Alternative title for this post: Teachers Behaving Badly
I'm not sure whether it's better to be the chicken or the egg in this little scenario. You see, I've been thinking a lot about professionalism, or rather UNprofessionalism.
If we're real with ourselves, we know we've seen other teachers acting unprofessionally. So not Super Colleague behavior, but it's out there. (And sometimes, from time to time, on those very frustrating days when we've had it up to here with test after test after lost prep after administrative demand after inside recess after canceled field trip...wait? What was I saying? Oh, right...sometimes, on rare occasions, we may find ourselves acting unprofessionally too.)
HOWEVER (and this is a big however), we also know that teachers are frequently treated like unprofessional idiots. I mean, how many times have I felt like I'm being treated as if I'm the same age as the students that I teach? How often have I worried about "getting in trouble" if I am behind in my data collection? How regularly did I feel as if I was being spoken down to or that my professional opinion was of little consequence?
TOO FREAKING OFTEN!!
That's how much.
Let's take a look at a few examples, shall we?
How about that spring when everyone from administrators to the school nurse were hell bent on effing with my flow?
Or the time that some individuals FELL ASLEEP during a demo lesson?
Or all the teeth sucking? The eye rolling? The dodging of responsibility? The stealing of extra rolls during school-sponsored lunches?
And while it is easy for Mrs. Mimi to point fingers (It's the way of my people.), I know that from time to time, I myself have acted unprofessionally. I know. Take a moment to gather yourself. It's true.
Remember this little tidbit for example? The time when The Bacon Hunter essentially tried to break into my personal teacher stash of genius-ness in search of a binder full of mathematical wonder created by my team of Super Colleagues while I was absent and there was a substitute? Yes, you read correctly. Girlfriend took advantage of a substitute teacher in order to ransack through my things so that she could get her bacon grease covered paws on a collection of original work that I had (in all my unprofessionalism) refused to share with her? Within this one little vignette, I can spot three instances where maybe I should have changed my ways to be more professional:
1. Maybe I shouldn't have refused to share information that would only benefit children. (But, in my defense, sister friend did virtually NOTHING to make my job easier or improve the learning opportunities for children and WOULD TOTALLY misuse, mistreat, and misplace our hard work.)
2. Maybe I shouldn't have held my hand up in her face while she was talking. (But again, in my defense, sometimes enough is enough!)
3. Maybe I shouldn't have semi-interrogated my students about what went on in my absence. (Here comes my defense again...but maybe she should have been smart enough to poke around when no one was looking.)
So yes, we all act unprofessionally from time to time. And we can all probably defend our actions. After all, (although we are sick, sick people who LOVE them) schools can be extremely political and infuriating places...
Here's the thing. Is this behavior something we resort to (Some of us more than others...douche bags, I'm looking at YOU!) because we are inherently unprofessional people OR (and this is a big "or") are we acting this way because we are continuously treated poorly? Not to be all "poor us" but honestly...how many times are we dismissed, told what to do and not considered? How many times is our expertise overlooked? How many times have we been told to "just do our jobs"?
How many of us have to be fired for no good reason? How many numbers need to be compiled to prove that we are worth our salt? How many ass hats have to mock our summer vacations? I mean after all that ALL THAT, can you really blame us when we snap every once in awhile and throw out an eye roll or engage in a heated gossip session?
So what do YOU think? What came first??