Too many obstacles make teachers’ task virtually impossible
Re Robert Caracciolo’s Nov. 3 Viewpoint, “Combative classrooms: Schools should seek to uncover truths of recent violence and find solutions.”
I remember getting jumped at Mont Pleasant High School in the 1970s, by a group of 50-plus kids. The most important survival tool I had was that when I went home, there was a detachment from what happened during the day at school. There were no cellphones or social media sites. After dinner, I could go out in my neighborhood and feel safe among my friends; the violence did not carry over from school. Today’s children are not as fortunate.
In defense of teachers, they have complied with anything and everything the government has requested of them; including, but not limited to, mandatory observation hours prior to teaching; professional development, examinations for licensing, fingerprinting, and mandatory masters degrees — all of which require an exorbitant amount of time and money (generally at the teacher’s expense).
In general, teachers are not afraid of their students unless there is a reason above and beyond their control. A teacher’s classroom is a delicate balance of understanding, work/study and mutual respect. The teaching/learning process is symbiotic — they depend upon one another for success. Educators are taught how to handle most, if not all, situations.
However, a teacher cannot undo the violent behavior being demonstrated in today’s classrooms. There are too many outside issues to contend with beyond the scope of the classroom and/or teacher responsibility.
Teachers look to administration, the community and students to create a safe environment. When one or more of these pieces is removed, or missing, an imbalance is created. This imbalance is not easily [restored]. Teachers attend conferences, seminars and webinars to compensate for this incomplete sphere. The term in loco parentis [in place of the parents] has never been more applicable than it is today.
We are only human, with so many hours to work within. We love the education process — not only continuing education for ourselves, but sharing our knowledge and passion with our students. Therefore, to state that “educators cannot permanently rely on police protection to solve their problems” or that “schools should seek to uncover truths of recent violence [in public classrooms, schools] and find solutions” seems out of touch with the realities that educators are experiencing.
Educators, including myself, strive to provide students with the best education possible in a safe environment. To think otherwise is absurd. However, from the 1960s to present, the pendulum has swung off the charts. The hands of teachers are metaphorically tied, even though we have received extensive training and can identify without question exactly what the issues are, and how to solve them.
Remember, there is a student privacy act that corresponds with the Constitution. We fully understand what we can and cannot do legally; hence, we are losing control of our classrooms.
The following are imperative elements of safety: enforcing rules, providing structure and enforcing consequences (with parental cooperation). More importantly, a solid sphere of influence is essential and integral; however, without all of the pieces in play, teachers will inevitably fail.
The writer is a Cohoes High School English teacher.
Immigration plan will only exacerbate deficit
All you hard-working American taxpayers out there who think there is a major problem with a $17 trillion deficit, you are right.
Obama is now trying to push a comprehensive immigration plan through Congress to legalize 6 million illegal immigrants. It will cost billions of dollars just to incorporate them into our system. Do you really think the borders will be [secure] after this happens?
These new citizens will be eligible for all the goodies: welfare, food stamps, health care, education, unemployment benefits and Social Security.
With high unemployment now, where will the jobs be for them? As fragile as this economy is, this will send us into a deep recession. Is this just fear mongering or reality?
We are fast becoming a one-party country that will have control of the presidency, Senate and House. There will be no one to stop their political agenda.
The Constitution is fast becoming an old piece of paper from the past. Are you ready for what is coming?
Don’t confuse hunting with what Noonan does
Re Nov. 5 letter, “Don’t confuse shooting deer with hunting them”: Kudos to Charles Reilly.
I would like to take [outdoor columnist] Ed Noonan “hunting” the way I, and members of the Dead Creek and Grasse River hunting and fishing clubs, have for 100 years: up and down mountains, through swamps, waist-high snow, hunting for deer to put meat on the table for a hungry family.
Hunting is not sitting 16 feet to 20 feet up in a patented tree stand, dressed like a Vietnam combat marine waiting for a trophy buck to show up.
Hunting is a very tough but enjoyable activity, where trophy heads are nice, but only legal antlers are required.
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