Dear Backroads Miz Manners,
I read on the innernets that a teacher is being fired for calling her students future criminals on her Facebook page. Can that really happen? She didn't give any names of the future criminals. Isn't she entitled to free speech? It's not like she posted a picture of Little Lord Fauntleroy and labeled him, specifically, as a criminal. Aren't teachers allowed to let their hair down, to blow off steam, to enjoy the same constitution-given rights as other citizens on their own time?
I Thought This Was America
I'm not a teacher myself, but I used to pal around with a whole passel of professional educators. Once they sign that teaching contract, they cease to enjoy the entitlements of every other citizen in these United States. No Rapunzeling for them. They must hold in that steam like the boiler at the Overlook Hotel, but with no Jack Torrance to alleviate the pressure periodically.
Teachers enjoy no such thing as "their own time". They are always on the job, if not on the clock. Always on stage. Always representing the school district. Shopping on the weekend? They must double as goodwill ambassadors. Greet any patrons cheerfully. Politely decline discussing work-related issues. Grin and bear it if a young charge takes the chance meeting as an opportunity to fly the single-digit birdy, or catcall comments across the parking lot.
Any teacher sighting is fodder for the rumor mill. Renting movies in a facility that also offers adult fare? That teacher becomes a pr0n aficionado. Sip a cool one in the beer garden at the Labor Day picnic? That teacher is a well-known alcoholic. There's a long list of behaviors that are denied to educators, unless one is itching for a reprimand or dismissal.
Backroads Miz Manners hopes she has clarified the question of teachers and their constitutional rights. Please be advised that this is only the tip of the rights iceberg. Every year, teachers in titanic proportions forge full speed ahead into this obstacle. Some rules are made up as one goes along. But don't you worry about our public school educators. The minimum statewide starting teacher's salary in Missouri is $24,000. If one sticks it out, and continues to accrue college credits, that salary can improve. But don't be fooled by charts of "average" teacher salaries. Administrator salaries are included in those statistics, which skews the data to the high side.
Perhaps Backroads Miz Manners should not have revealed such insider information. We can't have the entire population flocking to college to become teachers, now can we?
Backroads Miz Manners