Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A sad day for public school students

A teacher enrolled in one of my classes was called up to active duty. I am filled with mixed emotions about this, and not just about my personal issues with the concept of war, but with this war in general. But, I respect the choice of this teacher, and all I want is for him to come home safely to his family, friends, and students.

But I really am sad for his students. It takes about 6 weeks, in my experience, for teachers and their students to really settle into their routine, trust one another, and figure things out. This means that he and his students have just hit their grove, and he is being taken away from them. If they are lucky, they'll get a new teacher for the rest of the year, and they can start the process all over again. If they aren't, they could have 5 or 6 subs between now and June. It's a sad day for public ed.

Now this history teacher is not the first to be called to serve the nation, but he is one of the few that I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with. I am torn because we need his talent as a teacher here, even though his other talents are needed elsewhere.

Ultimately, all of this is a moot point. I just want him to come home safely, in one piece. But it did keep me up last night.

19 comments:

crazy teachy said...

One of my best friends is over in Iraq right now and another one was killed a year ago Oct 1. It saddens me to read that another person is going over within those 6-degrees of separation. All we can do is hope and pray and support a passion and duty. But it keeps me up at night, too..regardless...

History Buff said...

I can't believe this. It's amazing how our country feels the need to pull teachers from the classroom to go to fight. I'm sorry I am against war in general, not just this particular one, and it definitely upsets me that they would pull an important person to fight. Go find lazy unemployed people to fight this stupid war!

Edubabbler said...

I find it interesting that you assume that people who are unemployed are lazy. We need to be very careful when we decide a person's work based upon whether that person works (or not). To me that is very dangerous, and in some ways, insulting to the men and women who serve the country, whether it be as a teacher or in the military.

The words we choose to post here can carry a lot of weight in terms of the intrinsic worth of a group or individual.

Monk said...

I respect that the teachers' decision of choosing to go to active duty, and I hope he comes home safely. I do think that teachers are needed in the schools because they are in demand in all subjects. I am wondering if there can be arrangements for teachers who are in the reserves. I question pulling teachers into active duty during the school year as this disrupts the students' learning process and I think that a routine is very important.

Anonymous said...

What we have have to understand is that is was HIS choice to join the reserves (or whatever branch he is in) and he felt it his duty to go and fight for our freedom. He was NOT forced, he signed a paper knowing full well he may be called again. I do not feel bad for this man, I feel proud that he is going to serve our country.

History Buff said...

I by no means meant that all unemployed people are lazy. I understand that there are certain circumstances that make people not able to work. But I did mean that some people are lazy and choose not to work, and these people [some of which I know] should be sent to do something productive.

PuppyPetPeeve said...

I have such gratitude to our classmate - he is sacrificing his relationship with his students (his loss as much as theirs), sacrificing precious days with his family and putting his life on the line all so I can sit her on my couch and blog. Maybe I am one of those lazy people.

On a different note, why would anyone want to send a lazy person to defend freedom?

MO-EDUGRAD-BABBLER said...

I too struggle with war and the benifits of the big picture, but more importantly I try to look at the impact on individual lives. In this case, it is sad for this teacher's students. One thing that will hopefully make you feel better are the lessons the students will learn from this unfortunate situation. The students hopefully realize the responsibilty, the civil duty, and the pure guts it takes to fight for the freedom of this great country, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The students should feel tremendous pride that their teacher is willing to sacrifice himself for their freedom. So in the end, he is teaching them everything that is important in life. I don't think they will ever forget him, and they will write to him, and think about him, and joyfully welcome him back when he returns, because he was their TEACHER!

I wish him all the best, and I know we wish him a safe return. I would just like to THANK YOU!

writebrain said...

I was thinking about the comment about lazy, unemployed people and I agree with Edubabbler about not evaluating a person's self-worth by their occupation. A lot of people are out of work because they are overqualified or too "old" for corporations to want to hire them.

Anyway, I got to thinking who should we send to war and I had this brain flash -- what about men serving time in prison! It would be a way to pay back society for whatever crime they committed and provide structure and possible rehabilitation or redemption for some.

But then again, the US military probably wouldn't want a bunch of muggers, rapists, etc. defending our country. After all, they don't even want homosexuals!

How about "don't ask - don't tell" -- we won't ask them what crime they comitted and just give them guns so they can kill people in a "constructive" way.

Obviously, I am being facetious, war is a crime against humanity and in the end it is sometimes hard to tell who the real criminals are.

People who serve are brave and heroic, but we all hate to see them give up their lives for in an such a no-win situation as the present one.

Anonymous said...

what about men serving time in prison!

Even thought the comment was meant in jest, it seems like an insult to any of those in prison. Yes they are dealing with the crimes that they have committed, but who are we to judge them as a whole people to be thrown onto the fronts lines to be killed. Murderers and rapist get no respect from me, but the man trying to raise a family and got turned down the wrong street does not need to be thrown into their level of misdeeds.

The entire reply seems a little strange to me in a way that I can't really describe. Yes the military does not allow homosexuals, it is something that honestly in this day and age they need to work on, but to link it to putting criminals in the military?

As I posted earlier, the men and women who serve our country should be honored, they have taken the chance that their lives will be lost, to not only defend our freedom, but also our right to live in a safe world.

By the person above commenting on "generalizing" poor people as lazy they themselves have generalized people in prison as worthy to throw out onto a battlefield and die. I don't think letting a murderer kill more people will rehabilitate them.

When it comes to serious issues such as these there leaves very little room for jokes, and sometimes if they do slip through they come with bad taste.

sandyfootprints said...

I can understand why you would be losing sleep over this issue. The issue of war affects many emotions and many people in different ways, especially when it affects someone we personally know. I think you brought up a good point about the length of time it takes for students and teachers to really settle into a routine.

As a future teacher, I personally believe that education is one of the most important things in life for any individual. Therefore, for someone to be called upon active duty when they have one of the most vital jobs really makes a person wonder what is important in our country. Perhaps that seems a little harsh on those who serve in the military.

Don't get me wrong, I completely respect and appreciate those who serve. I don't necessarily agree with this war, but I completely uphold and support our troops. I guess that war overall is just a big play on people's emotions.

happy2BAmom said...

I feel for the students who formed a bond with this teacher. Hopefully, the substitute who replaces him can radiate the same love he had for his subject area. The one good thing about the situation is that the students will remember this event for the rest of their lives. They will share the story about the special teacher they had that left for Iraq to fight for our great country. It will remind them to be grateful for the freedom that they enjoy each day.

gleter said...

I too am sorry to see one of our classmates leave to fight the war overseas. As I am also in the military also (27 years in the Air Force), I know that he is only doing his duty. We don't have any choice of what we do and are only following orders. It really frustrates me that others in the public are mad or angry with the men who are serving their country. If anything, we need to be mad at those in DC who started this situation and now don't know how to end it. Bless those who serve their country and keep them in your thoughts! As a side note, I would be happy to discuss the military and any questions that you might have in the next class should the professor feel that we have the time.

writebrain said...

To anonymous:

In re-reading my comments about men in prison, i can understand why it may come of "in poor taste" as you say and I apologize.

It does seem a little flippant for so serious a topic and after I posted it, i momentarily felt some regret.I guess there was a reason.

I was trying to make a point and I imagine I was in a strange mood -- I apologize if I offended anyone.

profileparanoid said...

It is so true that a teacher leaving his or her students makes for a sad day-or week-or month or months-depending on how well your district pays subs. I agree that talent as a teacher cannot be replaced but I'd also like to think that this is a one of the greatest teachable moments that a student can be a part of. Imagine what a role model that teacher has become-making geography, world cultures, language arts alive and thriving in his classroom through his absence. Don't misunderstand-I wish him health, safety and a speedy return as I wish his students to use him as an inspiration to gain knowledge about the world around them and overseas.

RMOSS81 said...

Yes, it is unfortunate for the students to lose a great teacher who they have bonded with. But when you sign up in the Armed Forces you have to be prepared to get deployed at any time, and even if he volunteered to do a tour over seas this is what he felt was the right thing to do. It is going to be very hard for the students to get a new teacher after the 5 or 6 weeks they bonded with him. The students will have to either get used to having different teachers every couple of weeks or hopefully be lucky enough to get a full time replacement fro the year. But I do wish him the bet of luck with his tour overseas and thank him for serving this country.

Dee said...

It's a really sad situation. I understand he was called to serve the nation, but it's sad for the students who will be missing him. I hope that these students don't have to go through five or six substitutes throughout the course of the year. It is true that it does take time for students to become familiar and comfortable with their students. Hopefully everything works out for the best.

Dee said...

sorry I made a little mistake, I meant become familiar and comfortable with their teachers.(correction)

Marcus Aurelius said...

I can relate to having someone that you respect leaving to go to war.(It is sad because no one knows what to do about the political climate in the Middle East. It seems that the proverbial crap has hit the fan.) I believe in the ideals of the Republic, but I do not support imperialism.Our children are being affected by the apathetic sleep-walk of parents who do not question the current administration.The real question is should we even bother to vote anymore? It seems that even the voting system is corrupt. I am truly sorry to be cynical.I have students that I felt would not suffer if I enlisted in the National Guard. I called, made an appointment to speak to the recruiter, and was ready to enlist. He promised me alot and said that he would give it to me in writing. (If my friend had not explored the issue,) I wouldn't have known that the recruitment of the NJ National Guard was escelating its deployment to Iraq in record numbers during the next year. So while the NJ National Guard can boast that it has deployed so few to Iraq, they now use that statistic to sign up young students,professionals, and teachers to go directly to Iraq without any prior knowledge. Most of these soldiers that are being deployed are young kids straight out of highschool.
Furthermore, the soldiers are not permitted to leave after their contracts are up. This is unAmerican and unfair.The ramifications of these sorts of tactics will come back and bite our military in the end.Sorry to rant.