Monday, April 28, 2014

How Teachers Feel About Arne Duncan

A little while ago I wrote an imaginary letter to President Obama stating You Are Not My Education President. Today I read an article in an online newspaper, a letter to Arne Duncan by David Reber at the Topeka Examiner. It's good and says everything I'd want to say. So I will publish it here with a link to the page online. Check it out. Arne Duncan is totally unqualified to be in charge of education for the United States.

Mr. Duncan,

I read your Teacher Appreciation Week letter to teachers, and had at first decided not to respond. Upon further thought, I realized I do have a few things to say.

I’ll begin with a small sample of relevant adjectives just to get them out of the way: condescending, arrogant, insulting, misleading, patronizing, egotistic, supercilious, haughty, insolent, peremptory, cavalier, imperious, conceited, contemptuous, pompous, audacious, brazen, insincere, superficial, contrived, garish, hollow, pedantic, shallow, swindling, boorish, predictable, duplicitous, pitchy, obtuse, banal, scheming, hackneyed, and quotidian. Again, it’s just a small sample; but since your attention to teacher input is minimal, I wanted to put a lot into the first paragraph.

Your lead sentence, “I have worked in education for much of my life”, immediately establishes your tone of condescension; for your 20-year “education” career lacks even one day as a classroom teacher. You, Mr. Duncan, are the poster-child for the prevailing attitude in corporate-style education reform: that the number one prerequisite for educational expertise is never having been a teacher. Your stated goal is that teachers be “…treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society.”


How many other professionals are the last ones consulted about their own profession; and are then summarily ignored when policy decisions are made? How many other professionals are so distrusted that sweeping federal legislation is passed to “force” them to do their jobs? And what dignities did you award teachers when you publicly praised the mass firing of teachers in Rhode Island?

You acknowledge teacher’s concerns about No Child Left Behind, yet you continue touting the same old rhetoric: “In today’s economy, there is no acceptable dropout rate, and we rightly expect all children – English-language learners, students with disabilities, and children of poverty - to learn and succeed.”

What other professions are held to impossible standards of perfection? Do we demand that police officers eliminate all crime, or that doctors cure all patients? Of course we don’t.

There are no parallel claims of “in today’s society, there is no acceptable crime rate”, or “we rightly expect all patients – those with end-stage cancers, heart failure, and multiple gunshot wounds – to thrive into old age.” When it comes to other professions, respect and common sense prevail. Your condescension continues with “developing better assessments so [teachers] will have useful information to guide instruction…” Excuse me, but I am a skilled, experienced, and licensed professional. I don’t need an outsourced standardized test – marketed by people who haven’t set foot in my school – to tell me how my students are doing. I know how my students are doing because I work directly with them. I learn their strengths and weaknesses through first-hand experience, and I know how to tailor instruction to meet each student’s needs. To suggest otherwise insults both me and my profession.

You want to “…restore the status of the teaching profession...” Mr. Duncan, you built your career defiling the teaching profession. Your signature effort, Race to the Top, is the largest de-professionalizing, demoralizing, sweeter-carrot-and-sharper-stick public education policy in U.S. history. You literally bribed cash-starved states to enshrine in statute the very reforms teachers have spoken against.

You imply that teachers are the bottom-feeders among academics. You want more of “America’s top college students” to enter the profession. If by “top college students” you mean those with high GPA’s from prestigious, pricey schools then the answer is simple: a five-fold increase in teaching salaries. You see, Mr. Duncan, those “top” college students come largely from our nation’s wealthiest families. They simply will not spend a fortune on an elite college education to pursue a 500% drop in socioeconomic status relative to their parents.

You assume that “top” college students automatically make better teachers. How, exactly, will a 21-year-old, silver-spoon-fed ivy-league graduate establish rapport with inner-city kids? You think they’d be better at it than an experienced teacher from a working-class family, with their own rough edges or checkered past, who can actually relate to those kids? Your ignorance of human nature is astounding.

As to your concluding sentence, “I hear you, I value you, and I respect you”; no, you don’t, and you don’t, and you don’t. In fact, I don’t believe you even wrote this letter for teachers. I think you sense a shift in public opinion. Parents are starting to see through the fa├žade; and recognize the privatization and for-profit education reform movement for what it is. And they’ve begun to organize – Parents Across America, is one example.

