Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"I Have Eighteen Hundred Kids!"

Please, come laugh with me a while!

The Mural
Listen to the story of the most arrogant, ignorant, and deep-down insecure administrator that ever crossed the threshold of a classroom.

Ms. F. -- what a clown. At first, I thought that she commanded a degree of respect. She could laugh at herself when she spilled her coffee, she also told me to seek her out if I needed any help. She even had a picture of Jaime Escalante on her wall, painted onto a pink T-Shirt.

I liked Jaime, so much so, that sometimes I drive through the MacArthur Park section of Downtown Los Angeles just to see the huge mural of Edward James Olmos and Jaime with their arms on each other's shoulders.

That's the ideal that inspires many to be teachers, I guess. I liked how rough-and-tumble tough he was, both reported in the media, in a biography published on the man, as well as in the movie version starring Olmos.

I wish that the administrators treated their teachers the same way that these two men carry each other. Alas, that can never be the case. In many instances, the administrators themselves are one complaint away from a forced resignation, unable to stand up to peer or parental pressures or the school board.

And Ms. F. was no exception, and arrogant petty-politicians who also sat on a local school board, so enraptured was she in her skills to "be awesome".

She seemed like a teacher-turned-bureaucrat raised under "Liberation Theology", she was always talking about "Brown Power", and how she was "Brown and proud."

She babied the Hispanic kids in many cases. Was she suffused with the notion that anyone who was not the same color as she was "the bad guy?" I have no idea, but the stuffy, ethnocentric nonsense pouring out of university graduate programs should be enough to dissuade people from going into education, whether as a teacher or as a "leader".

One afternoon, she said "Let's talk politics" -- what she really meant was "Let's talk about how awesome I am." I look back on those moments, and lo and behold I witnessed a very insecure little girl in a grown-up, a woman who had lived as an undocumented immigrant in South Los Angeles, went to Garfield High School, the last class before Escalante resigned from the school which refused to support him.

She was not the teacher that he would have been proud of, in my opinion, and the not-so-stellar end of Escalante's career in Garfield should have been warning enough for me and others -- teaching is not for you, for the strong who command enough respect to discern good from evil.

Ms. F. had her say, all the time. My favorite quip out of her big mouth:

"I have eighteen hundred kids!" -- she was talking about the student population of the high school where I was working at the time. In no way did she speak of herself as a mother, either physically or morally. She was not a mother to those kids, in fact, just as a sixteen-year-old having a child popping out a kid is no mother either. The maturity level of an loose adolescent and Ms. F. was in many ways very similar. Both desperate for approval, both looking for love in other people, both willing to compromise on the best interests of children in order to feel better about themselves.

"I have eighteen hundred kids!" It was all about her, of course. "My kids! My kids! What are you going to do for my kids?" She was a nut, or she was a nut looking for a little love, either way, she was no mother, and she seemed to be unfit to be doing anything related to raising youth for anything.

She "had" kids, but she was not their mother, not in the least. She even approved of students who would harass other teachers. Shameful, shameful, shameful! The race-baiting which pits teachers against students and administrators is swallowing up any good education for these students. They have parents who have failed them, they have communities which have failed them, now they have schools -- teachers, administrators, and attending staff all -- who are also failing them, yet every day they hear the song-and-dance of "You're-Awesome-Because-You're-A-Minority" routine.

What difference does it make what color you are, if you cannot go anywhere based the empty prejudices which keep you in bondage? Ms. F. and her insufferable ilk make failure palatable, and they are doing no one any favors as a result.

"I have eighteen hundred kids!" She beamed, so proud of herself, even though how many of them would get arrested by the end of the week, she would never know. The little fantasy of "Queen Mother" was just enough to keep her coming to work every day, I guess, not that she was really doing those students, or the staff, any service.

I wonder how many of "her kids" will survive to see their twenty-first birthday. I wonder if she will be there to bail them out of jail when their shaky ethno-self-confidence cannot stand up to the gang-bang peer pressure to break the law. She will then have a legacy of "eighteen hundred adult-kids" who have nothing to show for themselves.

I am certain that Jaime would not be pleased.

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