Give Me a Break

What She Wore: Brown dress with cap sleeves and crocheted detail around the v-neck and empire waist, brown strappy sandals with a wedge heel.  I have a picture I took of this last year, so I’ll put that up.  In reality, my feet are a bit puffier these days.

A woman in Pennsylvania was recently denied her teaching license and the University she attends awarded her a degree in English rather than an education. 
Her crime?
A picture on Myspace that showed her wearing a pirate hat and drinking out of plastic cup.  The picture was labeled "drunken Pirate."
I do think that labelling the picture that way was in the best taste.  I, myself, am always conscience of the fact that a student may stumble upon something I’ve put on the internet.  I TRY to do my best.   I do not think that this woman should have been denied her teaching license.  At a time when teachers are scarce, it seems that there’s a witch hunt to get as many of them out of the profession as possible.  Despite a rigorous education and evaluation procedure for certification, people still want to blame teachers for so many of the world’s ills.  I’ve had people say to me accusingly, "aren’t you supposed to be a teacher?" when I tell them I’m bad at Geography.  I don’t teach Geography, I’m not certified in it, but for some reason I’m supposed to know everything about everything because I teach.  It’s not just individuals either.  I’ve blogged before about how politicians think the answer to fixing schools should be using standardized test score.  Basically, they want to cure the ills of poverty by threatening teachers. 
Now, it seems that teachers should also be held to an increased moral standard.  This woman broke no laws, and yet she is denied her license for "encouraging under-age drinking."  Clearly, the morals of others influenced this decision.  Whether this woman chooses to drink or not is her own business–she behaved in a legal manner, and I think the punishment is entirely too harsh.  She made a poor choice, but she didn’t serve alcohol to minors or encourage them to drink it.  I think a reprimand and being asked to take the picture down would handle most of the problem. 
Feel free to disagree with me–I just think the pedestal is getting a little high these days.

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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20 Responses to Give Me a Break

  1. g says:

    I think even a reprimand is too much and as for taking down the picture…no go.  She has  a life outside of "work"  It think it is crazy and makes me think that I better reread my blog becauser admin people hate me cuz I am union and they look for anything!  Ugghh!!!  Drives me crazy.

  2. Leighann says:

    I agree with you, but I also agree with g.j. in that we have a life outside of work. 

  3. Joell says:

    Well said, mama. 
    There are times when "bad judgement" calls for consequences, but this isn\’t one of them.  Give a girl a break!!  After all, teachers don\’t live on a cot in the teacher\’s lounge, much to the amazement of a lot of children!! 
    PS yet another pair of cute shoes!!  Where do you find them all???

  4. Cheryl says:

    Hey Katy,
    Wonder who that woman ticked off, for them to go searching for a photo on my space, unless she listed myspace on her resume??? It seems very curious to me that would have been the reason to deny her a teaching licence!  She should appeal and contact the ACLU to represent her!  I guarentee that the U would back down.  Sometimes in Academia, there are nuts along with the assorted fruits who try to "get back" at students.  Vice versa, there are students who threaten instructors with various things if they are not "passed"….. Sounds like there is a rat in the woodpile on this one.  Either she did some things at Uni which lead to this action, or someone has a big problem in the School of Education!
    Glad to hear that you are doing well with your pregnancy and hanging in there.  Dragon slaying is a problem for most of us too…. Who knows what is just around the corner???  My son is in Iraq now, he works for the Government  but not in the military.  He will be there till August doing training…. I just hope that he keeps his head down!  But the rascal had the gall to send me a photo of himself sitting in Sadam\’s chair!!! LOL!!!  He is a trip!

