join. I must take them ALL….
You try to do what I do
LaVieilleBranche: That is more like it. It is much more enjoyable when you are not whining. Now if you could only convince SalB to do the same. 950 kids a week? No, I think I will pass on that. You folks do earn your pay. Donerail
donerail, I hate to rain on your parade, but teachers do not get paid all year. They only get paid for the time they teach. I did not get a paycheck in August and September. We got our June check on July 1 and didn’t get another check until the September check arrived on October 1. That, I might add, included a week or more in August that somehow disappeared into the Sept. check.
Some districts have an arrangement whereby the teachers can have their 9 or 10 months of pay divided by 12 and thus receive a check every month but they still are paid only for the time they teach. They do not get vacation. Teachers have no vacation pay except a week to ten days at Christmas and a one or more days at Easter which is taken away if you have too many snow days. Enough snow and you teach on Saturdays and into your summer unpaid vacation.
In the summer teachers are expected to pay to go to school on their own time and if they can’t do it in summer, during the winter they run from job to college to pick up extra credits. They pay for it themselves . . . no company benefits here! We don’t use company cars, have company credit cards, get "percs" or have stock options. And if the state budget isn’t voted through on time (the last 17 years in CA), we receive an IOU from the state instead of a paycheck. Oh yes, just in case the budget might not go through, they pink slip everyone who isn’t tenured nearly every year so they can fire them if the budget is lower than expected. That gives you a nice warm feeling when you’re making your house payment!
Many teachers get other jobs in the summer just to support their families. I have no idea why everyone thinks teachers get three months of vacation. It just isn’t so. I’ve taught in four states and my mother and grandmother before me taught in several states each.
LaVieilleBranche’s 950 kids are not unusual for a music, art or PE teacher. I have a friend who teaches over 1000 kids every week. Music teachers and PE teachers have accountability. It’s called a winning basketball or football season or, for music, auditions and tryouts for all the various groups your kids’ parents want them to be in. Of course, all those groups rehearse after school or on the weekends so those are gone too . . . no extra pay of course.
Then there are committees, reports and writing grants so you’ll have some money to buy supplies for your students. The average teacher spends over $500 a year for student school supplies which means many spend a lot more than that. The ones who spend less probably can’t afford it because they’re at the bottom of the pay scale.
I wouldn’t think of telling you what is wrong with everyone in your profession. I don’t know enough about it. You don’t know enough about teaching . . . although you may be learning a few things. Just because you’ve been to the doctor doesn’t mean you can remake the medical profession.
We’re not whining. We’re trying to help you understand.
Obviously you have never known a 35-40 year old single mother who was trying desperately to keep her job so her own kids could go to college and do something better than teach. It’s very well for you to talk about hiring a lawyer but lawyers cost a lot of money and a teacher will probably lose if his administration is not supporting him. Obviously you have never known a 35-50 year old man whose wife was dying of cancer and he was trying to keep the family together. These people have spent their entire lives in their community; their kids are in their schools; they can’t affod a lawyer and they know it won’t work anyway. Excuse my cynicism, but the guy with the biggest pocketbook wins. You equally obviously didn’t read the part about there being a glut of teachers in many places. There are too many of them so if you rock the boat, they get rid of you and hire someone more tractable. They don’t recruit teachers. Teachers beg for jobs!
Why do they do it? They love learning and they love kids and want to help them . . . despite the attitudes they face every day from the press and public. The kids make it worth while. That big "Oh, I understand!" when you see the light bulb go on makes it all worth while. (Of course a beer on Friday night helps too!)
