Thursday, October 07, 2010

URGH Pet Peeve




I'm a teacher. I've been teaching for 10 years. I've been reading YA for about 20 years.

Do you know what I hate?

How teachers are represented in books.

Teachers, 99% of the time, are the bad guys. They don't stick up for the main character or they put the main character in some sort of dumb situation.

URGH!

In the book Hush Hush, not only is the teacher's lesson SO inappropriate he would lose his job, but when the MC asks for her seat to be changed the teacher refuses.<-- yes it's a part of a plot point but still.

Nope.

That's not how I run my classroom at all.

If a kid ever came up to me and said he or she doesn't feel comfortable in the seat, by the time the sentence was over the students' seat would be changed.

OK and say there's a nerdy kid is being bullied and  screams in class.  you know what?  Instead of sending the nerdy kid to the principals office, I'm going to ask him what happened, AND if the nerdy says that the cool kid next to him was poking him and generally being annoying until the nerdy kid snapped.  I'm going believe him.  You know why?  Because for most kids it takes a WHOLE LOT for a kid to scream in class and it's almost always provoked somehow.   So cool kid with a pencil in his hand, laughing, guess what, you've got lunch detention too. (This scene comes from The Truth About Turman School)


I work very hard to make sure every kid feels welcome, comfortable and safe in my classroom.

Teaching is hard enough with the popular opinion that all teachers hate children.


YA/ MG, you know I LOVED YOU GUYS,  but  you're not helping the situation.

Yes it's easy to make the adult establishment the bad guys in YA literature since most kids feel like adults are out to destroy their lives.

I know it makes for easier writing on your part, teachers are an easy target and more so its a easy plot device. 

But chances are there was at least one teacher in your educational career that made you love writing or reading.  Chances are there was at least one teacher that made you feel like a human being.

Please stop demonizing us.

I've read over 15 books in the last three months and so far only 1 book had a teacher in a positive light.  Yikes.

Now this is a two way street and I'll be the first to admit that there have been days when I was not at my best, or I was cranky.  And yes I've had "bad" teachers.  

And in an effort to be fair
A note for teachers:  Most of the time it's an adult who put you in a bad mood, don't take it out on the kids.  Your kids  should make you laugh or smile at least once a day.

Sorry but  it's that simple.

I'm not saying there aren't a few less the perfect teachers out there, but the majority of us love our jobs.  
Authors and teachers, let's create an environment that makes kids WANT to be in school.

Thank you.

I"m getting off my soap box now... the air is getting a little thin.


  

 

4 comments:

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  2. Amen to that. One of my best friends (and my chief story co-brainstormer) is a high school teacher, and couldn't be further from the stereotype. Her kids love her, come to her for advice, laugh at her (usually awful) jokes, and whenever we're out in the local area, we have kids running up to us just to say hey. I understand the plot reasons teachers are treated the way they are, but sometimes it's the lazy way out--a little more work might produce something richer and more original.

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