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From a Teacher …

From a Teacher …
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First, let me say, “forgive me,” to anyone who was at Poison Girl last Thursday. You have heard some of this before.

I am a teacher.

A week ago, the principal of my school came into my room and observed my classroom. Afterward, he sent me a review telling me what a great teacher I was, what a great rapport I had with my students and to keep up the great work. A month or so before that, my students voted me Teacher of the Six Weeks. One of them even said that I “was a G,” which I’m pretty sure stood for “gangsta.” I don’t say all of this to brag. I say it because last week that same principal had to look me in the eyes and tell me that, because of budget cuts, all first-year teachers would not be offered a contract for next year. I’m a first year teacher, so I wouldn’t be getting a contract. (Even though I’m a “G.”)

Now, I am no stranger to dreams. I am a journalist who has written for many local publications around town. I have covered a ton of bands, painters, artists, ballerinas, bar owners, writers, comedians, actors, poets, chefs and many more. I did this because I like the thought of helping people chase their dreams – whatever they may be. I even wrote about the editor of this very paper because I was excited to be a part of his dream to bring bands and musicians from all over the world to a festival in Houston. (And he did it! And he’ll do it again on June 4 and 5!) But now, I need some help with my lifelong dream.

I have always known that I was meant to be a teacher. And I’m a damn good one. I don’t come to you as someone who turned to teaching because there was nothing else for me. I don’t come to you as a teacher who isn’t passionate and compassionate about teaching students. I come to you as a teacher who wants to spend the rest of her life showing kids that they can understand The Odyssey and Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot. A teacher who wants to show students that the hardest part about writing is just realizing that you can do it! A teacher who wants to spend the rest of her life telling kids “My name is Ms. Rhodes, not Miss!” But I am not just here for myself.

I am here on behalf of all the teachers who love teaching and not to mention all the students that deserve to keep those teachers in their classrooms. Currently, the Texas legislator is creating a budget that will kick many wonderful teachers out of their classrooms. It’s a sad moment in our history when good teachers – good public servants – are worried about keeping their jobs.

With all that said, I would encourage everyone to go to www.savetxschools.org and send a letter or an e-mail to your local senator or state representative to say “Hey, education is something that affects us more than voter ID cards or freeways around Houston. Students deserve to have teachers that care about their education, teachers that are dedicated to their profession.” If you’re planning on being in Austin for SXSW, drop by the capitol on Saturday, March 12 from noon to 2 p.m. and show your support at the Save Texas Schools Rally.

I ask this of anyone who has had a great teacher (or even a bad one.) I ask this of anyone who believes that every student has a right to have a great teacher. But I especially ask it of anyone who has ever sent me, Dusti Rhodes, an e-mail or a text message that read “Hey Dusti, do you think you could help me with getting the word out on x, y, or z.” If I did, consider this the favor you said you would return.

Academically Yours,
Dusti Rhodes

8 Responses to From a Teacher …

  1. Wiley March 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    The important part to remember here is that since the inception of the Federal Department of “Education” was brought into existence in 1979, not only have schools across the country become worse, but have also had huge shortfalls in funding. This is mostly due to standardized testing (which I absolutely detest) to see which states get a piece of the federal pie. Teachers are not allowed to teach kids as they see fit anymore. They have to follow the “curriculum” and all it is doing is destroying kids imaginations and creativity. Education standards should be set at state and/or local levels. It’s absolutely horrible what the Dept. of Education has done over the last 31 years and all it has done and will continue to do is make things worse.
    Here’s a girl who tells it like it is about the education system in the U.S.

  2. Auboni Cordolino March 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Seriously….Send me your resume or contact information. Or check out this link. http://kipphouston.org/careers/teacher-profiles

  3. Auboni Cordolino March 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Seriously….Send me your resume or contact information.

  4. Auboni Cordolino March 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    This story breaks my heart. I started working for KIPP in Houston 2 years ago as a clinical assistant and I have the most respect for teachers and what they do! Its amazing how much you can impact a child’s life. You sound extremely passionate about your work and how you affect the lives of children. You need to come on over to KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program)!!!! Ill personally let my school leader know because we need more teachers like you to stay around!! In fact, all of the parents have been invited out March 8th to go to the capital to discuss this issue on the budget cuts that are happening here in Texas.

  5. Gwynn March 2, 2011 at 8:30 am

    If it would have been possible to fire non-first year teachers who are terrible at their jobs and who do not at all care about teaching their students, maybe teachers like you will actually have a chance to teach. So much money and opportunity wasted on bad teachers…

  6. Another teacher March 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I’m glad you wrote this, but I must point out, you meant the Texas legislature, not the Texas legislator…right?

  7. Jennifer March 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    In Korea, teachers are considered “nation builders”. Teachers all across the US need to be given the same respect.

  8. Jason Smith March 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

    All the musicians celebrated on this website and others like it had to start somewhere. And the music and art teachers are often the first to go when cuts get made. I have been at my school for 12 years and I love teaching. I don’t get paid much compared to friends of mine in “middle management”, but it’s a living (enough to afford a house with my wife’s salary as well) and I love to think that I’m making a difference in kids’ lives. Plus it’s a lot of fun to play music and sing all day. Sometimes I think they’re going to figure out that I should be paying them. But of course sometimes there is quite a bit of stress involved. My thoughts are with you, Dusti (we’ve met a few times at various concerts). I don’t know if my school will have any openings in your expertise, but if we do I’ll find you for sure.

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