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Letter To A Teacher

Dear Teacher,

I asked you to leave my classroom today because you weren’t teaching. You weren’t even trying to teach. You didn’t care and that’s what bothered me the most.

Our jobs are different and fully understand the amount of pressure you are under. For you, there is dictation, workbook, penmanship, process writing to check and mark. You also need to create and mark the exams. Then there are the meetings within the school and the ones with parents and students. I am lucky to have not had to do a lot of those tasks.

It is why I spend most of my ‘free time’ talking to the kids as much as I can and preparing for my lessons – thinking how they relate to what you are doing and trying to do what is best for the students. I am freer since the curriculum is lighter on me but every ounce of energy, in the school, is spent on making sure the kids are taken care of and trying to make my lessons are better.

Maybe in the flood of paperwork, you have forgotten it and are more focused on making sure the paperwork gets done rather than if the kids are doing well. Yes, you talk to the strongest and well-behaved kids but you allow some students to sleep or completely tune out. You rarely leave your chair let alone the front of the class. You claim all the students are weak and give them all the same worksheet which is boring for some, too hard for others but in the end, you don’t care.

I have taught for 15 years and have been teaching in a co-teaching environment for seven years. It is the first time I have asked another teacher to leave my classroom. Even the weakest teachers try. Even the teachers who don’t have a clue try something even if it is yelling and screaming at least it shows they care. You did neither. You just kept marking as I tried to do everything.

Maybe it was a few weeks ago that planted the seed to ask you to leave. There was a project with the grade 4 students. Each teacher was given 4-5 students to work with and do a presentation on something about old Hong Kong. The group I volunteered for was about schools. Your group was about food. It was the worst group out of all of them. The other students who watched told me it was poorly done. The look of it was shabby. The students didn’t know what they were talking about. As the students were preparing to present to their fellow students – you had your head down in a pile of papers doing marking. I felt so sad for them that I went over to try to help the kids – to encourage them – to make them feel better and yet you did nothing. I wasn’t alone in watching it – everyone could see.

Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone should be a teacher. Some begin as teachers and then discover they are not and go off to do other things. Some, like me, need a wake-up call for someone to say smarten up. Maybe throwing you out was my way of waking you up. I don’t know.

For the sake of the students who are under your care – either leave the profession or wake up.

Your co-teacher.

Published in Profile & Personal

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