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GROB: Teachers are losers, or so I’ve heard

GROB: Teachers are losers, or so I’ve heard
James Grob
By James Grob,

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

A teacher taught me that. A loser teacher.

I’m admittedly biased toward teachers. I’m married to one, after all — a damn good one. Also, my parents were teachers. My grandfather taught in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming a principal. So did a great-grandfather who I never knew, but whose name was given to me.

My sister chose to become an educator. So did five aunts and uncles, and more cousins than I can count.

I love teachers. But when it was my turn to choose what I wanted to do, I chose writing, and ended up a journalist. I did not want to teach — from what I had seen, teaching was way too tough, way too challenging for me. I did not have that kind of commitment.

Last year, during a political rally in El Paso, Texas, President Trump’s son — Donald Trump Jr. — took to the podium to speak on behalf of his daddy.

“I love seeing some young conservatives because I know it’s not easy,” he told the crowd. “Keep up that fight. Bring it to your schools. You don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth. You don’t have to do it. Because you can think for yourselves. They can’t.”

That’s right. Teachers are losers. Teachers can’t think for themselves. Teachers are socialists, who are indoctrinating their students. Teachers need to be fought.

The audience response — cheers and thunderous applause. Teachers are now an enemy to President Trump’s base, just like journalists, with our fake news. Enemies of the state, as the president once said.

I cover the Charles City School District, and am in contact with several teachers and administrators here on a regular basis. I can tell you that although I have an admitted personal bias toward teachers — I like them — it doesn’t necessarily influence my coverage.

Although I prefer to write stories that highlight positive things in the community, I am obligated to write the facts. Not all news is good news. Stay tuned. Watch this space.

However, to make educators villains, to call them losers, to imply that they are indoctrinating socialism — that’s absurd and outrageous. And actually, it’s absurd and outrageous to do that to any group of human beings. It’s a shameful thing for the son of the president of the United States to say, in any context.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley visited Charles City High School last week, and took questions from the students. Tough questions. Informed questions. The students weren’t intimidated by him — but they were polite and respectful. These students were inspired by teachers.

Several Charles City High School wrestlers and bowlers recently competed at state tournaments, and represented the community well. I imagine their teachers had something to do with their success.

The Charles City FFA program was recently highlighted on these pages. Their accomplishments are unprecedented. One of their teachers was recently nominated to be ag educator of the year — in his 36th year of teaching. He doesn’t seem like a loser to me. He doesn’t seem like a socialist. I believe he can think for himself.

A few hundred people enjoyed the CCHS vocal POPs concert last week, which featured students with beautiful voices — directed by teachers. Organized by teachers. And when the cord that opens the heavy, big red curtain broke, a couple of teachers opened and closed it by hand all night. What a bunch of losers.

The CCHS group speech team sent five events to state recently. They’re talented kids. I think their teachers might have helped.

There’s a food pantry at the high school now. Students collect food and other items to help classmates in need. The school district’s Project RISE has students mentoring other students, troubled students, at-risk students, kids contending with issues some of us can’t imagine. These programs were inspired by teachers. Loser teachers?

By the way, I also would like to remind Donald Trump Jr. that nationwide, several teachers have literally taken bullets for their students in recent years. They have protected children who aren’t their own with their lives.

Would you do that? I’m not so sure I would have that kind of courage. Would Donald Trump Jr.?

The fact of the matter is, despite all the loser teachers in the district, students in Charles City are offered 23 advanced placement courses, more than 85 percent are involved in extracurricular activities, nearly 80 percent pursue secondary education and more than 97 percent graduate from high school.

The Charles City School District’s stated vision is to “engage, inspire and empower students and staff in order to maximize learning.” Its mission statement is, “regardless of who you are or what your story is, you can learn and be loved here.”

Regardless. That means anyone.

That means the best and the brightest, as well as the most challenged and at-risk. The rich, as well as the poor.

“Regardless” includes everyone. Even the losers.

Even people like Donald Trump Jr. could learn and be loved here.