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I Am Not A Hero Teacher


I Am Not A Hero Teacher

Steven Singer

I’m sorry.

I am not a hero teacher.

I am not stronger than a locomotive.

I cannot jump tall ignorance in a single bound.

I am not faster than a tax-cutting zealot.

Up in the air – it’s a bird, it’s a plane, but it’s certainly not a teacher because we can’t fly.

I am not bullet proof.


You make many valid points. Teaching isn’t easy. But who should decide how and what kids learn? A union? School funding isn’t being cut - we spend more that we ever have on schooling. (ironically a higher and higher percentage of that goes to teachers and administrators salaries and pensions). Why should someone like you bust your butt while a teacher down the hall isn’t giving the same effort? And the people most qualified to judge that can’t take action because of a union?


Sorry Jim - Married to teacher for 40 years - this heartfelt story and your only take away is the single line about a union? Grow up please! I will never understand the dedication that good teachers bring to their students. Had to laugh about your money and pension comments - Here in Indiana, teachers are leaving in droves due to lack of pay or pension increases (both essentially frozen since 2002). Bulk of money going to administration and outside technology companies (and of course vouchers / charters). Thanks for sticking to it Steven, we need many more teachers like you.


No one is telling you to “be Superman”. Self-pity doesn’t become anyone. Especially if, as you say, you only have 9% of the impact on what a child learns.

Teachers aren’t the only ones who need time to do their work, rest at the end of day or a week. Or have bosses telling them how to do their job. By the same token, most other people don’t get 3 months plus of vacation in the course of the year. Most people don’t have tenure so they can’t be fired, even if they don’t do their job well.

If you don’t like it, find another line of work.


Teachers unions are a huge part of the problem. Not the whole problem. But a large part.


Building without bricks


Thank you, Steven Singer, and God bless you!..May God bless you mightily!


Form a union and fight for better working conditions on your own account in your own profession. This teacher speaks for many, dare I say most, public school teachers who want to and are prepared to do much more for their students. Most ethical workers approach their jobs the same way he does. It isn’t whining when you want and work hard for a better outcome for everyone concerned and instead are bludgeoned by inadequately designed work conditions. He’s not whining; he’s screaming bloody murder for some badly needed HELP! When Americans stop bludgeoning public school teachers and start listening, that’s when they’ll quit screaming bloody murder for HELP! They’re doing it because they care about children, about the quality of their education, and the future of this democracy.


You got that right! Thanks for a great reply.


Stephan Singer, thank you from another teacher for your heart-felt words of wisdom. I joined your blog today.

If you are reading these comments you have heard from Common Dreams’ two newest trolls. I’m guessing from their scripted responses that neither bothered to read your entire post. So it goes…

Stay strong! And keep telling it like it is!


Thank you!


Beautifully stated Mr. Singer… We certainly need to support you and your fellows in all ways.


bummer, I take it you don’t have/didn’t have children


that last comment was meant for WW Smith


When will gifted teachers such as yourself require your union to de-emphasize job protectionism and instead focus on improving the quality of instruction amongst all your colleagues? This will be a painful step, but until you take it, teachers will not reach the professional status that we all would like to see. For decades our schools have turned out individuals who are too incurious to participate in democracy–and both political parties take advantage of that fact. There are great teachers; I have seen and worked with them. But there are also many teachers who are not well qualified. This is your challenge, and it would be the best way to beat back the charter and privatization movements, both of which are attempts to fill the vacuum created by union resistance to professionalism.


Teachers who are not “qualified” according to you sometimes leave the profession, and do not get tenure.


And many of them hang on for decades. The worst example is the so-called “rubber room” in the NYC school system

Not every long-serving teacher is good, or dedicated. Some of them are placeholders, just like in any other organization. Teachers are no more saints or sinners than any other profession.


They sure are picked on more. Notice the banksters who crashed the economy rarely if ever get put down- in fact they are applauded. They never even went to trial.