Saturday, March 20, 2010

If it smells like slander, it probably is...

There is a new book I heard about that was published by a guy that has substitute taught in my school district for 12 years. Here is the info on the book:

At first I heard the book was hints to help substitute teachers do a better job, but the subtitle "Don't work for PESG or Teach in Ypsilanti Michigan" is not helpful, it is just slanderous and offensive.

While trying to find out more about the book, I ran across an article the author wrote in response to someone that did not like his book: One of the things he said about the person that commented was: "giving [my book] one star out of five. I am assuming the author of the critic post either didn't read the same book I wrote or has an IQ smaller than his (I am assuming by the writing the person is male) belt size". I guess the author can have a damning opinion, but no one else can...

Since I am not one to NOT give her opinion (anyone that knows me is smirking at this statement, I know) this was my response...

I have not "wasted 5 minutes" reading your book. I don't care that it is self-published or published by the largest publishing company in the world. I did read this review comment though. I find it funny that you would call another person someone who "seeks to pull other people down". I find the title of your book appalling. How dare you advise people to not work in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I have worked in the Ypsilanti Public School District for over 15 years. I have worked in several buildings and I also have seen many things. I have seen teachers spend their own money for their students clothes and supplies. I have seen teachers take students to doctor and dental appointments and show up for little league games and birthday parties on many Saturdays. I have seen teachers collect money and necessities after children lost their homes in a fire or family crisis. I have seen teachers send baskets full of Christmas gifts and deliver Thanksgiving turkeys well after the school doors closed. The 'benefits' you mention that subs have... like flexible work schedules also means you are always a guest in someone else's world. You imply that this was a book that needed to be written. To help substitutes do their job better. If you HAD written a book to help substitute teachers do that role better, you would have a great teaching aid. By naming the book what you did, it is no longer a tool to help others benefit, it is just slander. Just a gimmick to sell a few more copies. So you 'peeked' into the world of teachers and did not like what you saw, that does not make you a teacher. Teachers work hard to earn the respect of their students... they do not just show up one day and expect it to be there. You are not a teacher... you probably never will be. You are a well paid babysitter, with the power to choose when you want to work. After 12 years, maybe you learned a few things about classroom management, but you suffer from the 'crab bucket syndrome' that you mention in your review... and will never have the heart of a true teacher. I love working for the Ypsilanti Public School District and although we have challenges, I want to stay and help, not just complain from a distance. Do all of us a favor, stop subbing.. and get out of Ypsilanti. Oh, and as my Dad would have said, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass as you go".

Unfortunately, I know slander sells books, the next time I hear about this guy it will probably be on the "Maury Povich Show". But seriously, if grown-ups do not play nice and act like good examples, how do we expect kids too?


  1. Dear Ilene:

    The term you attempt to attribute to me would be "libel", not "slander," and I am telling the truth in this book.

    I am sorry you are offended by the subtitle:
    "Don't Work For PESG Or Teach In Ypsilanti, Michigan". This book is the truth of my teaching experiences. If you have ever subbed in a district with sub jobs controlled by PESG which it and districts under it has no problem firing subs for petty causes and tries to do it without telling them or letting them know, I have a problem with that. By the way did you see "Up In The Air" with George Clooney? Being fired as a sub is a lot like that only you are fired without benefits or job training for a future job. You take issue with the fact with the subtitle as a slam against Ypsilanti because it is such a great district and has only great teachers and students, but I know many other teachers and subs who have been treated badly by the district. I know a gentleman who was fired by the district after "using too much force to break up a fight" at Ypsilanti High School and the students involved were proud of the fact he was the fourth substitute they had gotten fired. I had two teachers who retired from West Middle School in 2000 who said the kids were assholes and they couldn't wait to get out. I take issue with the fact that a substitute can be assualted by a student and the district will not do anything unless he or she files a police report. Of course, you can't do anything about it anyway if you only learn this fact four months after the fact. I do not have crab bucket syndrome and in general do not wish ill-will on others. However, do not expect me to treat someone else with good regard who has given me the shaft, and I would not expect you to also.
    However, I congratulate you and other teachers who spend your own money for students' clothes and supplies, take them to doctor and dental appointments, send them money, Christmas presents, and Thanksgiving turkeys, and show up for their little league games and birthday parties. Yes, those are great things to do for them and I hope you keep up the good work. Those are great things and I hope you write a book about them highlighting the great thing teachers do.
    I am not going to stop subbing and I will not "get out of Ypsilanti" but I will certainly not teach in Ypsilanti again, not because you said so, and I recommend other people not teach or sub there also because of the treatment I received. If other people have not had the same experiences I had, then that is great. Why don't you actually buy a copy of my book and read it before telling me how horrible it is and then pass judgement? Maybe then you will understand I actually have an educated well written point of view. When I teach I also work hard to earn the respect of students, but students do not always give that respect or come to school to learn. You say I am "not a real teacher but only a babysitter" and "apparently do not work to earn students' respect." Well, excuse me, but just like Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a substitute teacher in "187", when he is told by a student that he is "not a real teacher", I say just like him, "I AM A REAL TEACHER!" I hope YOU take your dad's advice to not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
    I am glad you love teaching in Ypsilanti and keep up the good work.
    I have learned plenty of times that grown-ups can play nice all they want, but it has no effect whatsoever on making the kids play nice.
    Thanks for suggesting I plug my book on "The Maury Povich Show"; can you get me on it? Thanks for all your encouragement and I know you will continue to give me excellent help! I will work harder to promote it and I know all your attention will help me sell more copies! :)


    John Barr Jr.