The private lives of teachers

Another reason we have a terrible education system: Parents are idiots.

Do parents want to ask about pass rates, curriculum content, test scores? Nope. Apparently there is far more fun into searching out the private lives of teachers.

Apparently, in Pennsylvania, some parents found out that one of the 10th grade teachers at the local school writes erotic fiction in her private time under a pen name. Finding this information out seems to involve going to at least 3 different web sites. Now the report doesn’t ask the obvious question of how did the parent find this out (I’m going to guess either the parent or someone they know reads this kind of fiction…and what does that say about them? Nothing, really. There is no shame in reading erotic fiction, just as there is no shame in writing it. There is however shame about requiring Puritanical standards.)

This parent who has WAY to much time on their hands to dig into the private lives of teachers says “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side.” First off, the way the story is written it appears that he knows because this idiot parent told him…so whose fault is that? Second, he’s in 10th grade and a boy. Hmmm. Is knowing what his teacher writes going to make him think about sex? To answer this I am going to defer to a line from possibly the greatest screenwriter/director alive (who has also been persecuted relentlessly by modern day Puritans) Joss Whedon:

“I’m seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.”

I really don’t think this knowledge is going to change the fact that the kid is a teenage boy. (God help us what he’ll be thinking when he finds out his parents had sex once.)

Now, if this teacher had been brining her work into class that would be a clear argument against her, but the hack reporter for this article could only find two former students who said they were “Shocked” to find out. Shocked, as in this teacher, who has been teaching for 25 years, gave absolutely no hint that she wrote adult fiction in her PRIVATE life.

What is this parent’s expectation that teachers go home and live like nuns in a cloister?

But here is my favorite part, this busy body Puritan of a parent states, “I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author.” This a teacher, who never brought this into her classroom, and from all other appearances is competent, as I’m sure this reporter who deals in smear campaigns would have turned up other complaints if they existed, but despite being competent, she can’t live her off campus life as she would wish?

Which brings up the question can parents dictate what teachers can and can’t write under a pen name on their personal time, where does the line stop? Can parents say that a teacher can’t have an outside job at all? After all they might be doing some kind of job that the parents don’t like? Can parents say a teacher can’t read certain things; after all it might corrupt their thinking and thus their teaching? Can parents dictate the sexual practices of a teacher? Can parents dictate the religion or politics of a teacher? Can they dictate whether a teacher can write about politics and religion? After all what if the teacher is a pagan conservative?

Oh wait, no, they can’t, because that’s all done in the teacher’s private life. And as long as it stays out of the classroom parents have no right to dictate what a teacher does in their private life (so long as they are not criminals, but last time I checked novels come under a basic First Amendment protection).

Of course, in the end, I can guarantee that this teacher will be forced out of her job. And after that happens I hope she sues. (I hope she sues even if she doesn’t get fired). This parent suggested publically that this teacher wasn’t good at her job. That’s slander. The reporter and the editor who allowed this report contributed to spreading this implication. That’s libel. I hope they are sued for slander and libel and forced to sell everything they have and still be in debt to this teacher.

But this is indicative of a much larger problem. Do parents care about the actual curriculum? Do they care about how their kid is doing? DO they care about the actual quality of teachers? Or how funds are being allocated in the school? Do they care about what is best for the student? Apparently not, apparently the only parents that care enough to get involved are the ones who want to have the morals of the community as in the Scarlet Letter. (For a pagan like me I seem to remember what they like to do to my kind, involved wood and stakes, and fire. Not what I’m looking on returning to.)

Hmmm. Maybe parents should care more about what goes on in the classroom, than what teachers are doing outside of it.

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