To save yourself, you need to reinforce the illusion that you’re doing what’s best for public education. So you play nice with teachers for one day - not for the teachers but for your public audience. You also need to reassure those who leverage their wealth – and have clearly bought your loyalties – that you’re still on their side. Your letter is riddled with all the right buzzwords and catch phrases to do just that:

“…to change and improve federal law to invest in teachers” sounds like a wink-nod to TFA that federal dollars are headed their way.

“…sophisticated assessment that measures individual student growth” can be nothing other than value-added standardized testing; a mill-stone for teachers but a boon to the for-profit testing industry.

“…transform teaching from the factory model…to one built for the information age” alludes to systemic replacement of living teachers with virtual ones – bolstering the near monopoly of one software giant who believes the “babysitting” function of public schools is the only reason not to go 100% virtual.

“…recognize and reward great teaching” is stale code for “merit pay”; which is stale code for “bribe for test scores”; which comes down to “justification to pay most teachers less.” Lower teacher salaries, in turn, will free up money for standardized tests, new computer software, and other profitable pursuits.

No doubt some will dismiss what I’ve said as paranoid delusion. What they call paranoia I call paying attention. Mr. Duncan, teachers hear what you say. We also watch what you do, and we are paying attention. Working with kids every day, our baloney-detectors are in fine form. We’ve heard the double-speak before; we don’t believe the dog ate your homework. Coming from children, double-speak is expected and it provides important teachable moments. Coming from adults, it’s just sad.

Despite our best efforts, some folks never outgrow their disingenuous, manipulative, self-serving approach to life. Of that, Mr. Duncan, you are a shining example.

Letter by David Reber, Topeka K-12 Examiner

It can be found online here:

Still learning!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Real Problem with NCLB

In an education article in the online newspaper at, I found a profound statement on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) by Anita Kulick, President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting. She stated:

After 12 years and billions of dollars invested, it didn’t accomplish the most important goal:

  • One hundred percent of all students in 100 percent of all public schools become proficient in reading/language arts and mathematics – by spring 2014!

It’s a pleasant surprise to find opinions such as that being touted in a big city online newspaper. For such a long time, the teacher’s voice has been one “crying in the wilderness.”  As far back as the inception of NCLB, teachers have been warning that the basic premise behind that 100% goal was impossible, but for the past dozen years no one has listened. It still holds true with Race to the Top (RttT). There are many reasons why a 100% proficiency goal is unattainable: 1) We do not live in Lake Woebegone where all children are above average; 2) There are students in our schools with profound disabilities who will never be able to show proficiency at grade level; 3) English Language Learners (ELL) are expected to show proficiency on a test in English before they are English-proficient themselves; 4) Schools did not all start from the same place where test scores are concerned and cannot all be expected to reach the same standard at the same time; 5) Standardized tests are not necessarily the best way to assess whether the student has learned what they were supposed to learn; and 6) Using test scores to evaluate teachers is a misuse of statistics, as the tests were not designed to measure teacher effectiveness, but how a student performs.
1) In fact, as measured by standardized tests, that 100% goal is definitely impossible. Lake Woebegone, after all, is a fictional utopia. All of the children cannot be above average where standardized testing is concerned. When a question on such a test is answered correctly by too many test-takers, it is stricken and replaced with something else that is supposedly harder. Statistically speaking, there will never be a standardized test where everyone scores at a proficient level because that would be considered a failed test by the test-makers, and therefore scrapped. The constructors of these tests still operate by the bell-shaped curve, where there are a few will score Advanced, many will score Proficient, most will score Basic, and a few will score Below Basic. There will always be students who are labeled Below Basic on these tests, no matter how much they know.
This puts the Portfolio Model of school “reform” in the failed NCLB category as far as I am concerned. This model takes the bottom 5% or 10% of the schools, according to the standardized tests, as dissolves them, ostensibly to allow the students to attend better schools and get rid of the “bad” teachers. This is an idea that is typically used on Wall Street when examining stock market portfolios. Mark Gleason, head of the Philadelphia Schools Partnership (PSP), and a former journalist and publisher in New York, recently addressed the AERA conference in Philadelphia where he described the Portfolio Model of reform as “dumping the losers.” It might work for Wall Street, but it won’t work for education. Think about it, every year 5% of the schools get replaced, as judged by the scores on a standardized test, not by observations of successful programs in the schools. As this goes on, there will come a time when only schools who can make Adequate Yearly Progress are left, but since there will always be a bottom 5%, some will have to be closed, despite the success of the schools. There will always be some school at the bottom, even when they are all charter schools. But by that time, the public school system will have been replaced by for-profit enterprises. The Portfolio Model is the death of the public school system. The whole premise is a disaster and will only result in the entire school district turned into charter schools, like New Orleans. The quality of New Orleans schools has not improved because the majority of its public schools were replaced by charters. The much-touted charter school renaissance has not happened. New Orleans school kids are still unenlightened; they still score at the bottom.

