O.k., this post (actually just the title) has been sitting in the queue since April 29th so I thought that it was about time I got to work… Sometimes I rant about not having a (paying) job, but something happened approximately 2 weeks ago that made me realize that, to a certain extent, I am a little more fortunate than some teachers. Why? Because I can use my blog, Twitter, and Facebook to say whatever the hell I want about whomever (or is it whoever) the hell I want, when I want. And I can cuss if I want to..even though the pastor talked about us working on our ‘cussing spirit’ just this past Sunday. That’s o.k. though because I can still call-out the idiots and incompetent leadership of our local schools, districts, etc. using other descriptive words.
So here’s what happened: As usual, I am all in everybody’s business (Tweets) to see what’s going on…I often retweet stuff from people such as @MikeKlonsky, his brother @Fklonsky, @readtoday, @ileducprof, and a slew of others. Most of my own tweets and others’ retweets are education-related, so I don’t think twice about sharing the info. Every once in awhile, some public figure will do or say something so stupid that one cannot help but retweet and add their own commentary. At least that’s what I do…. One night someone (who shall remain nameless) posted something about a recently-elected official in a state (that closely resembles a female body part) and some drug used by men to enhance their sexual prowess. I thought it was funny, for a few reasons. First of all, this same official came under fire for his decision to omit slavery from the state’s Confederate History Month ‘celebration.’ Then he decided to omit the afore-mentioned drug from the state’s healthcare plan. Not only did he put his foot in his mouth about slavery, but he made an executive decision that was neither necessary nor relevant. And for that, I thought he deserved to be the butt of a few jokes. Furthermore, this official’s behavior was especially embarrassing because he is a fellow Notre Dame alumnus. We expect better.
So this friend asks me if I minded deleting the tweet. I didn’t mind and I was not upset. His concern actually made me stop and think about the ‘freedom’ I have as an unemployed educator: I don’t have to worry about administrators ‘spying’ on me-I had enough of that when I was actually teaching. But seriously, when did teachers stop enjoying the liberties of the 1st Amendment? I taught Civics for a number of years and one of the lessons I enjoyed teaching (and kids enjoyed learning) was the one about the Constitution.The kids really enjoyed learning about their actual rights since it seemed, to them, they did not have any.
Then I started thinking about Ashley Payne, the Barrow County teacher who was fired over her Facebook page last year (wait, it gets better). ‘Supposedly’ a concerned parent wrote a letter to the principal about some things the teacher had on her page. Specifically, a picture of herself while on vacation-holding a beer, and a status update that said she was on her way to play ‘Crazy Bitch Bingo’ with her friends. The AJC’s Get Schooled Education blogger Maureen Downey actually did some investigating into the infamous letter, which was anonymous, and found some serious discrepancies. For example, when the origin of the letter was traced, turned out the email account was a phony. But it was too late because Ashley had been pressured by the principal to resign. For those of you who are not aware, Georgia is what is known as a Right to Work state. Meaning, an employer does not have to justify firing an employee. If your administrator is having a bad day, going through a divorce, doesn’t like you, or is just plain crazy, well…he or she can fire you. What’s worse, that looks very bad on a teacher’s record. It could possibly prevent you from getting another teaching job, especially since the former administrator can say whatever he or she wants when called for a reference.
So what does all this mean? In my opinion, it seems as though teachers exchange their 1st Amendment rights for a contract, in which they are grossly underpaid, treated disrespectfully, and micro-managed by some (not all) administrators who are excused for either not having a filter or not giving a damn about being tactful or professional, especially if they have a successful immigrant story to tout to monstrous , feel-good philanthropists who blackmail elected officials into keeping such leaders with $65.4 million dollars of hush money. If you still think unions are bad then we know which team you work spy for. Stay the hell out of my business.