Just another day in the trenches as a middle school teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely like my job, while still acknowledging that it is one of the most infamously underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated professions in the world. It’s been a rough week. I had to break up a fight between two angry boys in my classroom (no easy task). I had to submit all my grades right under the wire for the bi-quarterly progress reports (once again, no easy task). And finally, I busted two sixth grade girls for plagiarizing an entire short-answer worksheet in one of my classes (not an easy task, and certainly not a fun one, either). But unfortunately, the story does not end here.
I was about to enjoy the fruits of my labor- Today is Friday, it is payday, and it is the very start of a highly anticipated four-day weekend. But despite the warnings of my coworkers time and again not to check my work email over the weekend, once again I did not heed their advice, and now have a dark cloud tainting what should be a period of freedom and enjoyment. The Pandora’s box that is my work email wasted no time in providing me with enough headaches and pains in the ass for my holiday weekend.
In a nutshell, the father of one of these girls (let’s call her “Student A”) pretty much wants my head on a plate, after besmirching his precious daughter’s good name (*snort*). “After listening to his daughter,” (… because a middle school student accused of plagiarism is such a reliable source of truth), he wants to know how it was possible for his daughter to have been able to copy the answers on her paper in class while in my class, and “that responsibilities should be justly applied” (referring to me, not his daughter). Moreover, he goes on to question “where the weakness in the system lies,” once again taking a not too subtle passive-aggressive swipe at me for evidently not having hovered closely enough over his princess to ensure that she would not be able to copy word for word from her classmate, including the spelling mistakes.
*Sigh* *Eye roll* *Projectile vomiting*
Parents, I’ve got news – The weakness in the system lies with you. It lies with you for not giving your child limits, for indulging them and not guiding them or disciplining them. It lies with not instilling the values of a sense of self-responsibility and accepting consequences for their actions. Furthermore, it lies with not allowing them to know what it is like to have to work towards something you want, rather than just have it given to you as a result of backing someone into a corner and forcing it from them. It lies with bullying teachers into giving your child his or her grades, as opposed to earning them. And speaking as a teacher, there comes a point where it all becomes beyond ridiculous, where you have to have genuine concern and fear over what this upcoming generation of future world leaders might be like if they cannot write a paper without copying and pasting it, word for word, from Wikipedia, or spell correctly, or know how to perform even the most basic life task independently without crying to mommy and daddy to do it all for them.
That, THAT is where the weakness in the system lies.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy my much-deserved, much-needed four-day weekend 😛
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