As a Substitute this story rang more truth than any bells in the church tower. One it is a reflection of the idea that Substitutes are of course morons who cannot teach worth shit, they need to simply be babysitters and in turn shut the fuck up so no trouble comes a knocking. The other is the idea that Teachers need to be monitored, subjected to random policies that dictate curriculum and avoid any trouble; trouble can be a child whining, another Teacher bitching and of course the monster truck driving - parents. The minute a Parent complains about anything, any logic, reasoning or discussion, support goes flying out the proverbial window.
So when I read this story today, I knew it was one of which I was too familiar. And because she is a Substitute she is easily disposed of in an expeditious manner.
I am writing my book on what it is like to Sub in major city, this story will of course be a part of it... I am writing it fiction as frankly I don't need people worrying about are they the one of whom I am speaking. Yes, it is you always about you. You wonder why kids act the way they do? Meet the apple and then the tree. I have way more loathing and disrespect for many of my professional colleagues than I do even the most obstreperous kid.
Fear the Secretary for they are the conduit of all information and in turn can be the source of all pain or consolation. Then wait for the Admin, be it the Assistant or the chief in charge, they are often functionally illiterate, utterly useless and completely hostile from the get go. I don't think in my day I have met one who knew my name or cared to. In fact when they did I knew it would not go well.
Perhaps saying it 10 times was excessive, perhaps thinking our 8th graders are mature enough to have this discussion is another. Perhaps there were no lesson plans left (although it appears it was a long term sub gig) and this is what she devised with the idea that it has been successful before and perhaps it will be again.
I have had many a nightmare in rooms where the lesson plans and instructions were so off the wall, inappropriate or non existent that you well try. And in turn it does not always end well, my last soiree into a room with incredibly volatile 7th graders teaching a class on racism showing a video of lynching with the word "nigger" used throughout did not end well. And by that I mean that I told a kid to "shut up." I have no recollection of the context of the situation but it was clear he had crossed a line for it is not something I would use as a random comment or put down; two weeks later when I came back to the school I was told by the Secretary of my use of that phrase and that she had said nothing to the Admin but wanted me to speak to the Teacher. She could not recall the context and why it was said but that it was not of issue, apparently just me using it was sufficient. But instead of talking to me via email or tracking me down was not possible, it was, however, enough to upset the dear first year Teacher to tattle on me as if I was a problem student.
In our encounter I asked why did she take this students account as record and did she ask the kid why and defend the adult and say if the Teacher felt compelled to say that what did you say that led to this? But no, she simply asked one of her good students to confirm that I said this horrific phrase and that was enough to put me in jeopardy of my job. Yes this is our current crop of Teachers, education is the most knee jerking reflexive finger pointing profession you have. The adults are often a reflection of the very behaviors that children display. Makes you wonder where they learned it.
We have had Teachers removed for their curriculum, Teachers fired for saying "nigger" in context of a lesson (but when rap stars and the President use it it is okay!!) so quit with the bullshit about unions and tenure. When you are a sub you are best to say as little as possible, as then the students will do nothing but no one will complain either
I loved the recent prosecution of a long term Sub in a Spanish class who was not only fired but Prosecuted for showing a Spanish porn video in lieu of actual lessons, as well she was neither a Credentialed Teacher (substitutes do not have to be as such in Ohio, thanks Gov Kasich!)nor Spanish endorsed is not of issue in that State or District, and that she had no supervision or guidance from anyone with regards to lessons so yes she is an idiot but really an endanger to students? Are you kidding me?
But this is no more true when you are dealing with very controversial subjects, such as sex, race, politics, history, religion, or well anything, as you will find yourself on the end of a short stick and shown the door the minute a child complains.
As for "policy" we just had a Teacher who was fired for not following policy on a field trip has now job returned to her after a week long court mediation. What I love is that it focused on the admission of having a cocktail with the chaperones and not about the boy who aggressively molested girls after informing the Teacher he was gay which gave her pause about forbidding mixed gender in rooms pre curfew. Whoops! And you wonder where all this shit about bathrooms is coming from. This does not help.
Her indiscretion could have been far worse than hearing the word "vagina" an appropriately and medically correct term, a term that I would like to read in said policy and how it is applied with regards to use and reference, but the Administrative Judge ruled that the policy was inconsistent and indiscriminately applied. So take your policy and shove it up your va jay jay.