SalB: I made two statements: (1) teachers aren’t paid enough. (2) teachers get the summer off. Now "rain on my parade" as you so eloquently put it, and tell me which statement (or both?) was incorrect? And SalB, I believe that you have seen a lot of people who have had tragedies in their lives. Your observation that I have "obviously" not is somewhat insulting but it is also not unexpected. That is the essence of defensiveness. Now, rain on my parade and tell me which of my statements was incorrect. Donerail
I see you asked me about teachers in France … sorry I haven’t replied earlier, but I was gone on an extended week-end with my mom in Lyon, where I could enjoy her ratatouille and some creamy St Marcellin, with some nice CÃ´tes de Provence. I’m talking French extended week-end of course, starting wednesday 😉
Anyway, I knew an American teaching French in the US, and her complaints about her job and the US schooling system are the EXACT ones SalB described, so exact in fact that it looks a little bit too creepy 🙂
As for France, I’d say there’s a big difference whether you’re teaching in lousy suburbs or in smaller nicer places.
Teachers in France are statutory government employees. Therefore, they cannot face unemployment, but can’t really choose where they are going to teach, especially at the start of their career. Which means that young and new teachers are often posted in ghetto high schools, where the situation is very difficult, because none of these punk kids will respect them.
Teachers posted in better places kinda enjoy ‘la belle vie’, since they work 18 hours a week (this also is statutory), and get a decent paycheck, even when they don’t work. As for vacations, kids and teachers get the whole july and august, one week around Nov. 1st (vacances de la Toussaint), two weeks for Xmas (vacances de NoÃ«l), two weeks in Feb. (vacances d’hiver), and two weeks in April (vacances de PÃ¢ques).
The complaint about parents’ attitude and role is sometimes heard among French teachers too, but it rather refers to a lack of discipline or moral values than to over-protected kids : the stories I read in this forum about teachers being compelled to change grades to please the kids and their parents is pretty scary. This would not happen here. Teachers’ hierarchy report directly to the French MinistÃ¨re de l’Education Nationale. Besides, teachers here have strong unions, and they would not let that happen. And finally, there is a general tendency among parents to trust teachers’ judgement and authority.
Maybe pupils and student are over protected in the US, I don’t know. Students in France attend class the whole day through. They don’t play games or go home after lunch, as I’ve seen it done in the US and Germany. As a result, studies show that in a panel of 18yr-olds from all around this world, the most educated ones are the French, the Italian, the Japanese and the South Korean kids.
However, the French system is far from perfect. Teachers are often criticized for being too liberal, not being tough enough to fulfill their mission. For example, the French were recently horrified to find out that there were more illiterate in France today, than there were 50 years ago. Consequently, many teachers also have to deal with low self-esteem issues, or feelings of being left out alone with no support.
Really, I think it depends on where they get their assignment. A friend of mine teaches in a lousy Paris suburb, and it’s an every day hell. Another friend of mine gets to teach kids in Cantal, and that’s a big diff …
Donerail, Here is your quote copied from below that I was "raining" on.
"LaVielleBranche/SalB: I don’t know why it took so long for me to realize it, but as teachers the two of you get the whole summer off! No wonder you have both been to LaFrance so many times. All the more reason you should "cowboy up" and start teaching and stop whining. Donerail"
The intimation is that we get two months paid vacation that we can cheerfully spend in France. In point of fact, most teachers can’t afford European travel and many have to get summer jobs. We are also expected to attend classes and seminars during our free time.
Your saying that all teachers should maintain high standards no matter what their bosses say is what lead me to believe you haven’t seen the unfortunate situations that prevent many from doing just that. You don’t lightly give up a job over some kid’s grade in social studies. Your own family is more important and the kid made the choice to not study and his parents are supporting that choice. Why give up your job and your family’s livelihood for that?
Your teacher with honor is lovely in theory, but they have to feed their families.
