We don’t have to belabor this one. Manuael Ernest Dillow, a welding teacher at a vocational school in Abingdon, Virginia, wanted to get the attention of his students, so he lined up twelve of them against a wall, took out a pistol, and fired at them multiple times. The gun was loaded with blanks.
Oh! Well that’s all right, then!
This idiot was arrested, and it looks like there is a good chance he’ll get serious jail time. Obviously he is an aberration in the great, essential and honored field of teaching. So is James Hooker, the 41 year-old high school teacher who was recently re-united with the teenage student he pursued relentlessly. She dumped him when he was accused of sexually abusing another girl, but the lovebirds are back together now. Tampa middle school teacher William Cheney is an aberration too, I’m sure: another teacher says Cheney head-butted a 13-year-old, and when the kid said it didn’t hurt, he did it again. Timothy Moll, another aberration, was working as a teacher at Dieruff High School in Allentown, PA. when he sent text messages to a 16-year-old student, asking for her to send him naked photos of herself, and in return, he’d give her better grades.
All aberrations, and, incidentally, all April, 2012 cases. More aberrations, I’m sure, are on the way.
I am sure the teacher who was the target of this open letter from an angry parent was also an aberration. Some of it crosses lines of civility, so I’m only going to re-print the substantive content, but teachers driving parents to rhetorical express is not an aberration:
“I understand being an elementary school teacher is hard work….I know you may have stereotyped us because we live in a trailer park and are on the free lunch program, but you don’t know much of anything at all. I understand that you say you want [my son] to do his best. I call bullshit! And I call it on you and the prinicpal. This is a kid who is struggling and is telling you this and it’s obvious by looking at [his] grades. HELP HIM! When he doesn’t understand the problem, don’t just tell him “we already went over that, you know how to do it.” Show him again.
“And another thing, don’t you DARE tell my son he is a failure! What gives you the right to tell anyone they are a failure? Guess what lady…if he is failing, so are you! And you know what? I have looked at his grades. He is getting B’s and C’s and ONE F. That is not failing, at least, not by the definition I am familiar with.
“And don’t just pawn him off on someone else. I have asked you, I don’t even know how many times, to double check his planner and sign it so that I know what should be done. I know he *should* be responsible for this himself. But he is not doing it, so I am trying to put steps in place to correct it.
“Make him be responsible. Do not tell him what he will and will not be doing at home…what activities he can and can’t do. That is not your job. Your job is to teach my son to be a better student. I have got the being a better person thing down pat. He is very kind and compassionate.
“Don’t single him out and make him a laughing stock. Don’t push aside all of the hard work he IS doing and only focus on the bad. All this is going to do is make him not try at all…”
Here is my problem with teaching, though. There are too many aberrations, which means that the standards for entry into the profession is too low, the tolerance for incompetence is too high, the accountability for misconduct is too little, the oversight and supervision of the so-called professionals is too lax, the professionalism of the profession is too thin, the self-image of the practitioners is too high, risks of trusting that a teacher with the welfare of our children are too great.
And I don’t see the education establishment doing much about any of this. Among respectable professions, that’s an aberration. It is also unethical.