Teacher Bashers: The Absolute Worst Human Beings on the Planet

About Franchesca Warren

For fifteen years Franchesca taught English/Language Arts in two urban districts in Atlanta, Georgia, and Memphis, Tennessee. Increasingly frustrated with decisions being made about public education from people who were not in the classroom, in 2012 she decided to start a blog about what it was really like to teach in public schools. In the last four years, The Educator's Room has grown to become the premiere source for resources, tools, and strategies for all things teaching and learning. To learn more about Franchesca Warren's work, please visit www.franchescalanewarren.com.

“Those who can teach. Those who can’t make laws about teaching.”This is a motto that makes its rounds around social media whenever a politician or philanthropist develops a plan that will not only cure schools of all the social ills in society, but will finally get teachers to do “their job”. As teachers, we chuckle and “high five” one another and then go on with our day educating the youth of today. When I was growing up in the 80s, teachers were revered and no one would dare openly speak ill of them- even if we had a good reason. The proverbial rule in my house was the teacher was right- even when they were not.

Fast forward to 2018 and there’s a growing wave of subsets of human beings who enjoy- somewhat even revel- in going online and openly harassing, bashing and downright verbally assaulting teachers. To add fuel to the burning fire teachers have started to find their voice and marching to demand higher wages. In a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 78 percent of Americans say teachers in this country are underpaid, but fewer approve of walkouts by teachers to demand pay raises and increased school funding.

Last week, we experienced this vitriol when we decided to post the Time Magazine* article on our Facebook page that documented 16 stories of teaching surviving to live off their teaching income. The article was powerful because for once people saw several stories about the constant struggle of teachers trying to make a living. As soon as we posted the article, we received “likes” and comments from teachers and their experiences of living paycheck to paycheck.

However, thirty minutes after posting the link, we started to receive those messages. Some of them were just mean, but quickly they turned from mean to outright threatening. Here’s some that we received:

  • “No one asked u 2 be a teacher. Quit if you don’t like it. ” -John K.
  • “Bulls**t all of my teachers drove luxury cars.I say get off your ass and work harder” Adam S.
  • “Snowflakes!” Landon K.
  • “Learn to budget. My parents were teachers and raised two kids on a teaching salary. Maybe if you stopped spending all of your money you wouldn’t be in that situation. ” John P.
  • “Shut up idiot.” Adam L.
  • “If teachers weren’t the literally the mouthpiece of liberal garbage they wouldn’t be going through this.” Sam K.
  • “Garbage.” Henry S.

Underlying all of the comments seemed to not only be a deep resentment of teachers but a hatred that seemed to rear it’s ugly head as soon as teachers want a livable wage. As the comments kept coming in, I quickly came to the conclusion that people who bash teachers are in the running to being some of the worst people on earth. Of course, this statement is dramatic, but it’s Sunday evening and I’m up trying to finish some work for school when I could be having fun with my own kids so I’m feeling the pangs of resentment towards those who would merely categorize us teachers as glorified babysitters.

After watching our readers, teachers, engage in a battle of words over the last 72 hours, we realized that the people who leave these comments aren’t well and teachers, unfortunately, are easy targets. For every negative statement, we could prove it was wrong, but because teachers come to our page for peace, solace and community- not to read how meaningless their job is to some in the public.  So two days later, in the midst of seeing people continue to discredit, demean and threaten teachers who don’t want to have to donate plasma to survive, we’re throwing in the white flag and blocking people.

In our writer’s group for The Educator’s Room, we realized the disrespect of teachers didn’t start with the invention of social media, but what we know that now it’s easy to hide behind a computer screen and spew garbage- even if the poster knows it’s not true. However, it got me thinking- what would convince this subset of humans that the job of the teacher isn’t easy? What would it take for people who spew so much vitriol to understand that teachers are the backbone of democratic society?