Crc95: Thank you so much for that insight. As you said, the French system maybe isn’t perfect, but it seems to working out better than most. It is no surprise that your friend who taught French in the US echoed the same sentiments as SalB. Just about every teacher that I know echoes the same sentiments. Overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. And as SalB has indicated yet again, these folks apparently have no problem compromising principles. So what if you give an incorrect high grade to some kid in Social Studies, you get to keep your job. That is so tragic. Thanks, again crc95, and I wish I had a taste of that St. Marcelin. Donerail
SalB: You can "intimate" whatever you want. What I said was that teachers get the summer off. That you would interpret that as "paid vacation" reinforces again the depth of your defensiveness. How sad it must be to be a teacher – the most noble of professions – and compromise on truth and values. Just send them along to society with phony credentials. All because you have to put food on the table. Well, you have enlightened me. I now don’t have to wonder why America is dumbing down. Enlighten me further, you state the profession is overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated. (And I agree with the last two.) And yet you also state there is no shortage of teachers and a waiting line of folks wanting to get a teaching job. How do you reconcile that? I am sure you have an answer. Donerail
I’m not sure how you interpret my remarks to infer that most teachers are willing to compromise their principles. What I said was that some (very very few) teachers are forced to compromise their principles due to extenuating circumstances. Most of them fight very hard for their principles . . . occasionally to the point of losing their jobs and certainly to the point of alienating their administrators. There is an old Seminole Indian saying that I will paraphrase as, "Great Spirit, Let me not judge another man until I have walked a mile in his moccasins." You might just find that if your wife and/or kids’ lives depended on it that you might be willing to compromise a few of your principles too. Perhaps not, perhaps you would just let them starve.
As to why, here’s what I said below (and I quote): "Why do they do it? They love learning and they love kids and want to help them . . . despite the attitudes they face every day from the press and public. The kids make it worth while. That big ‘Oh, I understand!’ when you see the light bulb go on makes it all worth while."
Two contributing factors are: (1) Universities recruit like crazy to fill up their classrooms and keep the places running. Recruitment is big business in college. (2) No one tells these poor kids what the job market is like. There are a few places that recruit teachers, e.g., California recruits needed teachers from states with a teacher glut. They need new teachers and the out of state newbies are cheap because they just graduated and have the big plus that they won’t stay in Califonia long. As soon as they have enough experience to qualify for a job in their own state, they return. That means the CA districts can go out and hire more new cheap teachers. It’s a way to cut costs. Experienced teachers are more expensive than new graduates . . . Of course, they are usually better too, but that doesn’t seem to be as much concern as cheaper.
To quote myself again: "I wouldn’t think of telling you what is wrong with everyone in your profession." You are very presumptive to tell me what is wrong with mine. I suppose everyone in your profession maintains their principals all the time no matter what. Hm, Ken Lay perhaps?
SalB: Nope, I haven’t been presumptive at all in telling you what is wrong with your profession. You seem to be very knowledgeable about it and have been doing a very good job of describing what is wrong with it. All I said was that teaching was the noblest of professions, that teachers are underpaid and underappreciated, and responsible for 50% of the shortcomings of our education system. And by the way, in my profession, I would not have to compromise on values and truths if co-erced to do so by my employer. I would quit and get another job. People in the dreaded public sector do it all the time, SalB. Donerail
It occurs to me rather belatedly that although you seem aghast at the teachers who may compromise their principles, you have expressed no concern whatever for the well-paid principals, administrators and non-paid parents who have put them in that position.
If you don’t eliminate the root causes of the problem, i.e. students who won’t work, parents who won’t admit their children are less than perfect, administrators who are afraid of the school board and board members who have a political agenda instead of a genuine interest in the school system, you will not stop the dumbing down of America. The poor teachers certainly do bear a bit of the blame. We all do, but the lion’s share must go much higher because that is where the power structure is. BTW, don’t forget the textbook publishers in this equation. They’re trying so hard to be politically correct to sell books and make as much profit as possible that the books the teachers must use are already dumbed down. Your 50% figure is very high indeed. 10% to 15% is much more reasonable, and that number, I would accept.
You are telling me people in the public sector are all honest and never compromise their principles?
I didn’t have to compromise my principles either, but I didn’t need the job. It makes a big difference.
Just saw this on the news: "This came about because they (the school district) implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children’s failing grades changed to passing grades even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes."
