Cult – a small group of people having practices defined by others as strange.
It has taken me many months of observation and investigation. Last Spring, I stumbled upon what I believed to be an unnatural phenomena and began documenting and investigating this strange occurrence. After endless study, I have finally come to the only logical explanation I could find…my children’s teachers have started a cult or a club at our school. I know it’s shocking and perhaps it’s a leap, but for the life of me I could not figure out what these educators were doing spending hours on end at the school. I was absolutely certain that if I went and peaked in the windows, I might find them dancing and partying, all while partaking in an orgy of gourmet foods. Or perhaps they would be riding the halls on one of those gym class scooters with parachutes strapped on their backs. However, this was not the case when I peered in the windows. No, they were sitting at their desks “pretending” to grade papers or something. I’m pretty sure they must have heard my approach. They are very good at hiding the truth and a club or cult for teachers is the only logical explanation for the behaviors I have witnessed the past few years.
I noticed that these teachers were keeping incredibly long hours. I knew they were not getting paid to be there all those hours, so what was the payoff. Teachers at our school are allowed to go home at 4:00 pm, but I noticed they were still there past 6:00 pm. One evening, I watched one of the teachers sneak out to her car after their “secret meeting”. She was actually carrying out piles of papers in a box, I think this was surely a ruse. I’m guessing she had secret club documents, because I don’t think most people take home their work. I started doing research and learned that the state of Arizona’s teacher salaries are ranked among the lowest in the nation. I did some basic calculations, and I took the average teacher salary and divided it by the number of school seat hours, after-school hours, extra-curricular event hours, continuing education hours, lesson planning, team meetings, IEP meetings, parent conferences and grading hours. According to my preliminary calculations, these teachers are making approximately $1.33 per hour. This surpasses all logic, because most people don’t work for $1.33 per hour.
I also started noticing that my kid’s teachers were attending all kinds of after school activities that were not mandatory. Just last week, I saw several teachers at a Middle School Beginner Band Concert. They were not a part of the performance or the setup. And when I questioned them they said they were there to “watch” the performance. So I repeat, these teachers went to a Middle School Beginner Band Concert because they “wanted to watch the performance”. I’m pretty sure they were actually there to secretly exchange meeting information or something, no way they would just show up to watch my kid play “Sweetly Sings the Donkey” on his trombone.
This had started me thinking that this club or cult must be a money-maker, and I started taking notice. I have noted that these teachers are always buying new things for their classrooms. At the beginning of the year, I walked in and my kid’s classrooms were decked floor to ceiling with colorful bulletin boards and school supplies were everywhere. I know for a fact they were not purchased by my school district, we don’t put that kind of money towards education. I’m guessing these teachers are making money through their secret club and they have so much extra money they spend it on their classrooms out of guilt. In fact, I noticed they also spend money on every fundraiser that students bring in the door. Really, how many scented candles and tubs of cookie dough does one person need? They are just throwing money around like it’s burning a hole in their pockets.
I’m also starting to believe this cult or club is providing them with medications or some type of mind altering meditation. I watch these teachers and they are always smiling, and they act like they genuinely enjoy the children. They have 28 kids in a 800 square foot classroom. I’m not great at math, but it seems like these teachers are severely outnumbered. Not only that, they have no where to hide. And honestly, what I can’t figure out is when do they get a break to even use the bathroom. These teachers are in meetings every moment they aren’t with the kids, I think they don’t ever pee. I spend the day with my children and I’m in the bathroom every hour for a break and I find myself hiding from them in the closet eating chocolate by 3:00 pm. These teachers are unearthly because how many adults would be smiling after spending 8 hours in a tiny room with 28 children? And yet, they do this thing and it is not natural. But if you step back and watch them, it’s like BOOM!, I see you Timmy great work on that math page, or BOOM!, I see you Kim, it looks like you are struggling to write that paragraph, I’ll sit by you and help, and all the while they still maintain control of the rest of the class. And don’t get me started on their patience level, all I need to say are two words “emergent reader”. Yes, these teachers sit and listen to the gripping plot of The Foot Book as an emergent reader sounds out the page for like 2 hours. And they answer the same questions over and over again, and they are just like, BOOM!, I see you Ryan and you read that so well, good job!, while I am over here wanting to forge my signature on Ryan’s reading log. Medication or meditation, it’s gotta be one of the two. Think about it they teach teenagers…I have two teenagers at home. I can only imagine that teaching teenagers is a little like Bill Murray from Groundhog Day stumbling into the classroom, teenage minds have been wiped clean during their nocturnal slumbering by a wash of hormones; their memories of yesterday’s lectures have disappeared like emails on a government computer.
I also have noticed they have secret statewide meetings and groups for this club or cult. The teachers in my district are always attending these meetings and calling them continuing education classes or education conferences and they spend their own money to do it and it’s always during their vacations. They also read books and speak their own language. They use words like ELL, ADD, ADHD, SST, AR, TBI, KWL and IEP and I believe this is a special code to communicate future meetings and club ideals. This elaborate cover-up must be part of the plan, because how do they have time to do this extra stuff?
So now that we know that this is happening, what do we do? What can we do as parents about this situation. I’ve thought a long time about this and have decided to support this club. At first I was skeptical, and didn’t want to drink the proverbial Kool-aid, but I’m seeing good things. Maybe this club or cult should be supported by parents. Perhaps I’ll drop off some cookies for their next after school “special meeting” and maybe I’ll send in a thank-you note because even though they must be faking it, these teachers have really made a difference in the lives of my kids. I have seen these teachers mold and influence my children. I have seen them pour into them day in and day out. These teachers are not paid well, have hard jobs and often lack resources, but they walk into their classrooms every day and love on my children. If they need a special club to get through the day, I’ll support that until we can figure out a way to pay them what they are worth. I know the heart and soul these women and men pour into our kids and for this I am so grateful. I am so thankful for teachers and the guidance and direction they provide and I say, “CLUB TEACHER” is welcome in my town. Now if I could just get them to meet during the summer….
Do you know a teacher who is part of this “special club”, share it with them and say thanks. Teachers deserve this credit. Do you have a cool story about how a teacher impacted your life? Tell us about it in the comments. Lastly, if you are a teacher, I’d like to say THANK YOU!, because you are awesome-sauce.