This letter is to students considering teaching as a future profession. I am a retired teacher who taught in Michigan public schools for 26 years. You should be aware of a side of education in this state that your professors are unlikely to disclose.
You must understand that you, as a teacher, are totally expendable. Your being a terrific teacher, caring about students and working hard will not be enough to protect you from threats, intimidation or job loss.
You will have administrators who knowingly ignore state laws to save money in their budget. And if you bring it someone’s attention, expect to be threatened or made the scapegoat. You must understand that you, a teacher, are less important than the careers of administrators, school board members and legislators.
You will be pressured to give preferential treatment, from changing grades to lowering standards, to certain students. You will be blamed for students’ lack of attendance, refusal to work and failing grades. Expect to be threatened and intimidated by students, administrators and even school board members. When you are assaulted by a student, you will be pressured to not press criminal charges. Holding students accountable for their lack of work will be discouraged.
You will lose your job with three negative evaluations, even if they were caused by your refusing sexual advances or refusing to pass students who did not work.
Education policy in Michigan is set by people who know nothing about teaching. Political and monetary issues are all that matter to Michigan legislators. Expect to be threatened, manipulated, cursed at and intimidated. It is essential that you understand this if you ever accept a teaching position in Michigan.
If you are drawn to teaching, consider other states for employment.
-John F. Frenzel