Saturday, August 13, 2011

a couple of cartoons for La Rentrée

First of all: definition of "La Rentrée"--French for the post-summer-vacation ritual of returning to school/work. In the U.S., this is Aug./Sept. and mainly is 'back-to-school'; in France it's Sept./Oct. and applies to everyone, not just students...

I like this cartoon, even if might seem a bit twisted:
My wife and I have a parrot--worry not, we take good care of him. (We arrange house/bird-sitting when we go out of town, just so you know.) And, in case you didn't already know, for work, I am a language teacher. (French I, II, & III, & Spanish I this year.) I am not abusive in the classroom. And I don't teach German. (alas) Anyway...

But I like this cartoon. It's been posted on our refrigerator for a year-and-a-half now...
If only it were so simple to encourage students to become fluent speakers...

And now, something from Dilbert:

Ahh, the contemporary surfeit of self-esteem...

A recent issue of The Atlantic magazine had a lengthy article entitled "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy."
The cover of the magazine proclaims this: "How the cult of self-esteem is ruining our kids."
Indeed, the perils and unpleasant side effects of showering too much praise, cultivating self-esteem without substance--what I get to observe, in its myriad adolescent manifestations, during my workweek!

Don't get me wrong, I like my job...I mean, to a reasonable degree...
but I'm not among those overly idealistic teachers who insist, almost religiously, that 'they give their heart and soul to 'their' kids,'...those educators for whom 'financial compensation is not a concern' since 'the opportunity to touch lives' makes up for substandard wages and being the punching bag for society's complaints. 

Teaching in 21st-c. America--it's both better and worse than you think. When I first went back to teaching high-school (wow, a decade ago already) after being in the college/university environment for a few years, concerned friends and acquaintances would, when approaching me to say hello, lower their voices and cock their heads with concern before asking, so sincerely: " ARE you?" At first I was puzzled and I wondered if I must've looked terrible or something...I mean, all these well-meaning people touching my shoulder and expressing concern--really, I was okay! This lasted about a few months, and then they realized that I had not become a target for spitballs nor were my tires being slashed...

But even now, when meeting people for the first time and answering the question 'so what do you do for work'--I still get that 'oh, wow' eyebrow-raise when I mention that I am a high-school teacher. Truth be told, sometimes in the mirror, I give myself that oh-wow-eyebrow-raise...

But I'm okay.

Monday. Back to the classroom...


random quote:
"Without data, you are just another person with an opinion."
(quoting Andreas Schleicher...for background and the full article, click here.)


  1. Hahaha. I love the Dilbert cartoon. I am going to start saying that.

    "Watch me walk!"

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