[Substitute Teachers Meeting 1973]

Camera original footage of a group of female teachers in the middle of a meeting, talking about teacher's issues. Relates to tape 15286.

00:00Copy video clip URL A group of female teachers in the middle of a meeting, talking in mid sentence about teacher’s issues.

00:14Copy video clip URL Another conversation appears in mid-sentence. Sharon Karp is saying, “You can’t avoid talking about political issues in the classroom that are affecting student’s lives. I tend to go into how I feel about things and my feelings tend to be radical. I know the administration would think that’s terrible. If they had any idea I admitted my view, I’d get fired!”

01:45Copy video clip URL Karp continues, “Take for example the day they dropped the bombs on Haiphong. I was angry. I was pissed off. That was all that was on my mind. I know the kids never read the papers. I thought it was important they knew about it, so I told them how I felt. The teacher being honest with the student. I don’t think I was pushing my view on them. I don’t care if they agree with me.”

02:42Copy video clip URL Ms. Majors responds. “I always find when I do that I feel like a complete asshole afterwards because I am self righteous, it’s hard not to sound that way. I never got any discussion out of it, they just kind of look at you, like, ‘so what?’ I think it’s good you can get a discussion out of the kids. I feel inferior. One time when I did get a discussion out of the kids about the future, they had a lot to say but I find my mind isn’t quick enough to keep asking questions. I stop dead. A kid will say, ‘Well in the future we don’t want collapsible houses cause the wind will blow them down.’ Then I’m like, what do you say to that? That’s a real skill to keep a discussion going.”

04:30Copy video clip URL Tape stops/re-starts in mid-conversation. A woman is saying some student absorb what a teacher is discussing but there’s not too much reaction. A group leader suggests it might be a case by case basis, something they will have to find out. A woman notes, even talking about Women’s Lib the kids are so closed minded. Even the girls. They don’t know what it is.

05:41Copy video clip URL Another woman says, “I remember that in high school, we’d get the teacher off subject, like witch craft or something completely off subject.” The discussion among the women turns to how they can keep a discussion on subject. Ms. Majors, a young teacher, says “the students tell me I make snide remarks about the Greek Gods, like, ‘they’re such bastards.’ ‘Zeus has affairs with any girl he wants, he doesn’t acknowledge that he has kids.'” She goes into a Greek story that illustrates Zeus not recognizing he has kids. “And I made the remark, ‘Same as all the other men.’ One kid right away said, ‘well you must believe in Women’s Lib, right Ms. Majors?’ I said, ‘you’re right.’ And then he wanted to get into that, which I recognized was completely off subject. I knew what was going to happen, I was gonna have a fight with this kid, because, first of all I don’t like him, and I believe he think he has something over me, and he doesn’t have a damn thing over me!”

08:00Copy video clip URL Video cuts into another conversation in progress. Pam Rose is in mid sentence talking about someone who came around from the school board and she said about a particular reading program at her school that they have to keep track of every teaching day, and sometimes the participants get involved in office work. She said that the program had been in effect 32 days for that year, only 32 days of classes. The program is closing because they aren’t seeing any results, well how can you see results in a class that only meets 32 days out of 150? When asked what the teachers are doing for the rest of the time, Rose says: “They’re taken out to take sub spots when the school can’t get enough subs, they get stuck doing office work. It’s upsetting. It’s a waste of resources and time.”

10:24Copy video clip URL Majors says there’s no demands placed on these people, so they don’t work. She complains that at day camps she worked at was similar. One was structured and functioned well. They served the counselors. Another camp nothing was expected of the counselors there were no programs to keep the kids occupied all day.

13:05Copy video clip URL Karp asks: Are you suggesting having someone watch you all the time, check up on you? No. Once a person because certified and he learns he so secure in his job that no matter what he does he’ll still have his job, they can’t get him out of the school. That will lead to incompetence. When there’s no one checking up on you, you just get tired of it.

14:01Copy video clip URL Rose gives an example from her school. A vice principal was always on her case. The kids are not on your side if you’re a sub. One thing important for subs is to have a supportive administration. “I have this vice principal who’s on my case. The other day they put me in the worst room. Chaos, terror. First is gym. The plan was discuss current events. Fine, I’ll take a look at the newspaper while they’re at gym so I’m prepared. It’s my free period, I can do what I want. And this guy comes up to me and says, ‘Ms. Rose would you mind leaving your paper with Ms. Brown?’ I said, ‘Mr. Haley, I can’t do that, I’ve borrowed the paper from one of the kids for current events.’ Instead of saying, ‘what can I do to help you’ he tells me to get rid of the newspaper.”

16:37Copy video clip URL In mid-sentence, Majors is saying, “they made an ass out of me that day because I wanted to get this thing done. After  awhile you give up. Every time you try to do what you’re supposed to do you get beat down.” Majors notes that they need to have solidarity within the faculty. “It takes a group.”

18:06Copy video clip URL Rose says she could take the hassles the vice principal gives her to a grievance department, but where would it get her? “The same day he chewed me out about the newspaper I was talking to another teacher who was a mild epileptic. She’s a helping teacher and the substitute teacher is there because the regular teacher is absent. We’re with the ERA kids, the ones with social problems. Haley comes up stairs and starts chewing the girl out for having the kids in the hall and not the classroom. But she was taking them to the washroom. He’s got his problems. He doesn’t talk to you for 4 days, on the 5th day he’s your best friend.”

20:38Copy video clip URL Majors in mid sentence talking about how frustrated she is that she does all the right things and gets nowhere. The others continue complaining about the system.

21:35Copy video clip URL A woman is in mid-sentence talking about the value of teachers supporting one another and team teaching. She is saying she would go around and share information with other teachers, give them a pat on the back. Now she doesn’t have the energy to do that.

22:22Copy video clip URL Majors in mid-sentence complaining that she feels like a policemen, having to police the kids in the school. The kids were giving her a hard time and it drove her to tears and a colleague didn’t come down on her, she supported her.

23:30Copy video clip URL The woman are in mid-discussion about how supportive female faculty are over male faculty. Majors says, “Then you find yourself in a classic situation where you’re in tears, an emotional wreck, going to a man for help.” Rose notes she did have a good experience since the group last met. Two teachers complimented her on the way she handles the kids.

25:53Copy video clip URL The women in mid-conversation about checking IDs in the lunchroom and you have kids coming up to you who shouldn’t be there, how do you deal with it? You cry. It depends on the relationships you have with the kids. If you can manage not to react to those mean spirited kids eventually they stop harassing. Majors says, “I’m short, female, the kids know they can push by me and knock me down.” Another woman says it’s about coping an attitude. One kid in class will act differently in the lunchroom. Don’t put yourself down for being white and female. That situation is different. Majors adds, “but I don’t see them doing that to the male teachers. It calls for characteristics I don’t have.” They continue discussion about the misconception that women are ineffective in inner city schools or as policemen, and how to deal with unruly students.

31:33Copy video clip URL END TAPE.



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