Teacher claims she was fired for saying ‘vagina’ in discussing Georgia O’Keeffe’s art
By Peter Holley
The Washington Post
April 28 2016
Any serious discussion of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is bound to touch upon her provocative use of feminine imagery.
The great American painter is celebrated not only for her renditions of Southwestern landscapes and New York skyscrapers, but also for her iconic, colorful flowers.
Despite repeated denials by the artist prior to her death 30 years ago, critics have long held that those flowers were overt allusions to female genitalia.
Allison Wint, a substitute teacher at a middle school in Battle Creek, Mich., told the Detroit Free Press that she was hoping to provoke a thoughtful dialogue about historical interpretations of O’Keeffe’s work on Friday when she used the word “vagina” during a discussion with eighth graders.
Now, Wint claims that the verbal reference to female anatomy — a word she freely admits to having used — has cost her a job at Harper Creek Middle School.
“Yes, I did say that word; however, I was saying it in the context of art history,” she told CBS affiliate WWMT. “I wasn’t being vulgar.”
Wint told the Free Press that, in total, she estimates she used the word 10 times during the course of the lecture, prompting giggles from her students, but eventually a substantive discussion.
She told the paper that also remembers saying: “Imagine walking into a gallery when [O’Keeffe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking, ‘Am I actually seeing vaginas here; am I a pervert? I’m either a pervert or this woman was a pervert.'”
The next day, according to Wint, she was reprimanded by a school official, who noted that she had said the word “vagina … without previous approval.”
The official told her that referring to female reproductive organs without approval violated school policy, Wint told the Free Press.
She told the paper that she was instructed to gather her belongings and leave the school within one hour.
“She said there are a thousand other ways to teach controversy, and that it was inappropriate,” Wint told the Free Press.
“I was really invested in those kids,” she added. “And I miss them a lot.”
Asked to comment on Wint’s allegations, the district denied she was fired.
“Harper Creek Community Schools prides itself on being an outstanding educational institution which consistently operates with purpose, respect, and integrity,” the district said in a statement sent to The Washington Post.
“We are aware of the allegations that controversial subject matter resulted in a substitute teacher, employed through a third-party agency, not being invited back for further service. This is not the case.
“We do not shy away from controversial issues. The District did have concerns that the substitute teacher did not follow district art curriculum. These concerns, in addition to other failures, were the basis for the determination.
We work very diligently to ensure that all students, staff and contracted personnel are treated fairly with respect and privacy.”
The statement did not elaborate on the outcome of the incident.
O’Keeffe has stirred interpretive debate and speculation for decades — almost all of it centered around her flower paintings.
“There are few artists in history whose work is consistently reduced to the single question: flowers or vaginas?” the Guardian noted last month.
Ahead of an O’Keeffe retrospective at the Tate Modern in London, the Guardian wrote that the late artist “is best known for her large-scale studies of flowers, painted as if looking at them through a magnifying glass. However, since the early 1920s the vast oil works have been dogged by erotic interpretations and, despite O’Keeffe’s six decades of vigorous denial that her paintings were in any way sexual, it remains a commonly held assumption to this day.”
Achim Borchardt-Hume, the Tate Modern’s director of exhibitions, said a key reason for hosting the retrospective was to offer O’Keeffe the “multiple readings” she had been denied in the past as a female artist.
“O’Keeffe has been very much reduced to one particular body of work, which tends to be read in one particular way,” he said. “Many of the white male artists across the 20th century have the privilege of being read on multiple levels, while others – be they women or artists from other parts of the world – tend to be reduced to one conservative reading.
It’s high time that galleries and museums challenge this.”
Tanya Barson, who will curate the Tate Modern show, emphasised how much O’Keeffe had resisted the sexual reading into her paintings, which began in the 1920s but was then revived by feminists in the 1970s who took her work as a statement of female empowerment.
The Freudian theory that her flower paintings were actually close studies of the female vulva were first put forward in 1919 by Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer who first promoted O’Keeffe’s work and later became her husband.
Michigan’s Harper Creek district encompasses one high school, one middle school and three elementary schools.
District officials sent WWMT a quote from a school handbook that says teachers are required to get approval before discussing any topic related to reproductive health.
Wint told the station she was unaware of the policy. She said she’d been substitute-teaching at Harper Creek Middle School since January and claims she’d had no other disciplinary issues.
“They were entirely within their right to remove me,” she told WWMT. “However, I was not aware of this policy beforehand.”