A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The science fair is over. We have one winner, but my job is done. She just has to show up with her invited guests and have a nice time.

So what does this have to do with why men aren’t jumping into the teaching profession as quickly as women? Well, the science fair is just another example of how things get messed up because one sex does the thing that sex does and the other wants it to be done another way.

Let me explain: Men are not the best communicators (except when they’re using their secret cell phone to cheat in a relationship). Men don’t even like to talk on the phone that much. When a man sends an email, it’s to the point. Very short and very direct. The last email I sent was one word: OK. Men can listen though. They have learned to do that as we become more and more a service economy. And we can take criticism. Constructive criticism.

You know what we cannot take? People who talk behind our backs to supervisors and act “catty” (a word my wife loves to use when she’s describing jealous girlfriends) when they need to let you know something, but can never say it to your face. I can’t remember a man friend of mine being jealous (or “catty, for that matter)—though I’m sure this has happened sometime in my life.

Anyway at the science fair, one of my students made an error in her research report—the hypothesis and the conclusion did not correspond. And, yes, I’ll take the blame for this one. She is my students after all. No matter. I helped type her paper and I should have caught the error. She did have a week to read it over and she should have caught the error also. When she did realize she had made a mistake, it was too late to rectify—so she did the next best thing: she corrected it on her poster.

So why would one of the women assisting in the science fair make a point of telling the administrators at my school: “How could he be so stupid to let that happen? Doesn’t he read their papers?”

Of course, I do. But then again, I’m only who I am. I make mistakes. I apologize for them. I move on.

“What does she have against you?” another administrator asked.

I don’t really know. Once she was asked by the district to observe me and she fell asleep at my desk. Could that be it?

I will not make excuses for my mistake in proofreading, but I do feel if a teacher cannot talk to another teacher and let them know when they make a mistake, man to man, can this be one reason more men don’t go into the profession.

And another thing. Working around…well that another tale altogether.


Anonymous Donor said...

Don't get your shorts in a twist because someone of another gender happened to say something ignorant. I have known plenty of subversive, sneaky, back biting men in my life. You just don't call them catty because they happen to be male and cats seem to be more feminine, love cats.The woman doesn't like you big guy and is looking for any excuse to make you look bad. I have never been an educator but I do know that calling someone stupid is an ignorant thing to do and reflects badly on the one using the word more than anyone else. She insults herself as well as all educators by her remarks. She also reveals herself to be a self serving egocentric and self absorbed PIA. But that is only my opinion.

2:38 PM  
Blogger A Teacher's Log said...

You're right. Men can be just plain "doggy" if you will, and then "dog" stubborn, and "dog"matic, and I was wrong--but this is how I felt when I wrote it and you still have to wonder why in my school I am the only man teacher. (We do have a half time man Tuesday and Thursdays.)I have to believe in other places this is not a problem--people work together and get along. Still we need more men. Sorry for being so heavy handed, donor. Your opinion is correct.

8:30 PM  

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