2) Who are the students who score at the bottom? Schools which are situated in high poverty neighborhoods and those schools with higher than average enrollments of students who need Special Ed or English Language Learners (ELL) services. Some schools in any school district have a higher than normal concentration of children with disabilities. The children could have physical limitations, mental illnesses, communication disorders, learning disabilities, or simply insufficient grasp of the English Language.
Public schools are required to educate children in all of these categories. Charter schools, not so much. In my city, in order to get a student tested for Special Ed services, their un-named disability must cause them to perform at least 2 years below grade level. Then, if they score at a certain level on the psychological test, they are  deemed in need of Special Ed services and an Individualized Educational Prescription is written. These IEPs are the foundation of the student’s instruction at school. The IEP's charge to the teacher is to instruct the kids at the level at which they are performing, not their grade level, with the idea that this will help them learn the basics they missed and eventually lead to total instruction on grade level. This is an honorable goal and is sometimes the case, but not most of the time. There have been instances where children have “seen the light” and suddenly can go at a faster pace, which will lead them out of the specialized classes. But some learning disabilities are such that they cannot be overcome, and to expect a child who is 2 or more years behind, to take a grade level test with very few accommodations and pass at a proficient level is ridiculous.
With few allowed accommodations during the tests, children with certain physical disabilities have a problem when they are testing at the computer, or when doing the writing assessment. Children with speech disorders or pervasive developmental delays are expected to take the same grade level tests as their peers without disabilities, even when their communication skills are very limited. Even students who are in the hospital with life-threatening illnesses are still expected to take the tests. One recent example of this is the child who was in hospice in Florida, unable to communicate, whose teacher had to attempt to administer the test to him because it was a state requirement and he was not exempt. Or the recent case in Oklahoma where the children's parents were killed that week and the state told the school district the children still had to take the test. Luckily, the school district's administrator realized how absurd this was and made the exemption herself, without the state's approval.

3) English Language Learners are at a special disadvantage because the state makes them take the tests after only having been in the United States for 1 year. Imagine sitting in a classroom in Korea, at age 10, where the alphabet bears no resemblance to the one you first learned, and where you have very limited skills in reading and writing in that language after only 1 year. Now imagine having to take a test that uses idioms, irony, metaphors, and double negatives and being expected to take it at your grade level, not your Korean Proficiency level. Even math tests ask tricky questions and expect you to explain your answers. These ELL kids get so frustrated and the scores indicate they are doing very poorly, when that may not be the reality at all. Often they give up fairly quickly and half-heartedly bubble in any old answers. This is one reason why some charter schools show miraculous improvement over public schools, they are more likely to have lower concentrations of special ed or ELL students, and are likely to counsel out students with emotional or behavior problems.

4) It is no surprise that students in poor neighborhoods score lower than in wealthy neighborhoods. Study after study has shown that poverty has the most detrimental effect on the academic well-being of a child. Those statistics can be proven in any large city with a disparity of income level, or any state with areas of high and low poverty levels. This is not because of the quality of the teachers or the principal or the parents, it is because high poverty puts high stressors on everyone who lives there. A recent study claimed that lack of money, poor housing, no healthcare and the resulting violence in these neighborhoods all contribute to a condition very similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Schools in these areas have to address the survival, medical and emotional issues of the students in order to begin to make a dent in the academic hole they have to climb out of. Unless you make simple, sufficient, non-traumatic living a priority, academic goals will always be extremely difficult to attain, including scoring at a proficient level on a standardized test. Schools that accept all students regardless of income, disability or language proficiency will always score lower than schools with low concentrations of special students and those in high-income areas.

5) Putting income levels, disabilities, language proficiency, and the bell-shaped curve behind us, there are much better ways to evaluate the job that the school are doing than a standardized test. Graduation rates, success rates in higher education institutions, parental satisfaction surveys, student interviews, projects, observations of teachers, principals and students, report card grades, and AP exam offerings are many of the ways a person can evaluate whether a school is a good one. Improving the graduation and higher education/job attainment success rates of students, creating and maintaining an atmosphere of collegiality, creativity, and trust between and among students, teachers, and administration may be the best method to judge a school. True learning and critical thinking can only take place in an atmosphere described above. If the atmosphere and needed social services are provided and maintained, schools should be able to begin to consistently better the academic state of their students, measuring their abilities by what they can do and show that they’ve learned.

