Big nose, black hat, green face, horrible wart…all of it. Wicked witch of the East. East coast witches don’t play ya’ll.
I saw her last night perched on a broom in front of her classroom door, handing out candy in full knowledge of what it would do to my 5 year old and our evening. I didn’t fully grasp the cackle as she dumped handfuls of processed sugar into his bag.
Myopically focused on what I would be removing for personal consumption, my Amygdala prevented my Cerebral Cortex from putting 2 and 2 together.
Now give me the Snickers.
Charm fully worked, our boy would eventually wind up hanging from the ceiling fan, high on Milk Duds and Candy Corn, products I didn’t realize were still on the market because Halloween hasn’t been a thing for us since hatching him out. But this is his first year of school, and school has “Fall Festival” so there we were, tiny dragon in hand.
It was 6:30 on a Thursday night, and the witch had been in the building 12 hours, carving pumpkins, hanging artwork, and stirring various pots in preparation for a full day of school followed by a solid 2 hours of children trick-or-treating in the building.
Witches, ghouls, goblins, astonishingly real zombies, the teachers were in full gear, dressed to distress the children they’d spent all day with. The principal and staff were there as well, greeting parents, shaking hands, occasionally jumping out of darker corners to the delight of students and parents alike.
The mainstream media would have the American public believe that teachers are THE problem with our public schools. That they are the witches conjuring up the destruction of America’s competitive edge.
I’d say the people to fear are the banksters, and if you want to scare the bejeepers out of thinking adults this year dress up as one of those. You’ll need a suit and a deck of cards. When people ask about the cards tell them you are gambling with their pensions. Tell them you’ve been “all in” since the beginning.
They have been all in it together, for a while, and that should scare all of us.
What that mainstream media doesn’t figure into the “teachers are the monsters” narrative are the actual stories of teachers themselves. Of getting into the building at the crack of dawn to prepare for the day, of leaving the building well after dark to get home to their own children and an hour or two of “life” beyond the care of the boys and girls who will one day run this purported democracy.
The actual stories of hardworking teachers don’t fit into the narrative of “the schools are failing!” Followed by “we have to close them to save them!”
We have to burn the village to save it.
Do you remember that logic? It hasn’t left us. It’s the party line of Democrats and Republicans alike when it comes to educational “reform.”
You can’t move the American public to action without scaring them. There’s no invasion of Iraq without us believing a guy who sheltered in a hole…who lived in a literal hole in the ground…had nuclear weapons.
But if you repeat Mushroom Cloud enough times people will believe that cloud is right around the corner, and we’ll send our children to war hunting down the ghosts of mass destruction. Then we will bring them home until another “threat” rears its ugly head and armchair generals can beat the drums of war again.
It’s hard to process seeing children dressed up on Halloween as soldiers, not fully cognizant of what the soldier’s life really is. All sacrifice, some honor, not enough respect once the mission is accomplished. But don’t believe me, ask the vets living on the street. Certainly don’t ask the profiteers sending them off to war. (Scary costume number 2 on my list.)
“The schools are failing!”
“The unions are coming!”
“The Chinese are going to eat us!”
In the 50s it was Russia. In the 80s it was Japan. In the 90s it was Europe. Today it’s China and India. There has always been a spooky “other” just about to crush us economically, and it has always been the fault of the schools. Schools run by monsters who only work from 8 to 3 and get summers off, or so the story goes.
My son’s teacher worked all summer getting ready for the school year. She is there at 6:30 prepping for the day, and she was there last night at 6:30 handing candy out to kids, hundreds of them.
While she dressed the part, I’m not afraid of the witch. She can’t cover love and care in green and black, and I can forgive her for dosing my kid with sugar. We did, after all, send cupcakes in a few weeks ago, and I can only imagine what sorts of carnage 18 Kindergarteners unleashed in her classroom after eating them.
No, I’m not afraid of the witch, but the people peddling fear of teachers scare the life out of me. If their voices continue unchallenged, we shouldn’t expect our best and brightest to enter the profession. You can’t spend millions of dollars hating on teachers and expect future prospects to want to become one.
And if we continue to pile on the hate, to invoke “fear of teacher,” we will truly have something to be afraid of, a nation where the most qualified avoid teaching like the plague because we’ve made teachers the enemy.
Time to stop doing that don’t you think?
Philip Kovacs is an Associate Professor of Education at UAH in Huntsville, Alabama. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Foundations, English Methods, and Applied Multiculturalism as well as supervises student teachers. Dr. Kovacs was the director of the Latino/Latina Institute, a multi-year effort to increase the number of L/L students entering and completing college. Currently, his research interests focus on his belief…
“Teachers” should nurture diversity, embrace identities, identify complexities, and integrate abilities so that all children engage in refining reality(ies). | Follow him @philipkovacs
This piece was reprinted by EmpathyEducates with the kind permission of the Author, Professor Philip Kovacs. We thank Philip Kovacs for this treatise treat.