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Archive for the ‘Pet Peeves’ Category

If You Don’t Like the Teachers …

Posted by whforums on September 14, 2008

The education news is flying fast and furious.

First, Barbara Carpenter resigned as head of the West Hartford Teacher’s Union.  Rick Green has an interesting article about the situation.  My concern with his take is that it implicitly maligns teachers as lazy and unwilling to compromise (it treats teachers as a monolith seemingly only because they bargain collectively), which is most certainly untrue.  In fact, I’d suspect that most West Hartford teachers would like to be greater stakeholders in the direction of their school system, and I think, given the right compensation, many teachers would be willing to work a wide variety of schedules.  But to imagine that teachers would work off hours without extra compensatoin  compensation is to be guilty of the kind of thinking that too often seeps into lay conversations about education:  “Teachers aren’t professionals — anybody could do it.”

Meanwhile, Talk of West Hartford has returned with a post that harshly challenges the quality of West Hartford schools at the curricular level, arguing that our shortcomings are rooted in “educational credentials” and that we should “be doing a full examination of what our kids are being taught and how.”  While the post is careful to explictly challenge only administrators and those in charge of curriculum, as in Rick Green’s article, it implicitly maligns (especially through that word “how”) the teachers delivering the instruction.  When the author asks the question “Are they being taught in the most efficient and effective manner?,” the implication is the same old same old — teachers don’t know what they’re doing, and “educational credentials” (like degrees in education and progressing certifications) don’t mean a thing.

I’m not saying all teachers are wonderful.  Like any other job, I’m sure there are some employees who are burnt out, uninterested or focused only on their paycheck. But most of the teachers I know (and I’m surrounded by teachers in my life, so I’m perhaps a bit over-sensitive here) care more about their students than their schedules — and most don’t complain that their compensation, generally speaking, lags behind other professionals with comparable educational backgrounds.  And this constant implicit disrespect doesn’t even touch on the day to day disrespect teachers receive from their students (and the parents of those students).

I fear that the forthcoming contract negotiatons could turn really ugly, and once again pit (at least) two very different West Hartfords against one another.  In this case — as with the referendum we’re staring down — we may be so blinded by our own sense of our town’s identity that we can’t see that, despite our various perspectives, we share our common ground …


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Monday Morning Pet Peeve

Posted by whforums on August 18, 2008

Ok, so this is a minor “thing” in the grand scope of “things,” but it drives me fracking crazy. It maybe also illuminates a certain lack of neighborliness (“Where city style meets village charm,” etc.).

You know how Main Street, traveling “south,” narrows once your cross over Farmington Avenue? That stretch of Main Street in front of Breuggers, and Friendly’s, and Lemon Grass? People — it’s a one lane road. I understand the merge sign is way back before the Farmington Avenue intersection, and I understand that the fact that it’s a merge gets buried in all of our mutual consciousnesses by the activity of the Center itself. But the fact that the fracking road fracking narrows should serve as a fracking reminder to form one fracking line! Gah!

And you people who are double parking in that stretch — not that you’re really double parking, more hovering for a spot — well, you’re on my list now, too. And while I’m at it — could we all be a little nicer to the poor folks who get hung out to dry trying to make a left from Farmington onto Main? All the time I see one lone car, trapped in the intersection …

And don’t even get me started on the people who leave their fracking shopping carts in the middle of the fracking aisle in the grocery store. I guess that’s more of a Sunday night pet peeve …

Posted in Pet Peeves, West Hartford, West Hartford Center | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »