An Open Letter To Whoever Might Publish Me

Dear Esteemed Educational Publishers,

Most education books are full of poo.

Before you go getting your panties all up in a wad,  however, let me clarify that I do not think you, dear publishers, are full of poo.   Heavens, no.  And a good thing, too, because if you got your panties all up in a wad and you were full of poo, why things would get very messy indeed.  But no, my Esteemed Educational Publishers, (my EEPs, if you will) you, unlike many of the books you publish, are poo-less.  Sparklingly feces-free.  Gleamingly clean examples of…

Perhaps I should drop the poop analogy and just get right to the point.

You see, my dear EEPs, most of your teachers are about to crack.  And considering that teachers make up a large chunk of your reading population, I think that ought to concern you.  All those well read patrons of yours, all those book-buyin’, education-lovin’, pedogogy-researchin’  classroom clients who purchase your goods and maintain your business, they’re all living just one “Wait…we have a test today?” away from losing it.

And when teachers lose it, EEPs, it ain’t pretty.

Forget plummeting book sales.  That’s only the tip of the freshly sharpened #2 pencil.  When teachers lose it, children suffer.  Entire classrooms descend into chaos.  The air becomes choked with wide-rule airplanes and paper wads.  Writing utensils fly toward the unsuspecting ceiling tiles (which catch projectiles better than a dart board, a fact I have yet to see published in any of your best-selling ed books).  And when things get bad, really bad, drawings of genitalia appear on desks and tests.  Imagine the horror, EEPs.  Imagine what it must be like to be a teacher on the edge, scratching and clawing one’s way through backward design, making every effort to ground the double decker paper airplanes, remove the targets from your ceiling tiles and believe that maybe, just maybe you have the class under control when suddenly, you find a hairy set of…man parts…staring you in the face right beneath the space that says “Name and Date.”

It’s enough to make a teacher cry, my EEPs.  Cry, and then bolt from the profession faster than a teenager blasting through the school parking lot in mom’s mini-van.  And all of it, every last sorrowful specimen of a teacher scrambling from the classroom is entirely preventable.

But we need a little less poo and a little more practicality.

You see, EEPs, most of your ed books are just a little too far removed from the classroom.  They’re the theory-thumpin’ Bible of how to teach in a perfectly sterile world where achievement gaps are just percentages, all administrators are competent, and the eight-legged dance teachers do while juggling flaming torches and balancing glassware on their noses is referred to simply as “classroom management.”

All well and good, my EEPs, and fascinatingly valid if you’re an educational scientist/boring person sitting in an office drinking watered down coffee while pondering what infinitesimal increase in one data point might be produced by switching out the flaming torches for sharpened knives, and adding in a 504 plan for those with only seven and a half legs.

But what the Bloom’s Taxonomy am I supposed to do when my student eats his final exam, then climbs out the window and runs away?  How do I explain with precise clarity exactly what happened in the classroom altercation when both fighting parties are named Christina Martinez?  And what is the most ethical answer to the question “If a student barfs on my desk, am I still morally obligated to grade the tests that are now covered in vomit?”

Why, my dear EEPs, why have I never seen the answers to these questions in any of your books?

I thought you were teaching me how to to teach.

But worry not, EEPs.  That’s why I’m here.  I’m the voice of reason in the insanity that is teaching.  Which is to say I’m more than a little insane myself, but that’s precisely what makes me so valuable.  I, much like the darling teenagers in my classroom, have no filter.  I call it like I see it.  And after twelve years in the profession I’d say I see it pretty clearly.

Which is why I know that someone out there in your world, EEPs, someone out there wants me.  I know a few of you have a sense of humor.  I mean, you published Harry Wong, for crying out loud, then made him a sensation.  Harry.  Wong.

You can’t tell me that’s not funny.  And if you do, then you’ve obviously never spent a day in your life with teenagers.

So I will bet every last hair on Harry’s Wong that what teachers really need is a little more practicality, and a little less poo.

Because between the bat-guano crazy parents and crap-tastic standardized testing, all those theory books you published…

We’ve just been using them as toilet paper.

–SP

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7 Responses to An Open Letter To Whoever Might Publish Me

  1. singingpigs says:

    My Dear Fellow Educators,
    For the love of all things holy, if you don’t want to sit through another ed class that is a load of theoretical poop pellets, PLEASE pass this on. And then, when I become rich and famous, I will forcibly take over all education programs in the universities (and maybe your local school system as well), declare them crap-free zones, and teach by common sense only.

    But I’ll still use the word “poo” as frequently as I can work it into my lessons.

  2. Michelle Donovan says:

    You talk of a future I can only dare to dream will happen. Teach by “Common Sense only”? What madness you speak of. Imagine having a “Week in the hell that is a classroom ” mandatory course for all uni educators every semester? That would sort them out. Shared to all and sundry at my school.
    Nothing wrong with poo – what goes in, has to come out doesn’t it?

    • singingpigs says:

      Poo largely describes the overall useless Master’s degree that I got in order to bump my pay, but which didn’t at all teach my how to teach. I think ed professors badly need to get their booties back in the classroom. I also think that all bitchy parents should be punished with one hour of community service in which they have to teach the class they bitch about. Perfectly. I find that reasonable…

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