Thanks to teacher tenure, Glenn Garvin knows a lot about UFOs, Venusian civilization and the thriving cities on the dark side of the moon, he writes in the Miami Herald. His elderly Spanish teacher devoted her class to the space travels and alien encounters of George Adamski.
. . . our comparatively rare forays into Spanish grammar were usually derailed: Any kid who muffed a line in one of the conversational dialogues we were supposed to memorize and recite (Hola Juan, cómo estás? Estoy bien, gracias, y tú?) could immediately reduce the class to chaos by shouting, “It’s not my fault, Miss Napoleon, my mind was seized by Master Control in Ship X-7!”
I didn’t know any other teachers who were as flat-out daft as old Miss Napoleon, but there were several who used their classrooms for stuff other than teaching their assigned subjects. One science teacher, who ran a private martial-arts club on weekends, gave us extra credit if we helped him organize karate tournaments; another, who doubled as the baseball coach, excused us from class to help spruce up the field.
Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of SB 6 ensures that it will remain extremely difficult, slow and costly to fire Florida teachers, Garvin writes.
When a Duval County typing teacher was caught throwing books at her students and demanding that they refer to her as Ms. God (their reluctance to do so, she explained to administrators, was proof they were possessed by evil spirits), it took three years to fire her.
A few bad teachers can do a lot of damage, Eric Hanushek, a Hoover Institution fellow, tells Garvin. “The bottom 5 to 10 percent of teachers have a dramatic impact on schools. In a school with 30 teachers, we’re talking about the bottom two or three. They’re almost always identified. Everybody knows who they are, but we do nothing about them.”