6) Using many different measures is better than using one to determine a student’s success. Test scores only measure what the students know on one certain day out of 180 days. The tests were not designed, nor do they pretend to be able, to predict the value and effectiveness of the students’ teachers. Because they were not designed to measure the teacher’s effectiveness, they should not be used as an evaluative measure for teachers. The evaluative formulas of VAM or PVAAS are poor uses of mathematics to quantify and non-quantifiable set of characteristics. If you observe a good teacher, you will not need a formula to tell you, you will be able to figure it out right away. Same with a bad teacher. Standardized test results of students will not tell you 10% of what you can observe in a day.

A sensible use of test scores from the State College School District here in Pennsylvania can be found here -

Standardized tests are a hallmark of the NCLB and RttT acts. Theses laws initiated an emphasis on standardized testing that has mushroomed out of control. Until we put the role of standardized testing back where it belongs - only measuring what a student knows on one particular day – public schools will bear the unfortunate and damaging burden of having to prove their worth with inappropriate measures.

Get back to basics. First, fairly fund public schools, and then observe, discuss, gather evidence. Only then can you figure out whether a school and its students are doing a great job.

Still learning!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Teachers

I lost a valued colleague about 6-7 years ago. He wasn’t at our school more than a decade, but he made a lasting impact. Jon was a born teacher. When he arrived at our inner-city school, he was assigned to the 4th grade class across the hall from me. He brought fresh air into the building and new ideas. His enthusiasm was contagious and all of us on the third floor enjoyed his presence and respected his tenacity, talent and wisdom. As a male, he taught me methods to make the class more active for the boys in my room. He made learning into a game in many instances and the boys in his room rose to the occasion to be attentive and learn. We need more males in the elementary classrooms.

Jon had a sense of humor and much patience. Really, he was exactly what we needed at the time we needed it on the third floor of our little school. Most of us had been teaching 20 years and had perhaps fallen into a comfortable way of teaching. But Jon made us examine how we were instructing our young mean and made a challenge he didn’t know he issued. We all looked at our instruction and perhaps tweaked it here and there to step it up. He always had great suggestions at staff and grade group meetings and was always eager to try any suggestions we had for him. I would meet with Jon every so often to discuss possible field trips, projects, and performances at school. Our meetings always had a give and take about them that we were both comfortable with. We even traded papers to grade so we’d be sure the kids were getting a fair shake in their essays. He was a joy to work with.

He was fun, but relentless in his demands of the class. They didn’t get away with much, believe me. He was consistent and creative in his handling of discipline problems and the kids always knew what the consequences were. I’d like to think he learned a few things from us oldies but goodies, too. One thing I know we pushed him to do was to step it up where assembly programs for our grade groups were concerned. On particularly memorable assembly was when he cast one of his behaviorally-challenged kids as the Grinch. The young man in question happily stayed up at lunchtime to rehearse. He went from no confidence to a fairly good rendition of the Grinch. I never saw him happier than when he was learning his lines and songs. Although the actual performance didn’t pan out exactly as Jon had planned it (T. got stage fright), it did boost his confidence, which I took advantage of the next year when he was assigned to my class.

Jon worked tirelessly at classroom management and planned his lessons with the class in mind. He always was fair, extremely competent, and a great spurce of ideas and comfort when I had “one of those days.” Unfortunately, or perhaps it is fortunately after all, he had a higher calling and is now running a church in Brooklyn, NY. I cannot express how much I missed his camaraderie and friendship. He was a true educator. I am sure his congregation values him as much as I do.

Jon was replaced by a Charter School ship-jumper. I was in on the interview process when she was hired, as I would be her grade partner. She was the opposite in personality, but seemed to be a very competent educator. She had been in an administrative position at the well-known charter school and now she had a child, couldn’t deal with the time she had to put in at the school. Pretty much, administrators had to work until after 6-7 PM during the week and on Saturdays, too. But she had some great ideas and seemed to be a valuable asset to our school. So she was hired.

