Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jack Senzig and Ms. C - a Tale of Two Teachers

Allow me to introduce you to Ms. C. She is a high school teacher and one of my best friends. This does not make me biased; rather it gives me clarity. Many people, including my friends, romanticize the life of a teacher. They get off work at 3:00. Well, school may end at 3:00, but that certainly doesn't end the work day. Ms. C and many of her colleagues rarely leave the school before 5:00, and even then they take work home. Grading, planning, what have you. But wait - don't they have planning periods? Well yes, they do. Say they have one or two planning periods a day. Do you honestly expect them to be able to do lesson plans for 4-6 classes, grade the papers from those classes and at the same time leave their door open for the (unfortunately) few students who actually give enough of a shit about their education to ask for help or guidance? Not possible.

They have summers off. Well, yes and no. While some may be able to relax and enjoy their summers, many do not have that luxury. You see, Ms. C is a divorced mother of two college aged children and one high schooler. What does this mean? This means teaching summer school or some other summer job for extra income.

It is tough? Oh hell yeah. Whether a teacher wants it or not, politics is a part of their life. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the other end of the phone or across the table from Ms. C when she was in tears because of another policy decision that was made not in the best interest of the students or the classrooms, but for political reasons. She tries her damndest NOT to get involved in the politics of teaching because you see, for her, it IS about the children. They are not her students - they are "her kids."

Now allow me to introduce you to Jack Senzig. Mr. Senzig is a middle school choir teacher for Racine's Gifford Middle School. Mr. Senzig has had a blog on which he posted pictures and anecdotes about his choir. He was justifiably proud of these kids. But then...THEN...

The posts turned to politics. And I'm not talking subtle politics. His first political post was entitled Governor Walker Wages War On Unions. In another post he writes:
For the haters, go back and read what I posted. I am merely trying to make sure you know that this is a volatile time and you need to know it will effect the choir. Canceling rehearsals was needed to protect the kids from being left unattended. I did not know exactly what would happen but I could not guarantee that I would be here to watch the kids. As for my political views, yes I hoped to inform those of you who would consider helping. Read the title of this blog, it is not a school website, it is my way to communicate with the world. If you don’t want your children to read this keep them off the internet.
Pardon me, but wasn't this the site to which the children could go read about their choir and see their pictures? Okay then.

His final post was titled GCC, Tour and Musical Cancelled. Yep - that's right - he has cancelled all musical events. Events these middle school children were looking forward to and worked hard for. Now, the Boy attends Racine Unified School District, yet I don't recall getting any notices cancelling his band's trip to St. Louis. In this last post Senzig links to his new blog. A blog, he says, is for his political views. I don't know about you, but it seems like his political views were rather in your face in the current blog. In any case, click on that link and what do you find from this teacher?
Ms. C and Jack Senzig. The former worthy of admiration...the latter not worthy of the title teacher.

H/T Fred

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