one of my fellow english teachers passed this around to the faculty this morning. it was the laugh i needed to get through day 8 of the count down. (i'll apologize upfront that i don't have an exact source - i can't get to the onion's website at school - blocked - you know how it goes.)
This was recently published in THE ONION, and I thought maybe, at this time of year, you would enjoy it.
WASHINGTON-A shocking report released by the U.S. Department of Education
this week revealed that a growing number of the nation's educators struggle
on a daily basis with some form of teaching disability.
The study, which surveyed 2,500 elementary and high school level
instructors across the country, found that nearly one out of every five
exhibited behaviors typically associated with a teaching impairment. Among
them: trouble paying attention in school, lack of interest or motivation
during class, and severe emotional issues.
"For teaching-disabled and at-risk educators, just coming to school every
day is a challenge," said Dr. Robert Hughes, a behavioral psychologist and
lead author of the study. "Even simple tasks, like remaining alert and
engaged during lessons, can be a struggle. Unfortunately, unless we take
immediate action, these under-performers will only continue to fall further
"Our teachers are in trouble," Hughes continued. "Some can't even teach at
a basic sixth-grade level."
As noted in the report, hundreds of schools have already begun setting up
special classrooms in which the teaching- disabled can receive the extra
attention they require, teach at their own unique pace, and be paired up
with patient students who can help to keep them on track.
According to school administrators, new programs like these encourage
marginalized and disenfranchised teachers by rewarding them for showing up
to school prepared and taking an active part in classroom discussions. Many
also have counselors on hand to intervene when an instructor grows
frustrated or throws a tantrum and storms out of the room.
In the new "Teachers First!" program at Wesley Academy in Chicago,
educators who were once labeled "lost causes" and left to flounder in the
system for years on end are now diagnosed with specific teaching disorders,
given extra time to grade difficult assignments, and, in the case of
particularly troubled teachers, moved back a grade.
"We're much more sensitive now to the factors that influence their
behavior: abusive home lives, drug and alcohol problems, or often, the fact
that they never should have been put in regular classrooms to begin with,"
Wesley principal Donald Zicree said. "A lot of these poor men and women have
been told they can't teach for so long that many start to believe it after a
"Rather than punishing our teachers or kicking them out, we give them a
gold star every time they do something right," Zicree continued. "If they
write the correct answer to a math problem on the board, they get a gold
star. If they volunteer to read aloud during English class, they get a gold
star. You'd be amazed what a little positive reinforcement can do. Some of
our teachers† have even stopped drinking in their cars during lunch."
According to Zicree, school officials aren't the only ones excited by the
difference the new programs are making. Many educators have also responded
favorably, realizing that they no longer have to act out or create
disruptions in order to get the attention they so desperately crave.
For a few, like Michael Sturges, a 10th-grade history teacher at Wagar High
School in Council Grove, KS, being put in a special classroom has reawakened
a love for teaching he hasn't felt in years.
"Now that I know I have a teaching disability I don't beat myself up so
much when I have a bad day or can't grasp the material we're working with,"
said Sturges, 38, who has pinned a number of perfectly graded assignments up
on his wall. "I used to think teaching and stuff was pretty lame, but now-I
dunno-I guess it's all right. If anything, being in school now might help me
to get a decent job when I'm older."
Added Sturges, "You know, something that pays more than $24,000 a year."