  5. Lisa says:

    Hello!  I remember that I\’ve stopped by here before … but don\’t remember previously leaving a comment.  This posting hit so close to home.  My husband teaches ELL to 3rd-5th graders and I\’ll be entering grad school this fall to become certified to teach secondary language arts.  We are forever having conversations about the politics of teaching.  We live in a very small community and do feel like eyes are always on us … especially as we try to get more funding for the school district.  I\’m not sure if I can agree or disagree with the decision … it seems to me as though the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission (in our state … or is it every state?  I\’m honestly not sure) has quite a bit of power.  I suppose my question is, "Is it healthy for one governing board to have so much power?"  (I don\’t know the answer to that either.  Just asking. ;))  Blessings — Lisa

  6. Antonella says:

    Yeah, this whole thing is a little crazy with jobs and blogs. BUt, I do think if you\’re going to put anything on your blog that may be considered even a little risque, you should make up a fake name. I just think it\’s safer that way.
    I didn\’t think you sounded bitchy! I agree with you, it\’s just annoying cuz I kinda got excited that you could get a BS without taking a whole 120 credits. It just sucks that the only way that\’s possible is if you do it full time, and not just regular full time but like 40 hours+ a week full time. But IF I get accepted into school, and IF I become a nurse (don\’t wanna jinx it) I figure I could get a BS when Dante and my possible future children are in school.  
    It\’s good that you can still fit into your old shoes a lot of people can\’t!!! My shoes were fine, it\’s my rings that didn\’t, and still don\’t fit!
    take care,

  7. Nora says:

    It is a bit crazy.  One wonders that there isn\’t more to the story in the hope that sanity is left in the world. However when  my husband was a teacher, I was aware that we had a public image to upkeep.  I did feel that his job could be in jeapordy if we were doing things considered wrong. However I come from a small town so I tend to think that way, and he was in a higher profile job and lots of people payed attention to his program.  I wish that everyone would get the point that the education of children is the job of parents and teachers, not just teachers.  Teachers are human too!

  8. Unknown says:

    Just for a picture?  Totally ridiculous!God bless 🙂

  9. Nadine says:

     I think people have taken the whole Pix on the internet too far. And I don\’t think a person should be haunted the rest of their life over a silly photo…but there isn\’t anything we can do about it. Until people get over themselves and take the stick outta their ass and lighten up things won\’t change!

  10. Andrew says:

    I agree with you, that is way to harsh!! Sheesh like you say, are teachers supposed to be saints? They are human just like the rest of us.  ALthough I do agree she probably shouldn\’t have put the picture up just like you said, in case student stumble upon it, but to deny her the license? That is insane!!

  11. Tracy says:

    Oops, the no-name comment was me (Tracy) – Sorry, I wasn\’t signed in right!

  12. Unknown says:

    I totally agree with you, there is entirely too much finger pointing going on these days. Double standards out the wazoo! Somehow people seem to think they are entitled to everything, weither they earn it or not… and demand that their "rights" aren\’t violated all the while violating the rights of those around them. Sad state of affairs. I suppose those who denied her license have NEVER had a sip of anything.. let alone wear a hat while doing it? LOL! How ridiculous! Anyway, I hope you\’re having a great day and that your feet don\’t swell too much!

  13. Becca says:

    I think that was stupid, but what do you expect of a government who now is trying to tell America that the family "Hour" on television is now a whole 3 hours from 8-11 p.m. Ummm when do adults get to enjoy television? We have to be ruled by the rulers and that just sucks for all of us!

  14. BP says:

    I haven\’t been by here in a while, but it seems as if I\’ve missed quite a bit.  As a person who would love to be a teacher, I find this not only unbelievable, but unconscionable.  If it\’s against the law to drink, then that would be one thing.  The people that denied her license probably went home and wine with their dinner, while their children were present.  Are they encouraging underage drinking?  Think about how many people would be guilty of this crime if you are unable to drink alcohol of any sort in front of a minor.
    Don\’t even get me started on standardized testing.  As far as I know, 90 something percent of the teachers are against it and only politicians and people I really do not know much about the education system support relying so heavily on these tests.  Taking the test is one thing, but using them to gauge how well a particular school or teacher does is quite the contrary.
    If you want my opinion on geography, which you probably don\’t, I think you have a go ahead and give it a try.  You can always start by telling your class that you aren\’t the most proficient person in this particular subject.  I know I have the highest respect for the teacher that confessed to us that he had a problem with spelling.  He had a Masters degree, so it inspired me to go on to further my own education.  I share the same affliction and this simply gave me the prodding I needed.Well, I better get off my box.BillyPlease excuse any errors.  Due to my quadriplegia, I am using voice-activated software and it occasionally makes mistakes which I do not always catch.  I therefore humbly ask for your indulgence.

