I read with interest and utter disgust your article about the
tribulations of Roderick Crochiere, the teacher accused of improperly
touching a student. He is a victim of circumstances whose only crime is
that he cared too much. And what a price to pay! I'm a former
elementary school teacher, and I had wanted to return to the classroom,
but your article has prompted me to reconsider. Students like Alexis,
her mother, and the school principal involved could kill the desire of
many who aspire to teaching. I hope Crochiere wins all his
I was amazed by the similarities between Crochiere's case and the
case I am now fighting against the Conroe (Texas) Board of Education.
When I found it necessary to punish one of my students for a truancy
from my class, he went before the principal of our high school where I
had taught theater arts for eight years with a story that turned into a
real "witch hunt.'' The details of the case are too involved to go into
in this letter, but suffice it to say that after 26 hours of hearings
and six hours of deliberation, the board voted to terminate me. An
appeals hearing is scheduled before the Texas Education Agency in
The letters between Margaret Metzger and Clare Fox Ringwall
["Friendly Persuasion,'' April] made me realize that teachers are real
people and they do make differences in the lives of their students. I'm
35 years young and just beginning college. I hope to become one of the
special teachers like Metzger.
It was insensitive of you to run an article on a young woman in the
Brookline, Mass., school system who is undecided on whether she wants
to teach when there are so many unemployed teachers right now who are
dying to teach, especially in the Boston area. Many of us who have
dreamt since high school of being a teacher would love to have
Ringwall's job. Please, Teacher Magazine, get real. I was appalled by
A Matter Of Taste
So, Jim Burke ["Rock Of Ages,'' March], a teacher not yet 30 years
old, has trouble dealing with some raunchy rock 'n' roll and the
raunchy role-playing that goes on at concerts. Well, Jim, I'm a
27-year-old high school teacher who has attended well over 200 rock
concerts and club performances, starting when I was in 10th grade. And
sure, I've seen some wild sights and heard some bizarre music in my
time, and I'll probably see and hear more. But I don't think it has
greatly corrupted me. I'm a responsible adult and teacher who proudly
enjoys the music and energy of concerts. I see them for pleasure and
thrills--and as creative outlets. I've even seen those wicked Cramps
you write about--four times. Each show was fun. Long live rock!
Manhattan Comprehensive Night High School
New York City
I was appalled by Burke's article but not because of the description
of the concert. I know such things take place. But I was aghast that he
allowed his students to remain at the concert. If he has such
tremendous rapport with his students, why didn't he take advantage of
it and talk to his kids about the dangers of having their minds filled
with garbage? Why didn't he explain that some things should be censored
for our own protection? When are we going to wake up and accept that we
have a responsibility not only to teach the three Rs but also to be a
role model and teach some basic principles of morality. The youth of
today are truly a generation at-risk. If we don't do something about it
now, they will be a lost generation.
For shame. One would think that the editors of a magazine for
educators would know that the past tense of the verb "to dive'' is
"dived.'' You let Perry Zirkel ["Staying Out Of Court,'' May/ June]
say, "The boy dove into the deep end....''
Society for the Preservation of the English Language and Literature Schuylerville, N.Y.
Editor's Note: Webster's New World Dictionary, the dictionary we use, lists both "dived'' and "dove'' as accepted past tense uses of the verb "to dive.''
LeRoy Hay ["From Teacher To Administrator,'' May/June] put his eggs
in the wrong basket. Education takes place in the classroom, breathed
into life by teachers who have carefully developed their educational
philosophy from experience with children. Teaching is an art that can
not be mandated from on high by administrators, no matter how good the
intentions of a 23-year teacher who teaches no more.
M. Burton Hopkins
Salem High School
Salem, New Jersey
I was enjoying the story by Tori Reynolds ["When The Faces Turn To
Masks,'' April] until I was brought up short when she said she "should
have checked to see whether [the boys] were reading at all. The
majority of the boys in this class were vocational students; English
was their only 'academic' subject.'' We vocational teachers have to put
up with narrowminded teachers who believe that all vocational classes
are just playtime. I would like to inform such teachers that we do
indeed read, write, and perform other duties. In Michigan, vocational
teachers need to take several credit hours in teaching reading. To
renew our certificates, we must take more courses than other teachers.
I suggest that educators who think vocational classes are secondrate
should visit their local vocational technical centers.
Pankow Voc-Tech Center
Mt. Clemens, Mich.
One "Notebook'' item on your research page ["Male Vs. Female,''
April] reported that there is a high percentage of male principals
because "male high school teachers consider female principals less
effective than female teachers do.'' I think the real reason for the
high percentage of male principals is that our secondary system still
moves the teacher/coach into these positions. Most coaches are male, so
as long as coaching is considered a key requirement, the trend will
Mercer Island, Wash.
Fitness And Food
In most high schools and middle schools, an excellent source of
information about foods is already available to students ["Unpleasantly
Plump,'' January] in home economics classrooms. Students there learn
skills in planning and preparing nutritious meals for themselves and
their families. An interdisciplinary approach could expand nutrition
lessons to include fitness information, encouraging a lifetime of good
Home Economics Teacher
Wyandanch Memorial High School
Providing special programs for gifted children is not an either-or
proposition ["Turning On The Bright Lights,'' February]. Fairness to
all is achieved when all students are given the opportunity to reach
their full potential.
Coordinator of Gifted
Lower Dauphin School District
Teacher Magazine welcomes letters. They must include your address and daytime phone number and may be edited for length and clarity. Mail them to: "Letters,'' Teacher Magazine, 4301 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 250, Washington, DC 20008.
Your article on the response of several teachers to the Gulf War
["History In The Making,'' March] opens a particularly juicy can of
worms. By using the popular news media instead of biased or simplistic
textbooks, concerned teachers surely risked having their students raise
questions that were "politically incorrect.'' With controversies
continuing about instruction replete with demons, obscenities, and
evolution, who wants to add another: the nature of patriotism. I wish
your report had told us what happened when the students succeeded in
their efforts to "figure it out.'' Any chance of a sequel on this
timely approach to social studies?
Department of Art Education
Ohio State University
Beneath The Surface
Jonathan Weisman's recent article ["The Apostles Of Self-Esteem,''
May/ June] only scratches the surface of an educational issue that has
been misunderstood for two decades. The greatest contribution of the
self-esteem movement will be to convince educators that students don't
care how much you know until they know how much you care. When teachers
communicate that the subject being studied is more important than the
students themselves, all but the most successful students perceive
schooling as irrelevant, unfair, fragmented, rigid, and impersonal.
Students need to be invited and motivated to put forth their best
effort as learners--to participate fully in the process of quality
education. I believe that the next decade will provide proof that
proactive self-esteem approaches can empower both teachers and students
to make schools inviting and exciting places to work and learn. This is
the goal and this will be the impact of the self-esteem movement.
Middle School Counselor