A Thug's Life
In case you missed it, last week Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said that some teachers have a “thug mentality” ( http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article206199724.html ) . I'm now on spring break, so I thought I'd take a minute and share with Governor Bevin how to live a thug life, as he will clearly need something to do after he loses his re-election race next year.
Dear Governor Bevin,
Thanks so much for all the kindness you've shown me over the last little bit. Because you're so good to me, I thought I would share with you what a thug’s life looks like in great detail. Here, in no specific order, are some time tested ways to make sure your thug life reaches its full potential. Class is in session-prepare to be schooled.
- Hit up your local grocery store in order to procure thug life essentials such as cereal or crackers. That way, when your elementary age student shows up late enough they miss school breakfast but it’s still a few hours ‘til lunch they will have something to eat and still be able to learn.
- And when you’re shopping don’t forget to look for children’s belts-even if (like myself) you are not a parent. Some families cannot afford to buy clothes that fit their children. While some thugs may see sagging pants as a sign of prestige, this thug wants to make sure kids will be able to focus on academics. Worrying about peers teasing you about your underwear detracts from that focus so you do what you can to keep kids learning. Clearly, this ain’t nothin' but the thug in me.
- Refuse to take the first available doctor appointment because it’s during the school day and while you know there are lots of good subs out there, you don’t want to break the continuity of their learning.
- Come to work even if you feel terrible. True story: a few years ago I woke up on a Monday with a sore throat. Knowing the best thing would have been to stay home and rest I refused to stay home because it meant I would have to be out and the end of year tests were looming and I wanted the class to be prepared. I kept feeling crummy so that Wednesday I finally went to an urgent care clinic where the nurse practitioner took my temp, which was 103.9. She then looked at my throat and pronounced I had such a bad case of strep I needed to proceed to the nearest emergency room. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had I taken proper care of myself when I first felt ill. And the accompanying guilt of exposing my students to my illness did little to aid in my recovery. What can I say? Pretty sure you were thinking of incidents like this when you called me and my fellow teachers "selfish".
- And while we’re on the subject of being sick, you’re not a true thug unless you’ve contracted a UTI due to not emptying your bladder in a timely fashion because you can’t get anyone to cover your class so you can visit the restroom. If elementary teachers had a dime for every time their bladders were held hostage by a bunch of children we could singlehandedly erase not only the pension problems in the state of Kentucky, but the national debt as well. But nobody ever said the thug life was easy.
- Communicate with students’ parents more frequently than your own about both good and bad things. Another true story: a few years ago I had a student who I knew the father’s number by heart. To this day I can still tell you that man’s cell number but cannot tell you my own father or sister’s numbers.
- And while we’re on the subject of communication, be sure you keep the contact info for social services handy. Even though I’m “selfish, ignorant and [have a] thug mentality” I still alert DCBS when I see signs of abuse or neglect. Because while I am selfish and definitely a thug, I will still do my best to keep kids safe.
The thug life does have its perks, though. Nothing extols the virtues of a thug life like a nice automobile, which is why you will find me behind the wheel of a 12 year old Ford. These flashy wheels flaunt the fruit of my labor and totally entices others to follow in my footsteps. Thug life pays well. Clearly.
As mentioned earlier, you've accused me of being ignorant. It’s not that I’m ignorant, it’s just that I am cautious about what I say. Like many other teacher thugs, I make it a point to not use profane, vulgar, or demeaning words in order to demonstrate professional behaviors for my students. And if I’m being completely honest, SB151 has seriously tested the limits of that decision.
I would like to take a minute and say thank you. I'd like to thank you for showing my students that it's important to know for whom you vote. You're showing that our commonwealth cares about its citizens. You're reminding me and every other registered voter that the ballot is way more powerful than the bullet. Also, your insults and mistreatment of Kentucky school employees had an unintended benefit-I now feel more respected and supported than I have in a long, long time. So with all the gratitude this thug can muster, thank you.
Robin B. Foster