Pacific Palisades, California
SalB: Ok, maybe we can resolve our problem. You say 15%, I say 50%. Why don’t we compromise at 33 1/3%? And you promise not to bring up Enron or Imclone, etc. etc. etc. etc. Deal? Donerail
donerail, Sounds good. Tell you what . . . Let’s split the difference and make it 32.5% and I’ll agree.
SalB: Agreed. (If I had the wherewithall to do it, I would have you standing in the corner holding a 50 pound, no cancel that, a 25 pound rock.) With the selection of Edwards, it looks like a slam dunk for Kerry. I heard this afternoon on one of those right wing talk shows – refer to Edwards’ selection as the "political equivalent of breast implants for Kerry." I guess they are fit to be tied. Donerail
There was an excellent five page article in the NY Times about Kerry today. I feel better about him. My problem was that I knew so little about the man. I would vote for his wife in a heartbeat, but he doesn’t get the press she does. Did you see the article?
You’re right about Edwards being a big help. Nothing is a slam dunk though. Bush can fight really dirty and probably will. We’re going to be in France during the end of the campaign so we’ll miss the fireworks. We are picking up our absentee ballots and voting Oct. 4 and leaving the next day. We won’t return to the US until the second week of November. I’m really glad. Campaign’s always get so nasty at the end.
I wish we could do our elections more like some of the European elections. They call for a vote, have a small brouhaha and a few weeks later, it’s all over. It would save untold millions of dollars that could be used for something useful. I wonder what they think of our long drawn out and very expensive elections?
SalB: I didn’t see the NY Times article but the Boston Globe is owned by the NYT and we have had quite a few articles on our Favorite Son. It is surprising though, how much space the Globe gives to the Right Wing. Anyway, "Liveshot" as we refer to him should win easily given the competition. And that is allowing for the advantages that the incumbant always has. Can’t you just see the debates now? both Pres and VP? It is going to be a classic. I think Kerry will make a good President as his heart is in the right place and Therasa will keep him oriented. As the Doctor Dean from Vermont said, it is time that Americans got their country back. I wish we could compress the election cycle as well. It seems Americans obsess with everything. Its better, though, than listening to OJ, Kobe or Martha. (I am probably in the minority on that.) If you’re up for some entertainment on the style of Fahrenheit 911, there is a book out by John Dean "Worse Than Watergate." Dean excoriates the Bushies over their secrecy hang-ups. Its way over the top but very entertaining as he uses all facts to present his case. I don’t think he will be invited to The Ranch. Donerail
donerail, If you’ll let me put down my 25 pound rock, I’ll go get Dean’s book!!
On the subject of OJ: We were in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1994 during the OJ trial. We were camping and trying to avoid civilization in general. It was pouring rain and I couldn’t get a fire started so we decided to break down and eat breakfast at McDonalds. We walked in the door and there were at least three televisions tuned to the OJ trial. We left . . . There is much to be said for damp Cheerios.
SalB: You may put down the rock. Perhaps you could hand it over to Amero-franc. In any event, don’t put it too far away. The Fairbanks experience had to be depressing. On a similar but somewhat different vein, my wife and I were camping late one night a few miles off Interstate 90 in South Dakota on the way to Yellowstone. Although it was dark when we pitched the tent it seemed like a nice campground. Until 3:00am when we realized we were camped not far from a B-52 SAC base. Yes, those 8 jet engines at 500 feet make a lot of noise. Wouldn’t you know it, it was my choice of campground. My wife was concerned as "I think there may be an airport around here." I replied, "What, in the middle of nowhere?" Donerail
donerail and SalB: You might find this interesting, this post:
Apparently, imbeciles such as kermit think Bush can do no wrong and his Saudi/Bin Laden family ties are all fabricated. As I find interesting links I’ll post them for you. Interesting number of the scumbags and creepy people who donated money to the Bush campaign…
LaVieilleBranche: Rock on!! Donerail
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