Saturday, March 26, 2011

Guest Column #1: A Flashback

Several years ago, we tossed our oldest into our local school system, the Apathy School District, after tensions at home rose to unprecedented levels.  General Mayhem lasted for four tumultuous months at Apathy Middle School.  While he was there, this “A” math student saw his grades, and his skills, drop to “C/D” levels.  He asked to be returned to homeschooling that summer, and it has taken us from the end of his sixth grade year to the middle of his eighth grade year to repair the academic damage and get him caught up to where he should be in the school year.  To celebrate that accomplishment, I share with you a post I wrote in May of 2009 concerning his time at AMS.  It remains at #6 on the top ten list of most frequently read posts at Bedlam.
In light of Arby's computer having committed virtual Hari Kari, today’s entry was written by retired teacher and local 46 shop steward, Mr. Iggy Noramus.

Alright you heathens. You uneducated slobs. You know who you are. You’re members of the great unwashed masses of homeschoolers who have not received your diplomas or your state certificates or your blessing from the local chapter of the NEA, but you still have the audacity to think that you are qualified to teach your own children. Except for Kelliann, of course. She taught. And Kathleen. She taught. And then there’s Arby. He has six or seven years in the classroom. I cannot forget Linda. She started teaching back before chalk was invented and her oldest just graduated with a 4.0 from Northern Illinois University. But the rest of you, and you know who you are, you’d better listen up! You think you know what you’re doing with your Apologia Science and you’re A Beka history and your Saxon Mathematics or your Alpha and Omega stuff.  (You've got to keep an eye on those Alpha and Omega saleswomen. There's a dodgy lot.)  You uppity johnny-come-latelys. I bet you even resort to using one of those gimmicky, prefabricated worksheets that you can buy in a book at Walmart or download from some website like I’m here to tell you that teachers, real teachers, teachers with a pedigree and a license and a local 46 union card would never resort to such material. Well, unless they teach Math at Apathy Middle School. Then an worksheet is just fine. Sometimes teachers, real teachers, are so busy with taking attendance and handling discipline and distributing condoms that they don’t have the time to create a worksheet for math review. Then an edhelper worksheet is just fine.

Now, the rest of you, you snobitty snobs who think you’re so high and mighty because you actually look over your children’s papers and check them for accuracy and errors, you need to accept some facts. Professional teachers, real teachers, are busy people. They have lots of responsibilities. Deadlines to meet, state assessments to assess. Sometimes these real teachers just don’t have the time to collect and grade every student’s paper. Sometimes we put the answers on the overhead projector, making the students self-correct their papers, and then quiz them on those self-corrected problems by having them copy the problem from their homework sheet onto the test. Don’t look at the fact that students aren’t being required to demonstrate mathematical mastery by calculating a full set of equations. This method of instruction and testing is perfectly sound, rooted in pedagogy, and should not be attempted at home by amateurs. Leave this to the professionals.

Any evidence that Mr. Arby might have seen, or that the oh-I’m-so-smart-because-I-have-an-engineering-MS-degree-wife of his claims to have seen of a dramatic drop in General Mayhem's math scores since entering public school is coincidental. One or two more years of Apathy Middle School instruction should clearly demonstrate consistent “C” level work, a far better indication of the General’s ability than one of those Iowa tests. Can’t trust those results. Arby might have given him the answers.

You just need to accept that an education provided by a certified, card carrying union represented professional teacher is far superior to anything you can do at home, thank you very much.



  1. O.M.Gosh....I LOVE this post!! Thanks for reposting it! I think this might be one of the very first posts of yours I read...laughed until I cried. I've been a fan ever since! :-)

  2. Okay...I was curious, went back and checked. It was almost a year after I started blogging. Bad memory. Still one of my favorite posts....

  3. and to repeat my comment the first time you posted this: You are just too funny. Seriously funny.