Every person who criticizes a teacher should be forced to work as a teacher in a school for a minimum of a month. Click To Tweet

We came up with a few options, but I’ll highlight the one thing EVERY person should have to do in order to criticize what a teacher endures. Every person who criticizes a teacher should be forced to work as a teacher in a school for a minimum of a month. That person should experience the long days, the paperwork, the unreasonable demands and the parents who expect teachers to raise their children.  At a minimum, this volunteer should be expected to:

  • buy their own supplies and to work for free 90% of the time.
  • spend at a minimum of 10-12 hours a day at work planning, implementing and adjusting their lessons.
  • experience the glass ceiling for most teachers where they can’t professionally advance or “move on”.
  • have their personal lives scrutinized and put on public display.
  • reason with demanding parents who expect you to not only teach their children but discipline out of your frame of influence.
  • manage a classroom of 25-30 children with unique needs and demands.
  • have all of their children pass a state assessment that you as the teacher may have never seen or been properly trained on how to prepare for it.

How long would this experiment last? Probably after the first week, these “teacher bashers” would drop out and swear off the art of teaching. Maybe after this experience, these people would apologize to every teacher in their lives and become an ally in our fight for higher wages. While we hope this is the outcome we realize that social media makes it very easy for the unqualified to criticize making the new adage rings true, “Those who CAN teach. Those who CAN’T go on social media and talk about teachers.”

Click To Tweet

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By |2018-09-18T00:07:03+00:00September 16th, 2018|Featured, Opinion|8 Comments

About the Author:

For fifteen years Franchesca taught English/Language Arts in two urban districts in Atlanta, Georgia, and Memphis, Tennessee. Increasingly frustrated with decisions being made about public education from people who were not in the classroom, in 2012 she decided to start a blog about what it was really like to teach in public schools. In the last four years, The Educator's Room has grown to become the premiere source for resources, tools, and strategies for all things teaching and learning. To learn more about Franchesca Warren's work, please visit www.franchescalanewarren.com.

8 Comments

  1. Tamara Painter-Smith September 16, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    People need to come to respect all people who work with children. Paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, ‘lunch ladies’, etc. all deserve respect. I’m also including ‘babysitters’. Those people who daily watch our precious children need to be respected too! Yes, we teachers can often be called glorified ‘babysitters’, but the root of the problem is many people don’t respect anyone who works with children. The saying ‘easy as taking candy from a baby’, is so wrong! Have you ever tried to take something away from a baby?! Children in general need more respect. Every time teachers are disrespected, it’s actually the children that are being told they don’t matter.

  2. Mary Spangenberg September 17, 2018 at 12:53 am - Reply

    A month? Lol in my district they would not last an hour.

  3. Mary Spangenberg September 17, 2018 at 1:03 am - Reply

    A month? They would not last an hour in my district.

    • Terri September 17, 2018 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      I had a substitute leave at recess (9:45 am). She lasted 2.75 hours LOL. That year I had really sweet kiddos 🙂

  4. Larry September 17, 2018 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Teacher pay was completely different 30 years ago versus today. 28K does not even pay for an apt here. We have teachers on welfare. People are just so ignorant and refuse to research anything. How does one work harder when they are working three jobs and 16 hour days? Snowflakes? Yeah, okay like the other comment said. I give them an hour before they run screaming down the hall out of the classroom.

  5. Sharon Flores September 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Worked as an elementary educator for 28 years and have the utmost respect for all teachers. The problem is everyone went to school so they all think they know all about teaching. Teachers need to ignore naysayers and need to be positive about the profession themselves.

  6. Auguste Meyrat September 22, 2018 at 10:44 am - Reply

    There is certainly an empathy deficit regarding teachers. In most ways, I consider myself conservative, but the general attitude conservatives have taken about teachers irks me. They assume that teachers are all lazy idiots who are some kind of burden to society–even as they send their kids to school an expect them to learn and grow into responsible adults. Simply nuts!

    I support school choice because I think this is probably the best way to allow the teachers to be valued fairly. Begging state and local governments for more funding–which then is funneled into admin, SPED, technology, and athletics–seems futile. And, parents take all this stuff for granted and say horrible things about teachers. So, I say, let them make the choice and see what they can find, and what they can afford.

  7. Laura Brown October 4, 2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Amen!

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