David Dunn-Rankin

David Dunn-Rankin

This column continues reader C’S comments from last week.

“Teachers are shown disrespect at times by parents. Let me say this: if you have a child, it is your responsibility as parent/guardian to monitor your child’s behavior, grades and attendance at school. It is also your responsibility to teach your child respect, responsibility and manners. On a daily basis, teachers make thousands of split-second decisions. Sometimes they’re right and good, and sometimes they’re not.   

We face unbelievable (student) discipline issues that we are told by school administrators to “work with” and “keep the child in the classroom.”

Somewhere down the line, Tallahassee has decided that discipline issues should not exist in public schools. Schools are punished for having too many discipline problems, yet every day teachers try to teach students who sleep through class, fight with each other, pass around various drugs and generally misbehave, effectively halting the educational experience for everyone. 

We’re tired, we’re overworked and we do not earn nearly enough money to have a child tell us what they will or will not do, or have a child hit, punch, kick and slap us (I can go on).

Take responsibility for your child and their actions. Set boundaries and enforce them. Do this while they’re younger, so when they’re older they will have mastered these life lessons and will be good and productive citizens in their communities. 

If you disagree with your child’s teacher, don’t badmouth us to your kids. This increases the disrespect issue and solves nothing. Come to us. Let us handle the issue calmly, like adults. Read with your child daily, make sure they know basic math facts. Show your children you think an education is important, not just a babysitting service. (P.S.: Yes, these things go on.)

Finally, teachers are shown disrespect from state and local political leaders. Give us enough of a salary that we don’t have to work two and three extra jobs. I could move to Tennessee right now and make $10k more than I make here in Florida.  Recently the governor and the Tallahassee bigwigs decided beginning teachers should make $47k. Great. Those of us at the other end of the spectrum (with 20+ years) got nothing. 

At this very moment, I make $52k with 28 years of teaching experience and a master’s degree. The issue of teacher salaries must be addressed fairly and across the board.

Another thing, give us decent medical insurance benefits that are actually accepted by hospitals and doctors. My medical insurance is expensive and useless. Show teachers they are valued by looking after their health and well-being. 

Next, after local and state entities have done their damage and have run off good teachers, they turn right around and hire non-educators to put in classrooms. If this is going to be the way districts operate, they should give the new educators help, especially with discipline. Do not expect them to automatically know and do everything we as teachers have been doing for years. Don’t throw them in a classroom and abandon them.

Local school districts especially need to take a long, hard look at the demands they place on their staff. We no longer teach, we no longer impart knowledge, we no longer encourage a love of learning. We teach so our students can master whatever state test is coming down the pike. Any district that says otherwise is lying. My goal now is to make it to retirement. C

Readers, what do you think of the discipline issues and parents’ responsibility for student behavior and scholastic outcomes? Share your thoughts.

David Dunn-Rankin may be reached at: David@d-r.media

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