Tag Archives: journalism

“Any idiot can teach.”‘


With a lot of states restructuring their school systems, reorganizing schools and making budget cutbacks I keep hearing about “such and such school with bad teachers” or “low performance schools” with most of the blame placed on the teachers.

When I was substitute teaching, I landed a long-term spot and loved every minute of it – even when a five-year-old threw up all over me – and didn’t understand why it was a generally frowned upon profession. Most of the teachers at my school were caring professionals doing their best.

Now as I struggle to be a paid journalist, I’m thinking about getting back into a classroom. Almost everyone, including my teacher-for-25-years mother is telling me not to do it, take some time and give myself a chance. As if teaching would be throwing my life away.

A good teacher must be a secretary, nurse, actor, arbiter, event coordinator, therapist, social worker, and sometimes a police officer depending on where and what age you’re instructing. Their jobs are endless, and those performing their job correctly know that the day doesn’t end when the students file out.

As cliché as it sounds, teachers are in charge of our tomorrow. Every graduate has at least one teacher that they will always remember and appreciate. If I were that person, would I be throwing my life away?

Teachers need more support. Are there lazy, uncaring ones teaching our kids, yes, but there are more men and women who are really trying. About 70 percent of new teachers leave the classroom within five years, so it’s safe to say that newer teachers who outlast the statistics definitely have the heart. Maybe we should give them more teacher development courses for free or at affordable prices, equal resources and more community involvement.

With Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Duncan is in charge of distributing more than $100 billion for education funding and college grants, but only a small portion is intended for teacher quality investments; none for raises.

I think the average teacher’s total compensation is great (I’d be off to better start than I would as a journalist and have nice long vacations), but it is not designed to ensure effectiveness.

In most states, teachers earn more as they take approved classes. So a new teacher may earn $43,000 to begin with, and increases to $46,000 once they have completed enough credits. With this system, there are teachers concentrating on their pay scale more than their class. There’s a computer teacher in Boston making $85,000 teaching just five classes, and the kids don’t even know what Microsoft Word is.

I hope this money being poured into school districts will save most of the 600,000 education positions Washington estimated will be cut, but more so I hope there is more support for our current educators and reform in the schools. That computer teacher would be doing a much better job if there was someone pushing her or the student’s work determined her paycheck.

Teachers deserve a higher place in our social caste; I know it’s not frowned upon like a used car salesman, but in terms of prestige and respect it seems lower than it should be. True, we equate them as morally decent people, or at least used to before Letourneau and other such incidents, but the positions aren’t really esteemed.

As cliché as it sounds, teachers are shaping our future. It takes certain kind of hardworking, patient person to teach well and we should applaud those that are doing it right.

If I choose to become a teacher, I would be giving myself a chance. Myself and many others.


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Hollywood’s losing money…it’s your fault

According to a recent NY Times article, the movie industry is losing about 40 percent annually because of piracy. DVD sales last year were the lowest they have been in five years and movie studios are developing methods of offering new videos on demand.

As an ethical yet informed journalist, I know that some people (not me or anybody I know) watch entire new releases on-line because they’re free, convenient, it’s allows more interactivity and they won’t get caught, which are the same reasons people started sharing music. A few companies went bankrupt, lots of artists whined, but a few years passed and everyone’s pretty much happy again, especially all the freeloaders.

But will that happen with movies? For me, there is nothing like sitting in the middle row, middle seat of a huge, air conditioned theater waiting for Spielberg’s Optimus Prime to impress me or Will Smith’s muscles to put me in a daze.

It doesn’t matter that my shoes get stuck in theater scum or that a creepy guy behind me with the TB cough is behind me breathing like he just ran a marathon. I love going to the movie theater.

If people could watch new movies instantly on their TV or PC for the same price, that might be the end of summer blockbusters. The end of over-the-top, the Hulk is everywhere-you go merchandising. And my generation already goes on fewer dates than previous generations, so women would really be out of luck there.

People might not care as much about what they are watching, and coupled with the losses studios experience, the quality of the movies would definitely suffer. With CDs, the most noticeable thing that died was the idea of a concept album. Granted, many musicians are caring, hardworking and talented, but I think many forgot about the art part of being an artist. (Big up 808s and Heartbreak, I hate Kanye’s attitude but love that album). Maybe it seemed like people cared more about singles, so that’s all musicians tried to make, hit songs instead of classic records.

Unlike music, which is essentially an audible medium, movies have more at stake. Everything from the way they are made, how they are consumed, to what even constitutes a traditional movie could change drastically. I think I’m safe and will be able to escape into the big screen for now, but what will my third husband and I do on Saturday nights when I’m 50?

Just like with journalism, the question of how the media transformation will revolutionize Hollywood remains.

By the way, on a positive note, I can’t remember the last time a bootlegger scared me, banging on my window with two for $10 or 3 for $12.

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