Friday, October 16, 2020

Today in Teacher Depreciation

 When you're in the work, the general noise from the chorus of teacher devaluators can become a faint background buzz. And then something happens, and you're reminded suddenly, "Oh, yeah. That's a thing." 

Happened twice to me on Twitter in the past 24 hours. First, there was the noise surrounding the Trump thing on the teevee last night, including this little punch from Mercedes Schlapp, a senior advisor for the Trump/Pence campaign

This is obviously supposed to be an insult, but I live in western Pennsylvania, right up the road from Pittsburgh, where the international airport includes a whole display/play area devoted to one of Pittsburgh's most beloved sons, Fred Rogers (she spelled his name wrong). Mr. Rogers is a national treasure and one of the few icons who hasn't been outed as some sort of secretly terrible monster. 

Why would anybody treat him as an insult punchline? Because they respect strength and cruelty and in Mr. Rogers, they see the twin "weaknesses" of being kind and gentle and of communicating with children. Rogers was a man with gift for teaching, supporting, and talking to tiny humans--so in the Trump camp's mind he must be the furthest thing from what you'd want in a political leader. 

That's a thought that was echoed in another tweet. The "How it started How it's going" meme has been around practically forever (like, a week). It started out showing relationship growth, then life in general, and then the irony set in, with the two images showing how something went to hell, which is where this next one comes in. 

Klippenstein is a reporter at The Nation, and just in case you thought he was unironically honoring this step up, he clarified the tweet, after an appropriate response from a well-known-ish teacher:


 Ouch. I know Klippenstein is taking a dig at Buttigieg's husband, but still--teaching is lower than working for Marketworld headquarters McKinsey?! It's a job you get "stuck" with? And this is a college gig, which carries a bit more status than a K-12 job, so thank God we weren't slamming O'Rourke for ending up in one of those jobs.

As always, part of what sucks is the casual way these sorts of insults are tossed off, as if everyone (even reporters for ostensibly left-tilted publications) knows that teachers are Less Than, that it's not Real Work for important Manly Men. Certainly not anything for young folks to aspire to. 

Here's hoping tomorrow's a better day.


  1. Before slinging Fred Rogers as an insult, they might want to learn about his military career before he mustered out and began his TV show.

  2. Talking about a better day, it made my day to read about NEA's new president, Becky Pringle: