Education Opinion

Should Nazis be Punished?

By Anthony J. Mullen — March 14, 2010 1 min read
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Coastal New England

“Mr. Mullen,” the reporter asked, “do you think bad teachers should be fired?”

The question was straight from the sensational headlines of today’s newspapers and an article in Newsweek magazine. A typical “loaded” question presented by a sanctimonious recent graduate of journalism school.

“Do you think Nazis should be punished?” I replied.

The young reporter seemed surprised by my rather direct question.

“Excuse me?” he asked.

“Do you think Nazis should be punished?” I repeated.

“I don’t understand the relevance of your question,” he said.

“Well,” I said, “at least we share a mutual concern.”

“Mr. Mullen,” he said, “I am just wondering how you feel as the national teacher of the year about bad teachers.”

“But that was not your original question.” I replied. “You asked me if I believed bad teachers should be fired.”

“It’s really the same question,” the reporter replied.

“No it’s not. The first question is either a rhetorical question or a set-up question. Which is it?”

“I assure you, Mr. Mullen, I am not trying to ‘set you up.’”

These are trying times for America’s teachers and lately my role as national teacher of the year has been changing. I have spent the past 10 months trying to promote the teaching profession and advocate for the right of every child to receive a high quality education, but now I find myself either defending my profession or being asked disingenuous questions. We are a profession surrounded by assassins. Maybe I am getting a little paranoid. I must find out how many former national teachers of the year are curled up in the fetal position eating spiders.

“Mr. Mullen? Mr. Mullen?” the reporter asked, trying to get my attention.


“I was asking you if bad teachers should be fired.”

“No you didn’t “I replied. “You asked an asinine question and I did answer your question.”

I walked away.

The opinions expressed in Road Diaries: 2009 Teacher of the Year are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.