Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Sunday, November 28, 2010

While at work.

While at work today I saw three young ladies beat up another. During the fight they pulled hair from her head and bloodied her face and foot. I am not a prison guard.

While at work today I got hit in the head while breaking up a fight. I am not a referee.

While at work today I saw two young men rummage through a purse that had been dropped and they did so in the full view of several staff members. I am not a store clerk.

While at work today I read an e-mail about a gun that was recently confiscated there. I don’t work at a call center or at one of the big banking or insurance complexes.

While at work today I wondered if we got all the guns that were here but then I thought, I bet we aren’t even close. I don’t work for the police.

While at work today I was cursed out not once but twice, I was told to mind my own expletive business when I asked someone to get to work and called a mother expletive when I asked someone what they were doing. I don’t work at a gym.

While at work today I had somebody burst into my room to yell at somebody who was in there with me. I am not a doctor or a lawyer.

While at work I got frustrated because I didn’t have up to date materials and supplies. I am not a painter.

While at work today I got disgusted with the lack of civility, respect, and dignity. I don’t work at city hall.

While at work today I was surrounded by apathy and noticed an extreme lack of effort, I don’t work for the department of motor vehicles.

While at work today, there were moments when I didn’t fee respected and I didn’t feel safe. I am not a soldier.

While at work today I wondered how many lawyers, bankers, sales clerks,
computer technicians, construction workers, politicians and paramedics, how many white collar and blue collar workers alike can say they had the same type of day as me. I would guess not many.

So what do I do, and where do I work? I am a school teacher at a public high school and today was a pretty typical day, but not just for me but for thousands of my colleagues as well. The really sad thing is a lot of students, who want to learn, who want to succeed, who deserve better had a much worse day than I did.

Have you ever wondered why we have an epidemic of violence in our street unlike never before? Have you ever wondered why we have a hard time first attracting and keeping more first rate businesses and companies? Have you ever wondered where civility, courtesy and respect went? Have you ever wondered why so many of our schools are failing and why graduation rates are are so abysmal?

I’ll tell you why, it’s because we don’t care about our schools, and we don’t care about education and worse of all we don’t care about our children.

Now we say we do care, and we shake our heads and sigh when we hear the news reports of violence, failing schools and the loss of opportunity our city experiences, but then we turn away, I imagine hopeful our elected officials will take care of it. But all they really do is form committees and initiatives. But these things are designed to distract us, to give us the illusion that somebody in charge will eventually do something that the care, but they don’t and I can prove it.

Ask yourself a question, do you think things are getting better or worse. If you answered yes welcome to the group that is called everybody thinks that.

In the end it’s the citizens of Jacksonville that need to stand up and say we care; we want things to be better and that enough is enough, if things are going to change it will only happen if we demand it, because if not us then who.

Like other municipalities that are tired of seeing their children hang out on the street corners with little hope and even less opportunity, that have seen their crime rates rise and their graduation and achievement rates drop, we have to step up, even in these tough economic times, we have to tell our government we want to have a first rate education system, and then we have to do what it takes even if it means digging into our pockets to make sure it happens.

Jacksonville doesn’t have to agree with Tallahassee and their decision not to care about education, just because it’s okay with them that Florida is fiftieth out of fifty in spending on children it doesn’t mean it has to be okay with Jacksonville.

Our school system desperately needs programs that give students extra tutoring in reading and writing, and programs that teach skills to the students not interested in college, such as vocational or trade programs. Likewise teachers need to have manageable classrooms and adequate supplies to be able to properly educate our children. Again just because the state of Florida puts educating our children below tax breaks for people who one multiple houses and luxury boxes it doesn’t mean the citizens of Jacksonville have too.

Times are tough and everybody understands that, but if we continue to underfund education, the needs of our children, do we think things are just going to miraculously fix themselves? When something in your house breaks does it miraculously fix itself, or do you have to spend the money to get it working again. Well if we as a city don’t start sacrificing then it’s many of our children’s future that will be lost, and it’s our city that will continue to suffer.

We have to decide whether we care about the future of our city or we don’t and we do that by deciding if we care about our children or we don’t, and the first step is to follow the lead that several other cities have done and that’s step up and stop just saying we care and start acting like we do.

Version II

I’ll tell you why, it’s because we don’t care about our schools, and we don’t care about education and worse of all we don’t care about our children. Children without boundaries grow up with a false sense of how things are. Children who don’t receive consequences for their actions do not learn from their actions. Friends we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to take back our schools and our streets; if we want things to improve, we need to bring discipline back to the classroom.

Teachers want all students to do well if not we would have picked different professions; professions where we are not routinely disrespected unappreciated and threatened, however the sad thing is not all students care about learning. They don’t come to school to do so; they come to school to hang out with their friends or to see what trouble they can find. So many students have no idea what being respectful and courteous means, or even what making an effort means. Instead they feel entitled and as if they can do whatever they want whenever they want.

It’s no coincidence the city has had an increase in burglaries and violence perpetrated by young people. You rarely hear about honor students being arrested for carjacking or valedictorians arrested for robbery. It’s always, they had a few problems in school, which is often code for they were always in trouble and/or we can’t believe it took so long for them to get caught. There is a direct correlation between students who constantly misbehave in school and students who commit crimes in society. Who knows what would have happened had they children been disciplined or received meaningful consequences for their actions. Let me ask you this, Why don’t you commit crimes, or curse out your boss, why don’t you steal or vandalize things, is it because you know it’s wrong and part of that knowledge came from whenever you misbehaved you received consequences for your actions?

While we are trying to save a few of the bad apples the whole cart is in danger of being spoiled. Students that fight should be removed if not arrested; students that don’t come to learn, just to hang with their friends or to see what trouble they can find should be expelled. Teachers lament all the time if little Suzy or Johnny wasn’t in their classroom they could teach or they rejoice when they are absent. Think about this if a teachers spends just ten percent of their time disciplining the continuously unruly few that’s 18 days of instruction that is lost, and how much better do you think some students would do with that extra time and believe you me, a lot of teachers are forced to spend a lot more time than ten percent.

If some families are abdicating the responsibility to show their children how to be responsible respectful citizens, then we have to do it in the classrooms and the schools because if not there then where else can they possibly learn it?

Are violent streets, low graduation rates and failing schools not enough? Do we need a tragedy does somebody at a school have to be killed before we wake up and do something? No child left behind should be we are leaving about ten percent of them behind until they shape up; we have the other ninety percent to think and care about.

No comments:

Post a Comment