The Eraser

Jose VilsonJose6 Comments

Thom Yorke

“The more you try to erase me
The more, the more
The more that I appear
Oh the more, the more
The more you try the eraser
The more, the more
The more that you appear …”- Thom Yorke, “The Eraser,” later sampled by CRS (Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell) in “Us Placers”

I try to never ever talk about my place of employ. It makes sense because, despite the lack of consistency with my kids, I’m pleased in general with how things have shaped up recently, and am always happy with the communication between my co-teachers and I (at least the main ones). However, I can’t help but feel some sort of empathy when I hear of someone who tries their hardest to maintain a sense of self while everyone around them tries to crush that identity. In other words, what’s with all the hating?

There’s the light sort of hating I usually engage in with my friends, throwing soft jabs at one another just for fun. That’s all well and good, because it’s necessary to bring that sort of levity into any amicable relationship. As long as there’s no sense that one is trying to alpha dog the other, or mortify the other person completely, then that’s fair game. There’s also the case of the teacher like me, who hates on his kids all the time, simply because I really want to see them do better. I need to keep them humble and critically thinking about various aspects of their lives, and not just the math on their sheets. Again, these are rules of engagement.

However, there’s also the sort of hating where people really try to bring you down for no apparent reason other than to further some selfish agenda, even if the first person’s trying to better the collective. I’m always amazed at the stories some of my fellow teachers tell me. Some of the anecdotes I hear compare readily to stories you hear from war veterans and seafarers. Stories of mutiny, tyranny, incompetence, and betrayal make me think that this world really is on a downhill slope on skates with no protective gear.

Granted, some people exaggerate. For instance, all those little twits on MySpace who generate hatred towards them because it’s the only way for them to get messages / page hits / friends in general and thus garner the attention and hate they so desire (versus let’s say, apathy) don’t count. Others still deserve to be hated on for the dumb trends they start like a Paris Hilton, a Cam’ron (no pink on my person), or political figures like Clarence Thomas, or a Condoleeza Rice, considered amongst the worst race traitors of all time.

But within that realm lie people who don’t deserve some of these peoples’ spew. Hypothetically speaking, if another teacher decided to discredit my teaching skills simply for my physical appearance, my skin color, or my perceived accent (it’s not that strong at all), then I might have to get gangsta up in the place. If someone decided to try and tell me how to do my job when I’m more qualified, have more years of experience, have more degrees, garnered a better reputation, and don’t have a scuff on my record whereas the hater does, then I’d have a hard time biting my tongue. Even when times call for a more professional attitude, sometimes I agree that we need to show people we can step out of that realm so they won’t get too close to our person.

It’s like the more they try to erase you, the more you appear, and the more they use the eraser, they more they show their true colors. The sweetest part of it all comes when, after all the defamation and derision, you’re left standing on the heap of their rotting defenses, the sweetest aftertaste in a dish best served cold.

jose, who is definitely nervous about the state math test, but did as well as he could with what he had …

p.s. – Carnival of Education, EduWonks is the sponsor … 

Comments 6

  1. It amazes me how cruel some teachers can be. I am always scared that staying too long in this profession will turn me into a lemon too, like it did with them (but then again, I just know that won’t happen). I remember sarcastic high school teachers that made fun of me in front of the entire class, that ridiculed students and made fun of them and their grades. I know some of my colleagues resemble those teachers.

    Then there are colleagues that try to show the newbie teachers how much more experienced they are, and how the new teachers know nothing. That’s something else I don’t understand. Why not be happy that the younger generation is entering this beautiful profession? Why not have a positive attitude, guide them, and show them how beautiful teaching can be?

  2. Thank you for addressing those haters. What they don’t realize is the more they hate on you, the more they hate something about themselves. They envy you. They want to be you and that is something that they secretly desire the most.

    Believe me, I know all too well about the Myspace drama and it’s immature and not cute. Too much time on their hands, maybe? It’s not that serious!!

  3. There was MySpace and Facebook drama perpetrated by several students at my school against the Honor Council for the expulsion of one of their friends. The so-called friend had committed the same offence not once but twice in the past (cheating). So, I am not sure what all the hating was for, except that the students on the Honor Council called him out, and did what had to be done.

  4. It always amazes me how some educators are immature and cruel, yet they demand respect from their students and have a holier than thou attitude. Unfortunately what you describe is true in all professions and/or workplaces. When we are presented with those kinds of situation, the only thing one can do is pick and choose your battles. There will always be people who are envious, narcissistic, inept, incompetent, and thrive on hurting others, personally and/or professionally. It is a reflection of the self-hate they possess. One of the ways in which I have learned to endure this level of ignorance, is never to stoop down to their level; but when necessary let the “haters” know that I know about their nonsense, just a little jab. It is funny to see their faces and the immediate need to form some kind of an apology.

    One of the things that I have noticed among teachers’ interactions are the following:

    1- Teachers who are just interested in a paycheck and want to do minimal until they retire. They are the most cynical and continuously voice their disdain towards their students, administration, the system, and anything or anyone else.

    2- The “newbie” teachers are either receptive to have a mentor or refuse to accept the help from “veterans.” I remember when I began teaching seven years ago that I learned a lot from my collegues who had the “experience” and even though I did not always agree with them, I still managed to show them the respect which they had earned along the way. It has been my expereince that there are some “newbies” that come into the profession thinking they know everything because they read it in a book or did student-teaching. It does not equate experience.

    3- Educators are always learning. We learn from our students, collegues, some professional development meetings, professional literature, and other forums.

    As always a great post Mr. V.

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