Letters to the Editor

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

What could be more interesting to a teacher than reading about a teacher who is unresponsive and insensitive, "killing a poet'' who might be musing on her own mortality? But all is not lost because this fledging poet has a mother, also a teacher, and she is all the good things her daughter's teacher is not. As a fair-to-middling teacher, I can only guess what a burden it must be to be as wonderful as Harvey-Ann Ross is and to have the heavy responsibility of being a role model for all the other less-than-wonderful teachers like me. Charles Breinin
Tonawanda, N.Y.

Under Pressure

Your article on stress ["Stressed Out,'' January] was much like many others I've read on the clinical and textbook definitions of stress. All are good and true, but they were not able to help me. Four years ago, I was a completely burned-out teacher. In January 1987, I had just about hit bottom. But I got professional help and slowly began to work my way back. I had to identify the feelings that were causing me stress, take charge of my life, and stop expecting someone to rescue me. I also had to stop doing too many things and being in too many places at once. This meant understanding why I wanted to do it all, and then simply saying "no.'' I have also learned not to react to student misbehavior with outrage but to calmly state what is unacceptable and what the consequences of misbehavior will be. Most importantly, I have learned that I have to take time to listen to my feelings and identify them. When I'm stressed, it usually means I am denying a feeling. I cannot keep going 90 mph all the time. Today, I am effectively teaching more students than ever and feel productive and happy in my work. Everything is not perfect, but I have learned a way to live with life's imperfections.
Elaine Hughes
East Junior High School
Ponca City, Okla.

Great Section

On behalf of our board of directors, I applaud your special technology section ["Teaching With Technology,'' January]. It articulates very well the need to integrate technology into classrooms across the nation. Please let your readers know about our organization, the Technology Student Association. We are a national organization for students. Since 1978, we have grown to 75,000 secondary and elementary students in 1,500 programs spanning 43 states. The annual dues are $4. The TSA also includes educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Our address: TSA, 1914 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091; (703) 860-9000. Rosanne White
Executive Director
Technology Student Association
Reston, Va.

Kudos to you on the computer articles! I've ordered a number of computer items advertised and written about in Teacher Magazine. Most have been fantastic. However, as tax time comes, readers need to be reminded that generally the purchase of computers and software by teachers is not deductible. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service has informed us that the purchase of books, videotapes, and so on by teachers is also nondeductible. (I bet my subscription to Teacher Magazine will be ruled nondeductible, too.) The IRS rationale is simple: School districts provide all of these things for teachers, so there is no reason for teachers to purchase such "luxury'' items on their own. Ric Loya
Huntington Park High School
Huntington Park, Calif.

Editor's Note: According to the IRS, subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to work may be claimed as a miscellaneous tax deduction on federal income tax returns.

Thank you for your excellent January special section, but please answer this question: Where can I go to be trained to use technology in my classroom? It amazes me how little I hear from institutes or schools on the availability of seminars, workshops, etc. I'm willing to be trained.

Becky Cook
Mathematics Teacher
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Not-So-Great Section
The author of "How To Buy A Computer'' ["Teaching With Technology,'' January] needs to do his homework better. He says you cannot run Mac software on an Amiga, but this isn't true. A-MAX not only runs Mac software but also runs it faster than a plain Mac, thanks to the Amiga's graphics chips, which take the burden off the main processor. With one of the various add-ons, you can also run MS-DOS programs.
Macey Taylor
Computer Consultant
Tucson, Ariz.

It's a pity that your magazine, which has found its way into classrooms around the country and is read by teachers, dealt with technology so superficially in its recent issue. The true value of technology is not as a teaching tool but as a learning environment for students. Why are teachers in central positions or alone in all your photographs? Why do you emphasize the position and involvement of the teacher all the time? If technology is to serve any purpose at all, it must change the role of the teacher from an information provider to a learning facilitator and information guide.

Chris Morton
Center for Information Systems and Research
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

I read your recent issue on technology and was surprised by the uniformly enthusiastic tone of all the articles. I was even more surprised by the total absence of any discussion of the health hazards of computer usage. In particular, I was astonished to find a description of model computer labs "with PCs lined up back to back like tightly packed rows of corn.'' From a health point of view, this is the worst way to line up computers. I urge you to run an article on the risks facing people in schools as a result of the rush to technology. It is essential that educators be sensitive to environmental health in their own schools.
Herbert Kohl
Point Arena, Calif.

More Hoops

I definitely related to Jeffrey Wells' article ["Jumping Through Hoops,'' November/December]. I graduated two years ago and am currently suffering through substitute teaching while seeking permanent employment. I graduated summa cum laude and was considered an excellent student teacher. I have applied to 35 school districts and had only three interviews. I saw wives and daughters of school district employees get jobs that I was passed over for. Districts also don't seem to want anyone my age (I'm over 30). Discouraged? Yes. Thinking of leaving the field? Yes. Let's begin to clean up the system. Lynn Stankowitz
North Babylon, N.Y.

Reading Jeffrey Wells' article brought back not-so-fond memories of my quest for employment after graduation in 1988. I began college under the impression that Pennsylvania was in dire need of chemistry teachers. I was a recipient of the Pennsylvania Scholars in Education Award designed to attract top students to math and science teaching. I thought finding a job after graduation would be no problem. I was awakened to the reality in my senior year. I applied for six jobs but only heard from one district, which sent me a rejection letter. I called the others and was told that the position was filled or that there had never been a position in the first place.

At the beginning of August, I began weighing other alternatives. Then, two weeks before school was to start, one of the districts with a "filled'' slot called. I got the job and began to teach a new course with no textbook or materials.

When I read about education reform, I wonder if any of it is worthwhile as long as the hiring process remains so political and mysterious. Articles about teacher shortages in Pennsylvania are starting to appear again. I wonder how many college students will be fooled they way I was.
Philip Palko
Saltsburg, Pa.

Many Thanks

Your article on Howard Middle School in Ocala, Fla., ["Rebirth,'' October] truly changed lives. The school has received more than 70 calls from around the nation, and about 30 groups have either visited or asked for details about the project. Thanks for what you've done for the hardworking people at Howard. Gloria Houston
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Childhood
College of Education
University of South Florida
Tampa, Fla.

Editor's Note: Houston helped restructure Howard Middle School's language-arts curriculum.

A Few Good Men

I appreciated your article about the reasons why men don't want to teach preschool or the early grades ["Looking For A Few Good Men,'' November/ December]. After 13 years teaching preschool and elementary school, I have discovered another important factor: the desire to get married. One would think that women would understand teaching better than men, but I have not found that to be the case. Most think I "play with kids'' for a living. Last month, a woman said, "Really? Oh, how sweet,'' when I told her I taught 2nd grade. Would an engineer have this problem?

Name withheld on request
Scotts Valley, Calif.

Vol. 02, Issue 06, Page 1-24

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories