Friday, September 15, 2006

I want to be a teacher, not!

I have two close friends who are teachers at two local public schools. One is teaching 8th graders, and the other is teaching high school. Often I would catch glimpse of their work lives through some the stories they share with me.

Both of them have several special-education students in their classrooms as part of an American education program called “Inclusion”. The idea behind “Inclusion” was that if special-education students are integrated into regular classrooms, maybe they will not feel so out of place, other kids would get to know them better, thus less harassment. Keep in mind, some of these special-education students are accompanied with an adult tutor (or keeper) at all times.

That idea looked great on paper, but in practice, it is a freaking disaster.

One of the most infamous stories is one special-education student attending at a local high school has to walk around with both of his hands raised above his head. It looks like he is surrendering on a battle field during WWII, while his keeper follows him around.

The reason for that is because if his hands were not elevated, he would then slip them into his pants and masturbates continuously.

My other friend who teaches 8th graders showed me some of the apology letters she has collected from last year. Although English is not my native language and I have always thought my English grammar is terrible, yet I am amazed by how poorly educated these 8th graders are.

One kid can't even spell words like "whole", "again", "disrespect", "throw", "kicked" correctly.









  1. Sadly, none of that surprises me.

    Have you read Tard Blog or Slow Children At Play? Great stories about teaching sped kids.

  2. Tian, I teach English myself and I think you're being a bit harsh. Some of those notes truly were a mess, but for the most part the grammatical errors are simply instances of using oral speech, which rarely follows prescriptive grammar rules, even for educated people.

    As for spelling, that would be the least of my concerns, especially in this age of spell-checkers. Even great novelists misspell words. If stalwarts such as Emily Dickinson and John Milton have misspelled words such as "independent" and "eyes", spelling isn't the first thing I'd worry about when teaching a 12 year-old.

    The majority of the spelling mistakes in the papers I saw seem to be phonetic. It could account for some of the grammar errors, too.

    This student, for example, seems to have written "bein'" as "been".

    Anyway, the part I found most disturbing was this excerpt:

    "Johnny threw paper at me so I threw one back, but I accidentally hit Carlos in the head. I didn't mean to hit him I meant to hit Johnny because he hit me. So I see why you kept me after class"

    WTF!!? It's like he thinks that if he'd just managed to hit Johnny instead, everything would have been fine.

  3. Theyre just kids after all. Thank the internet and msn for their grammer problems.

  4. I also think that you are a bit harsh on the grammar and stuffs. Kids who grow up in North America don't learn about grammar rules until at least they are in high school, if they are lucky. During my first year at university, I knew people who didn't know the difference between "it's" and "its".

    And if they are "special kids", wouldn't you think that it's more important to teach them how to act accordingly, than to teach them how to spell properly?

  5. Yes, these are "special" kids, for me to critique their spelling skills is unfair.

    Perhaps we should start with teaching them how to masturbate in their own privacy like this guy did with his nephew: