The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Warts week- I Hate Teachers!

Now that I’ve got your attention, a qualifier: I don’t hate all teachers. I’ve had many friends and acquaintances that have been teachers (my girlfriend is studying to be one now). My disdain is similar to the kind that many people have for the police(not me, mind you), I’m not against the profession itself or the people who do their job well. My problem is with the people who approach their chosen profession with the same of lack of enthusiasm and passion as the rest of us, but expect all of the admiration that they feel they’re entitled to simply because they’re teachers.

I recognize that it’s not the easiest thing to be a teacher in America. The Bush years have been especially hard for the educational system, the joke of “No Child Left Behind” fitting snugly against the “Compassionate Conservatism” one in the history textbooks of the future. Teachers are often treated like second class citizens, underpaid and over worked. Lacking the proper funds, teachers often have to fill in the deficit with their own money.

The thing is, everybody knows this. I certainly did when I tried to study to be one myself. Right or wrong, this has been the way things have always been; it’s always sucked to be a teacher.

When you went to school , did you have more of the kind of teacher that inspired you to challenge your idea about what you can do? The kind that might be portrayed in a oscar-nominated movie by Hilary Swank or Samuel L. Jackson? Or did you have the type that fled to the smoke-filled sanctuary of the teacher’s lounge at every opportunity and bitched about how little they got paid?

If you answered the second, your scholastic experience is much like mine, where an unusually large number of them were called “coach” and we were allowed to use dictionaries during spelling tests.

But those painful memories were gone until I started at the toy store.

We did a lot of work with area schools, donating thousands of dollars worth of toys, art supplies, and books every year. We would set up accounts through schools so that we could bill them for what they needed, tax free and at a discount and even set aside special school nights during the holiday season where a percentage of the proceeds go to a certain area school.

But my boss stopped short of allowing a direct teacher discount. He reasoning was much like mine, “When you become a teacher, you should know that you’re not going to make much money.” I love that man.

Nobody likes to be told, “No”. As adults we use our words and reason to deal with it instead of the old pout and stomp we employed as kids. Every one of the following rebuttals should be served in a broth of Pete’s-a-bad-guy.

“What do you mean, no teacher’s discount,? A store like this should support the community!” causing me to inform them of the information contained in the paragraph before last.
“You know, we don’t make a lot of money.” Neither do I, and I don’t get summers off.(Before I start getting defensive comments from educators and educator sympathizers, I realize that they don’t get the WHOLE summer off, just a lot more of it than I did)

“(A competitor) gives me one, I’ll just get my stuff there.” According to someone that works at my store that used to work at that competitor and from our own casual investigation, they charged 10 to 20 percent more on everything than we do. I’d try to explain this, but was often rebuked with a, “Yeah, right.”

When I’d explain the school billing policy, some would bristle even more,”You mean it would have to be for the school?” or try to convince us that a wrapped gift (that they would have already identified as for a relative to their salesperson) would be for the school. People would even be visiting from all over the country and expect that their teacher ID would be sufficient for the discount that they felt they were entitled to as educators.

So teachers: Some of you have my respect, all of you have my sympathy, but you’ll excuse me if I stop short of a round of applause.

Stay tuned for the next episode: My Abortion Adventure!

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