Mailvox: Miss Manners would approve

LS spins it differently:

It was with clenched teeth that I read your column entitled, “Idiots at the Chalkboard,” as I am sickened by the constant labeling of teachers as idiots. While you redeemed yourself at the end with your “teaching’s best and brightest” comment, and hinted at the root of the public education crisis, namely the system itself, one still finishes reading your column with a “teachers are stupid” aftertaste lingering in his or her mouth. Here I must make a correction. These idiots of whom you write are not teachers.

As one of those people who escaped the public schools of America after determining that I could not emotionally endure the system for an additional twenty-five years, I now work with English language learners overseas. Even my non-native English speaking students could tell you that the people referred to as teachers in your column are not teachers at all. My second language learners know that a dancer is someone who dances. They know that a runner is someone who runs. They know that a driver is someone who drives, and they know that a teacher is someone who teaches.

Are the people who are given teaching assignments in America’s public schools actually teaching? You know as well as I do that the majority are not. Please do not tarnish one of the most beautiful words of the English language, teacher, by inaccurately using it to label vast numbers of public school employees.

That’s a fair point, but then, LS and everyone else knew perfectly well to whom I was referring in today’s column. I happen to believe that it’s only polite to refer to people as they’d prefer to be known, so when I’m telling an NEA member who spends nine months out of the year brainwashing helpless young children sentenced to the propaganda factories by a combination of state law and uncaring parents that she is a minor, moronic cog in an evil system designed to intellectually destroy the innocent, I do try to do her the courtesy of addressing her as a so-called “teacher”.