Our grade group meetings were interesting; Alice (not her real name) was your basic Type A person, always super-organized and needing to know her schedule way in advance so she could plan every minute of her day. She had a system for everything and her class had to be just so. It was almost like walking into my Catholic grade school with children sitting with hands folded and all facing the same direction. My class, on the other hand, was loosely arranged in tables and rarely super-organized. Wait, I should be honest here, NEVER super-organized. I believe that discussions and projects that happen spontaneously have more merit than most lessons in the lesson plan. I am fine in going with the flow, but I am always aware and can relate to you exactly how this discussion or project relates to the Standards for our grade. I have never been one to be strictly held to a schedule or a script. In fact, my wonderful principal came up to me several times to see how laid-back Mrs. T was dealing with Type-A Alice. I dealt.

Alice thought that all of the children in her class ought to be able to change their ways and bend to her rules. She worked on the theory that she knew what she wanted, how she wanted it, and the kids better step up. Many of the children in her class did, in fact, step it up and made it through the school year successfully. The handful who didn’t conform to her rules protested loudly all year long and consequently, so did their teacher. She seemed to think that ALL the behavior problems in grade 5 were in her room, and that ALL the kids who couldn’t read were assigned to her class. During our faculty meetings, she incessantly complained about her teaching conditions, not realizing that we were all in the same boat. She hardly ever listened to any suggestions given by teachers with many more years of experience. People learned to tune her out.

The year before I retired, we were required to plan lessons together so that our students would be doing the same things each week. THAT was a mistake. I really could not reconcile my teaching style to hers and finally just let her plan the lessons with some of my input. When I went back to class, I just did my own thing regardless of what was on the paper. I really don’t see how teachers can make one lesson plan since you don’t have the same combination of kids in each class. Since I was very patient, I was often given students who were a bit out of the ordinary, and I have found through the years that I can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes. Kids that flew off the handle easily were assigned to my class because she would push the kids to the brink on behavior.

At any rate, out of the five years she spent at the school, she was out on maternity leave twice, so she only actually spent 2 years from September to June teaching. After I retired, she stayed one more year and lo and behold! She is now acting Principal at a charter school. The staff, I think, was relieved at her going. I have my suspicions she just stayed for the medical benefits and left as soon as she could. I have read that she is the same kind of principal as she was a teacher – driven, strict, and inflexible. Good luck to her in her future endeavors.

So here is an example of two teachers who only stayed a while, but who had totally different impacts on our school.

The most valuable thing I learned from Alice was the tricks that the well-known charter school uses to “counsel out” those students with behavior problems and those who couldn’t hack it academically. I learned that the school’s curriculum consists only of that information and concepts that are tested heavily on the standardized tests, and anything else doesn’t get taught, no matter if it’s in the standards or not. Out of the hundred or so standards each in Math and Language Arts, this charter only teaches 38 of them. I was grateful for this information and it has encouraged me to become more informed about the truth of the charter schools. In fact, she is probably the reason why I joined the Badass Teachers Association, to fight against the charters and standardized testing. There is so much more to education than bubbling in answers to 70 multiple choice questions. Much more.
Jon helped me add to my teaching repertoire. He was and remains a trusted friend to whom I would trust the education of my own children. He opened my eyes to great new ideas and made me a better teacher. I cannot express how much I learned from being his grade partner and neighbor teacher. I admire his tenaciousness in sticking with it in our urban school, and I know that his students are the better for his being there. Jon’s contributions to our school community were great and lasting. A true educator.

Badass Teachers Association -

Still learning!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

When Words Need to Be Said

I'll preface this by mentioning that Dr. William Hite is the newly appointed superintendent of Philadelphia's public schools. The school district was taken over by the state in 2001 and Dr. Hite is experiencing his first full school year at the helm. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is currently working without a contract since September, 2013. The School Reform Commission wants pay givebacks of about 15-20%, additional contributions to medical benefits, and work rule changes which include eliminating tenure and seniority, a longer school day and a longer school year with no pay increases. 3000 staff members were laid off last June. Many schools are currently operating with either no counselor, or one for every 1,500 students, no assistant principals, no classroom aides, no dean of students, no paper, not enough books, and 33 students to a class. Hite is threatening to eliminate seniority and tenure. Talks are at an impasse and Hite has gone to the PA Supreme Court to clarify which work rules he is legally allowed to change unilaterally.

Dr. Hite is up in arms because the union is upset that he wants to strike certain non-teaching requirements from the contract. Suggested language removal includes the provisions that every teacher must have a desk, chair and a lockable place to put their personal items such as a coat and pocketbook. Also included in the removable language are at least one workable water fountain in the school and provisions for heat and electricity in every classroom, and indeed an office with a door available for speech and counseling therapists. Desks and chairs for each student is also mentioned in the contract.

Dr. Hite states that those things should be a given, and it’s ridiculous to find them spelled out in the contract, but we know differently. There was a time when students had to sit on the floor because there were no desks or chairs. The union fought for each student to have them. We won.

There was a time when some teachers were expected to teach in a room without a blackboard, whiteboard, or any large surface on which to write. The union made sure it was written into our contract.

There was a time when there was no place to hang your coat or put your personal things. This is dangerous and an invitation to theft. It’s bad enough that computers, laptops and other things are stolen through locked doors, but not having a place to store your personal items in unconscionable. We fought for that language to go into the contract and we won.

There was a time when counselors, speech and occupational therapists, and psychologists were not guaranteed a room, much less a room with a door for privacy. Can you imagine discussing someone’s most private thoughts and troubles while open to the public to hear? Can you imagine trying to take a psychological test while open to the jeers and stares of people passing by? Or practicing speech exercises practically in front of an audience? No, neither could the union. So we fought for it to go into the contract and we won.

We fought for being able to leave a classroom for a better space when it got below or above a certain temperature. There have been times when my classroom in winter was below 55 degrees, where the children wore their coats, hats and gloves in class. We've also spent days in the class when the temperature was 95 degrees, with no ceiling fans and only 3 working windows that only opened 6 inches. No learning went on, but lots of sleeping and many trips to the one working water fountain in the school. The union insisted on, and got, acceptable working conditions put into the contract.

We fought for the availability of a working water fountain in every school. In reality, there should be working fountains on every floor. Because our school is full of 90-year-old lead pipes, the sinks in the bathrooms have DO NOT DRINK FROM SINK signs over them - that water is not potable. Can you imagine a building housing 2000-4000 students with only ONE fountain that works? That was the best we could do, to get the School District to require one working water fountain at school. But we fought for it, and we won.

Working bathrooms for teachers was another issue, as was the availability of electricity in every room, and windows that actually can be raised and lowered. These are all things that should be taken for granted, that will be supplied by the School District but weren’t, in the not-so-distant past. We had to give up other things to fight for this language to be put in our contract so that the students and the teachers are able to do their jobs in school. Given the current level of trust and openness between the School District and the teachers, I wouldn’t let ANYONE take this language out of the contract that is being negotiated between the two parties.

Would you?

PFT President, Jerry Jordan responds to a situation caused by layoffs, and removal of seniority in rehiring from layoffs.

Still learning!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Peggy Lee - I'm A Woman/Philly Girl - I'm a Teacher

I heard this song the other day and started singing "I'm a teacher, T-E-A-C-H-E-R." I figured I could come up with appropriate lyrics for a teacher.

Here it is! I hope you like it. I think I may do a reform one too. But here's what I have so far.

I can watch 44 little kids and have 'em walkin’ in a line

I can teach & cover 2 dozens standards 'fore you can count from 1 to 9

I can scoop up a puking child full of food from the candy store

Throw them in the bathroom, go back & teach a lesson, be back before they puke some more

'Cause I'm a teacher! T-E-A-C-H-E-R, I’ve said it before


I can write & redo this lesson plan til it's simply divine

Mark the papers, enter data, & evaluate the results at the same time

Get all fired up, go home and work more til 3 a.m. and then

Lay down at 4, jump up at 6, and start all over again

'Cause I'm a teacher! T-E-A-C-H-E-R, I’ve said it before


When kids come to me sad you know I'm gonna make them well

When kids come to me all hyped up you know I'm gonna break the spell

When kids come to me hungry you know I'm gonna fill them full of food

When it's teachin’ you're likin’, I'll teach you and won’t give you time to brood.

'Cause I'm a teacher! T-E-A-C-H-E-R, I’ve said it before



I can stretch! a greenback dollar bill from here to kingdom come!

But still need to play the numbers to pay the bills and still end up with some!

I got a teaching certificate says there ain't nothing I can't do

I can make a classroom out of nothing and I can make a student out of you

'Cause I'm a teacher! T-E-A-C-H-E-R, I’ve said it before

'Cause I'm a teacher! T-E-A-C-H-E-R, there is no more.

Still learning!