Back when I started this blog, I wondered how much of current news stories on education I was going to cover. I didn’t want to cover all of them. There’s a ton. Then I read there is a teacher in Ohio who is suing her school district because she’s afraid of children, and it makes my job a million times easier because how can I not cover this one?
Basically, the short version of the story is this: High School Spanish Teacher is asked to teach middle school after the Spanish program is cut. Spanish teacher refuses because she’s afraid of young children. Now, she’s suing the school because she was “forced to retire.” For being asked. To teach kids. But she didn’t. Because she’s afraid. Of kids. As a teacher.
Sort of like being a janitor, but you refuse to do your job because you’re afraid of mops.
I’m of two minds of this. Yes, the jump from middle school to high school is a bit of a large one. I’ve had to observe both for my classes, and while there is a difference, I don’t know that I’d qualify middle school students as “young kids”. And each presents their own challenges. Middle school students are usually full of energy, and tough to focus at times. High school students, while more subdued at times, can also be full of energy, but also tend to be driven towards a certain track. I can understand having a preference. But when you sign up to be a teacher, you really get two choices. “Elementary” which means young kids, or “Secondary” which means everything else. Ideally, I’d like to teach High School, which would include 11th or 12th grade. However, also ideally, I’d also like Emma Stone to walk into my house let me know that she needs a a date to the Oscars. (If you're reading this, Emma, call me.)
And I can empathize with having a deathly fear of something. I hate snakes. And, you’ll notice, as a result I’m not a snake charmer, nor do I spend much of my Saturday lurking around the reptile house. (Although occasionally I will rock the mic on a killer cover of “Here I Go Again.”)
The sad thing is that what it looks like to the outside world is an epic hissy fit. A teacher is asked to teach a grade she would prefer not to teach because of budget cuts. And as a result, a school system that is already stretched so thin that they cut the program she was in will now have to cut even more to pay for a lawsuit that will actually read that a teacher had to quit because she has a disabling fear of being around kids.
I don’t know that I had a point to this post today, other than to try to express how flummoxed I am at the idea that a headline you would read in “The Onion” has somehow entered the real world. I guess don’t pick a profession that is also your mortal fear?