I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

27 December 2011

Know Your Veterans

One of the more disappointing things about the deficit thinking Teach for America and other education reform projects is the disdain they inspire for veteran teachers.

I don't think it's intentional, but if you believe that schools are failing, and that unions protect the lazy, and all we need is some accountability and no tenure and some performance-based pay, it's hard to hold those failing, lazy, unaccountable teachers in any esteem.

It's unfortunate, because it leads to a lot of wheel-reinventing.  Chances are good that someone at your school's done a unit on ocean life before.  Another veteran knows how to get a bus for a field trip.  Someone down the hall had a student with similar needs to the child who's challenging you.  The veterans know families and circumstances at the school.  They know the secret trick to unjam the copier and what snacks the custodians prefer.  It's hard to share all this important information with people who believe you fail children every day.

Beyond that, veterans are closer to retirement than you are, and cannot maintain storage spaces forever.  Over the break, I have been given the following by retirees:

  • A huge set of science posters, including one that has eggs on it, and when you shine a light on an egg you can see the type of developing chick inside.
  • A photo-heavy book on life cycles.
  • A set of magnetic picture frames for completing a class gift to families.
  • Over two thousand stickers.
  • Several cute die-cut notepads.
  • Labels.
That's in just two weeks.  I've been given a literal car full of high-quality teaching materials, including thirty bins (great for material passout, crayons, etc.), the giant scissors that are part of the standard treatment regimen at the Crazy Doctor Hospital*, a paper cutter, a copy-paper box full to the brim with stickers, a class set of mirrors, over one hundred pure beeswax crayons...need I continue?

New teachers should appreciate veterans because they're doing a hard job well, and because they're all part of the school community.  But when they fail to do so, they miss out on the tangible goodies, too.

*Now providing both amputation and a cutting-edge treatment called "ticklectomy".

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