File this under “You Gotta Be F**king Kidding Me.”

Well, folks, once again, it’s Teacher Depreciation Week in America.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan seems to have learned a lesson from last year, when his open letter to teachers on the EdWeek Blog occasioned a volley of letters from insulted teachers.  So this year, his initiative is much more low key.  He’s asking us all to tweet a memory of a favorite teacher and add the hashtag #ThankaTeacher.

Gee, thanks Arne!  I will be appreciated by former students on Twitter!  Usually the only tweets about me are insults from my current students when I give them a surprise quiz, or forbid them from leaving the classroom to go meet a boyfriend in the hall!

The stunningly original and creative Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Deb Gist has devised her own clever way to appreciate teachers.  It must have come from the immensity of her own brain, because it bears no resemblance to anyone else’s initiative…  OK, so here’s her email:

From: “Gist, Deborah” <Deborah.Gist@ride.ri.gov>
Date: May 4, 2012 5:15:54 PM EDT
To: “Jamroz, Hayley” <Hayley.Jamroz@ride.ri.gov>
Subject: Teacher Appreciation Week – I Need Your Help

Dear Friend of Education,

Next week (May 7th – May 11th) is Teacher Appreciation Week, I am asking you to help me spread the word about the incredible work of teachers.  I’m sure you remember a great teacher who inspired you, encouraged you, or changed our life.

I will be seeing you at an event next week, and I was hoping you could help me out by talking about a teacher that changed your life.

When our paths cross, I would like you to answer the question: “Who is the teacher your changed your life and why?”  I’ll record your response on my iPhone and I’ll post it to my Facebook page and on the RIDE website.

Thank you so much for helping me to share this message as we celebrate and appreciate the excellent work of Rhode Island teachers.



Wow!  You’ll record it on your iPhone!  That’s just swell, Deb!  And even post it on your Facebook page, so all 4,982 of your friends can see it!  (Good thing we have Facebook to give us an inflated sense of our friends…)  You know, I bet you could expand this thing with the iPhone.  Wait, I have it—what if you gave iPhones to grossly overpaid, inexperienced consultants, so they could go into classrooms and record lessons and evaluate teachers?  I bet there’s even a function where you could pull up Student Achievement Data (but really, this is not the same as test scores…) and match it with the teacher!  I bet teachers would feel REALLY APPRECIATED if they could just be evaluated more often.  MAYBE…  Maybe you could even get a GRANT to go with this idea!  We could call it something bold and creative, like “Race to the Top”.  OMG, this could be big!  RHODE ISLAND IS LEADING THE WAY!

OK, sorry for that outburst.  I got a little carried away.

Back at my little old high school, we didn’t even get the fancy pens this year.  You know, budget cuts and all.  Next year will be better though, I’m sure of it.  More of us will be appreciated by the administration via the use of the pink slip.  They’ll move our school from a 7-period to a 6-period schedule, and the electives will be catastrophically amputated.  But they say that the students will then get more time to focus on the core subjects, like ELA and math, in preparation for the NECAP (and later on, PARCC) tests.  I’m sure they’ll appreciate those teachers that survive the cuts just that much more.


About riredteacher

I'm a foreign language teacher and socialist in Rhode Island.
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