Teachers and Veterans

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a very interesting theory about how to address the teaching shortage in his state. He waived the degree requirements for teachers in his state and changed the requirements to just 60 college credits with at least a 2.5 GPA. Huh. That’s a solid C average. So basically he is saying that a veteran with at least 4 years of service in ANY career field who can pass a subject matter test, do two years of college with a C average is just as good as someone who has a degree and an education certification. That doesn’t make much sense to me.

I can assure you that there are a ton of amazing people I met in the military that would make great teachers. They relate well to other people, including children, they love life, they are very positive and fun people to be around. Most of them also have a 4 year degree and instructed at some level in the military. I don’t think most people are instructor-qualified by the time they’ve been in 4 years, although that’s about the point where most start to instruct in their respective career field. I think it’s an interesting idea to fast-track veterans into teaching but lowering the requirements seems a little careless. A four year degree should definitely be required and 24 months of instructor duty should also be required. I also would not extend this waiver out to 5 years; I would cap it at 2, maybe 3 years.

I can’t help but think of the fact that teaching is not a fun career field, nor does it make you rich. You have to want to be in a classroom and you have to want the hassle of constantly looking over your shoulder at parents, administration, and even the government coming for your head. I’m so tired of parents complaining about how schools are full of behavior problems and disrespect. Ok, so raise your kids better. Not much has changed since I was in school long ago and my grandparents were busy complaining about unruly children in society. Parents don’t give teachers the room to actually teach. They want teachers to carry guns, only used books the parents approve of, and not parent their children for them. Again, parent your own children. I have seen parents who don’t teach their children respect act like their children aren’t the problem. Yes, your child is gigantic asshole when you aren’t around. Believe me, I’ve seen it. You think they’re perfect but they are not. They are rude, disrespectful, love their phone, and bully other children.

On social media, supporters of this weird policy seem to think that veterans aren’t going to take any disrespect and will force patriotism on children. I guaran-damn-tee that the first time a parent is called by this teacher who was a veteran about their precious brat being a problem, they will defend the child and accuse the veteran of not being qualified to teach. Like I said, your kid is disrespectful. My father was a teacher and he didn’t take crap from students and some parents wanted to argue with him about it. He didn’t take the parents’ crap either. He was there to teach and if a student was a distraction, they were removed from the classroom so they didn’t distract the entire class. Parents always think it’s someone else’s kids causing the problem. That’s why it gets so bad.

DeSantis is assuming that there’s some hidden motherlode of veterans just dying for jobs as teachers. Doubtful. Veterans that truly want to become teachers start themselves on a process as they are preparing to retire. People who are separating after 4 years are generally looking to go back to school for something much more lucrative like engineering, project management, or something useful in the defense industry where there is money to be made. Defense contractor jobs are very lucrative and generally plentiful if you have the right education and experience.

Then my mind wanders to what the real reason is for this change. An assumption that the majority of veterans are conservative? Can handle a handgun? Are more likely to enforce the weird cultural war laws that DeSantis has passed in the last year? I just don’t think he realizes that this plan to fix the teacher shortage is silly. None of those assumptions are categorically true across the entire group of veterans. Not every career field in the Air Force, for example, is required to handle a gun often. Many only have firearms training every THREE YEARS. Is that someone you’d automatically trust with a gun around your children? Many are emotionally unstable because of PTSD and a very toxic environment. Is THAT someone you want around unpredictable children who like to push buttons?

I don’t want to spend too much time on these weird cultural wars he’s been stuck on this year, but I really can’t wrap my mind around the things he’s focused on. Don’t say gay, playing chicken with Disney, taking around the rights of parents with trans children to seek acceptable medical care that THEY believe is best for their child, and passing a bizarre law that at no time can children be made uncomfortable based on the color of their skin. Come on, Ron. That’s ridiculous. Black children have been uncomfortable for literally hundreds of years because of the way our system has left them out and made them learn history with books full of smiling white children. If YOU feel guilty during a slavery discussion because you’re white, FIGURE OUT WHY. Do the damn work. I don’t feel guilty for being white because I had no say in the matter. I was born this way. Learning about slavery and racism makes me angry because it should not exist. And it makes me want to shake every racist out there for being so ignorant. We need to acknowledge the wounds that were inflicted on Black and Brown people and stop it from happening again. We need to acknowledge that indigenous groups were slaughtered and violently removed from their land. No, we aren’t personally responsible for it because we weren’t alive, but pretending that it didn’t happen or that it doesn’t still hurt the groups affected is sending the message that we don’t care. DeSantis needs to focus on making Florida prosperous, providing real solutions for the teaching shortage and the piss poor education system down there, and not just fighting with the buzz words he thinks will get him noticed by his party.

Bottom line…some veterans would make awesome teachers and would enjoy the profession. But most probably won’t become teachers to make less money than they did in the military doing a job that no one respects anyway.

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