March 24, 2005

Homeschooling just looks better and better

This article is hilarious, in that "holy cow!" kind of way. Best quote:

The fact that the scheme progressed as far as it did indicates "inadequate" safeguards against fraud in the city's certification process, said Schools Investigator Richard Condon.

Ya think?

It brings to mind my favorite public school horror story. Senior year I had a "free period" or extra elective, because I had already fulfilled all my course requirements. So some friends and I decided to take typing, because hey! It filled the time, didn't require homework, and had the slackest teacher at the school.

I realized WHY the teacher was so slack about 15 minutes into the first class--she was drunk. REALLY drunk. Now this was my sixth period class, so she'd had all day to get sauced, but still. It was 1:30 in the afternoon and I was stuck in a classroom with a wobbling, blearily smiling woman who reeked of whiskey and kept making excuses to sip from her thermos of "coffee." Toward the end of the semester she got rid of the thermos and just strolled around the classroom with a mug of the palest brown "coffee" I'd ever seen. It was like being in a National Lampoon version of high school, except the joke was on us.

Needless to say, no one did any work and we all thought we were really pulling one over on "the man" (our principal) by not saying anything. Our high school's principal was perhaps the biggest jerk ever in the history of high schools, primarily because he seemed determined to use his position to make sure that no one was ever allowed to be anything other than average, ever (think Syndrome from The Incredibles, but with worse hair). There were no superlatives allowed in our yearbooks, no homecoming queen or king, no prom king or queen, and God forbid you were in the AP courses--he really seemed to hate smart kids. I guess being principal was his revenge for all the wedgies he got when he was in school. To this day mentioning his name makes my mom's (a teacher herself, but not at his school) head explode with rage.

But back to the typing teacher. She was drunk every. single. day. I wonder how she made it home. Oddly enough, no one in any of her classes (not just ours) reported her--I don't know if that says more about the fact that 17-year olds are oblivious, unaware of real world consequences for that sort of behavior, or just suffering from really low expectations concerning their education.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at March 24, 2005 11:56 AM

If she drinks more when she gets home, probably she's got an alcohol problem. Otherwise is might just be the body's defense mechanism.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at March 24, 2005 03:09 PM

Our high school's principal was perhaps the biggest jerk ever in the history of high schools

Whoa! O hyperbolic one. There's some really serious competition for the honor out there....

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at March 24, 2005 05:17 PM

Recently finished watching the seven-season run of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD. Naturally, I thought of Principal Snyder.

Posted by: Bruce Lagasse at March 24, 2005 05:54 PM

Oddly enough, I too immediately flashed to Principal Snyder from Buffy right away.

My H.S. principal wasn't mediocre. He was a slimey politico who ignored us all unless we interfered with his plans to become superintendent.

The truly sad part is that my H.S. principal was also my father's H.S. principal.

Guess he wasn't too good of a politico.

And I have two magic words for ya, BAW.

Private school.

Yes, they can be expensive, but sometimes it is more attractive to be financial stretched instead of worrying over what is going on in the public school.

But my fingers are crossed that you live in a good school district. Wish I could say the same about our middle and high schools where we live.

Posted by: di at March 24, 2005 07:49 PM


Just out of idle curiosity, did you learn how to type? I always considered typing one of the most valuable classes I took during high school.

Posted by: Bruce Lagasse at March 24, 2005 08:54 PM

You know, it sounds more likely to me that everybody at your high school knew about that teacher's problem and everybody turned a blind eye. I know it happened at my high school. Any teacher who had been there for a certain number of years was allowed to get away with anything they wanted. Gotta love small towns.

Posted by: Julianne at March 24, 2005 08:59 PM

I'm still trying to figure out how that principal had worse hair than Syndrome.

Posted by: Michael at March 25, 2005 08:34 AM

My experience was the 7th grade math teacher who kept sipping "cough syrup". He wasn't bleary, but maybe I just had him too early in the morning.

On the other hand, my principal was a FABULOUS man who worked hard to try to have every student in the school participate in something and be recognized for (legitimate) achievements (no false self-esteem). He was a jewel.

I'm with di - hope your public schools are good but if not, better to make some sacrifices and put The Boy in private, even if it's just for a couple of years - getting them started out right and reading well is the big thing, IMHO. Cheers!

Posted by: Sheryl at March 25, 2005 08:41 AM

My eighth-grade algebra teacher was a lush. Even though I never saw him sipping from a flask or anything I was sure he tied one on the minute he got up in the morning. My father (also a teacher, in another junior high) was my informant: he knew the man. For my father, the original six-pack-per-day man, to pronounce someone an alcoholic meant someone had a serious problem.

Anyway, the strange thing was he was a real popular teacher. All the kids loved him; except me, I thought he was incredibly boring. He would slur and drawl on and on about nothing in particular. Maybe I was used to a higher quality of drunk (at the time my father was careful not to drink so much that he could not articulate), but in any case I failed algebra.

Apropos of nothing, I went to school back in the days when the teacher's lounge was the defacto Smoking Room of the school. Every time the door of a teacher's lounge in any school I went to would open a cloud of visible smoke would roll out, and the smell permeated the corridor. Ah, old days...

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 26, 2005 10:18 AM

In Ohio, teachers are paid more money if they get a master's degree. I used to be the person at one Ohio university who was in charge of verifying that all master and Ph.D. candidates had met their requirements before granting the degree. I could tell you stories about our College of Education faculty, and the public school teachers I had to deal with, that would positively curl your hair.

Posted by: RebeccaH at March 27, 2005 06:17 PM

My high-school physics teacher had a "coffee" thermos with her all day; but I went to school in Miami, Florida. Even with the heat, and the fact that our building was as poorly air-conditioned as could be legal, she was glazed over 80% of the time... This woman made me lecture on elastic vs. inelastic collisions, the day I returned to school from wrecking a car (and yes, that's inelastic for the gooeks among us).

Posted by: Joshua Sasmor at March 28, 2005 01:02 PM