Mid-Term today

Well, I spent all weekend reading, re-reading, quizzing myself, then reading some more for my NV School Law mid-term.  Doc McC says it’s going to be hard.  Well, in 3 hours I’ll know whether the course content stuck with me or not.

See, the whole thing about NV school law is that really, it’s the awareness that counts.  It’s valuable to know that law cases like Lemon v. Kurzman and a whole host of others exist.  I mean, they named a test after the Lemon Case, in which, and this is one I had to memorize…the Lemon Test:

  1. secular purpose
  2. doesn’t advance or impede religion
  3. no excessive government entanglement with religion.

Ok, basically, all it means is that if you’re teaching and you run into a sticky religious topic, you should really avoid it or if you’re going to tread on that ground, you have to make sure that you don’t violate any one of the 3 parts of the Lemon Test.  It’s really supreme court fodder, but it’s there just in case someone steps on their whatevers.

I’ve gone over fancy schmantzy vocabulary words like “Certiorari” which I turned into a mental cue called “Sure we’ll hear ya”, all it means is that you’re granted a hearing by a higher court.  Then there’s “Stare Decisis” which I call “Stare at the Decision”…it literally means “Let the decision stand”.  Then there’s Per Curium and that one, hell…I can’t make a mental cue about it no matter how hard I try…and it’s not sticking well, that’s the one that means that it’s an opinon of the entire court as opposed to an opinion rendered by a single justice.  How the heck do you make a mental cue out of that?  Well, I’m going to have to take my chances with that one and thank the gods that it’s a multiple choice and true/false test, hoping I’ll know it when I see it.

My school law class often makes me think about my pal Kathy.  She’s a paralegal along with being my surrogate mom.  How she knows this stuff day in and day out is beyond me.  But the one thing I find so peculiar about the whole “Law” thing is that it’s really all about common sense and simply lawyers get into the mix when someone’s common sense flies out the window.  I mean some of the stuff I’ve heard about in my school law class has been enough to make me absolutely blanche.  Some teachers just have their heads fly clean up their own asses.  Take for example this one lady teacher who made lewd comments to her student.  I mean what the hell was she thinking!!!  I would have not only thrown the book at her, I’d have smashed it over her head a couple of times.  The finding in that case?  “You have to maintain a distance from your students to remain impartial”.  No shit, ya think?  Oy veh.  But that’s the thing about common sense, it isn’t all that common.

Doc McC says that teaching is all about decision making, that we make more decisions in 20 minutes worth of class time than a principal or any other school administrator makes in their entire day.  Somehow I think that’s really true.  Teachers are at the front lines and we get paid like shit to make sure that the greater good is served, creating an educated society.

But over the last week, I’ve done nothing but go over constitutional amendments, fancy schmantzy words, been aghast at cases like Plessy v. Ferguson…oh and that one is just evil.   But then there are the ones that give you hope…like Brown v. Board of Education that finally integrated the schools.  Now to me, Brown v. Board is another common sense one.  I don’t give a shit if you are blue, green or aquamarine, we are all HUMAN.  H-U-M-A-N.  This means that if you’re a breathing human being, you deserve an education.  Separate yet equal?  Holy Lordy…that’s just ugh!!!  You can’t have separate yet equal as the courts found in Brown, that’s so violating the 14th amendment, it’s just common sense that everyone should get equal everything.  Tell me I can’t teach a child because of their skin color, religion or whathaveyou and you’ll see me get into Mother Bear mode and I’ll rip someone’s fool head off!   Every single child born should be given the best possible education.  That’s putting tools in their hands to create a great life, to find happiness and all the other good stuff that the founding fathers put in the Constitution…

What REALLY chaps my ass about the whole thing is the pay. As a teacher, I’m charged with having the responsibility to provide the best education I can.  I’m shaping the future, one student, one hour, one class at a time and that kind of dedication in Southern Nevada will get me $36k a year.  $36K for a job that money can’t even begin to possibly measure its effects on humanity.  I don’t get it.  Instead of a lawyer or even a valet parker here in Vegas making 100’s of thousands of dollars a year when they really don’t come close to how much impact they make on humanity as a teacher does…oh come on!  Then we’re expected to pay for all of our teaching supplies?  We pay to be a teacher while some valet parker just parks a car and makes 10 times what we do.  THEN if you want to move up the pay scale, you have to keep going to school.  Now I can understand the need to go and take more classes or workshops or clinics to stay current with the materials, new teaching techniques and whathaveyou, but it’s ludicrous to have to pay over $1000 a year just to make sure you move up the pay scale.  The retirement benefits are nice, but whew, you sure do have to be dedicated and love what you do to be a teacher. 

Personally, I think we’re worth a hell of a lot more than they pay us, but….there is a small matter of quality.  Now there are some teachers out there that suck.  Let’s face it, they are awful.  But, then for those who know me, know how good I am in a classroom.  I teach to the triple threat, the auditory, visual and tactile student.   I capture imaginations and make them work!  I teach with laughter…because if you’re not laughing you’re not learning.  If I can get a 60 year old to learn Photoshop and be proficient in it or if I can take an ADD disabled student and give them a better life, hell man, I’m further ahead of the game than most others.  But to be able to do what I do with no training at all, then ice the cake with the degree that will give me a license to teach and all of that knowledge put on top of my natural gifts?

Scary.

But, gotta jet, I’ll be back after the mid-term to tell how it went.

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