  15. Jennifer says:

    I think it\’s ridiculous for her to be denied a degree by her university. If a school system chose not to hire her after seeing her picture, perhaps that would be different. In my education classes, I have had multiple teachers warn us to keep our Facebook/Myspace/other online profiles private or free of anything that could be incriminating. Apparently it\’s a common thing, especially with new teachers, for school principals to check these sites for additional information about teaching candidates. I can see their point– it\’s an easy way to potentially find out more about someone than they willingly give on their resume, and there\’s always a chance that parents or students could search these same avenues for their teacher\’s name. I guess the university prides itself on having high moral standards for its teaching majors, which is good– but I wonder if every degree candidate was searched, and I wonder where they draw the line. "Inappropriate" is a vague term– who knows what was in her cup? At our university, I think the only reason they can kick you out of the teacher education program is for criminal offenses, which I think is reasonable. At the very least, the procedures are well-defined and publicized to the students.I understand that teachers- whether it\’s fair or not- are held to a higher moral standard because of the high level of influence they have on youth, and I can see the reasons why a school system might use a picture like this to deny someone employment when they have another equally qualified candidate. But in my eyes, a university should grant a degree to someone who has completed and passed the classes and fulfilled all stated requirements for the degree– period. Unless there\’s a rule or policy that we haven\’t heard about that this picture directly violated, I think this woman has a great chance of legal success.

  16. BP says:

    Thanks for stopping by.  I just happen to check my site before I switch over to reading, and discovered your comments.  Go for whatever you\’re comfortable with, but I do agree that maps are always labeled in real life, so why not use it that way.  I haven\’t looked at your entries long enough to discover what age group you are teaching, but one way to make an impact on students, which I am sure you already know, is to make it interesting.  Have you ever read James W. Loewen\’s "Lies My Teacher Told Me?"  If not, just reading one chapter might give you some ideas, however, in a strict system like it appeared you are in, it may be a little bit too controversial.
    Wish you the best.Billy

  17. WINDOW LIVE says:

    I agree.  Someone should go after the alcohol manufacturers.  I think all the commercials that make drinking look so cool are far worse that wearing a pirate hat and drinking.

  18. Tracy says:

    Ya, I don\’t usually get all political about things but it hits home when you actually KNOW someone who gets hurt over there. ANd thing is, I assumed he\’d be taken care of, you know, as if he had planned on staying in till he was 40 or whenever he gets the pension, but come to find out it doesn\’t work that way, that\’s what is stupid, here he was seriously injured in the war, and he\’ll get like 50% of his pay, and not all of the pension. Doesn\’t make much sense.  I know it\’s not the most important thing at this point, but it\’s still frustrating.  I wonder if the military is paying for his wife\’s hotel room near the hospital, or if they make her pay for her own, I forgot to ask the Aunt about that.

  19. Sarah says:

    I feel like that\’s going a little too far. I guess I think I would rather have a teacher that I can relate to (i.e. know she\’s got a life outside of school) than someone that\’s so stiff and uptight that it\’s hard to "get" them. Just because a teacher may or may not drink doesn\’t mean he or she is promoting underaged drinking! How weird how some people view things!

  20. Jaysey says:

    Sadly, teachers are often held to unbelievably high standards…we should be…well, pretty much…God.

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