Friday, June 12, 2009

The Divas



If you've been around the schools any length of time, you have met them. The Divas. They are the teachers that administrators love because they shine light back at the admins. In other words, they are flashy, showy, and yet almost totally lacking in substance. Everything a Diva teacher does is important, and everything everyone else does is much less so, at least in the Diva's mind. There are several characteristics of typical divas:

  • They are generally given the best classes either because they whine for them or convince the principal that they need the best kids in order to do their wonderful projects.
  • They do wonderful projects. The projects look wonderful, at any rate. Some Divas put on plays that could make a successful off-Broadway run. Some decorate their rooms more lavishly than a Turkish whorehouse (not that I've ever seen one, of course).
  • Most have the kind of handwriting that tips off their anal retentive upbringing.
  • They will never share anything, even a piece of chalk, because they will need it for whatever it is they are doing, and God forbid they get caught with less than 78 pieces of chalk. Not that I am bitter.
  • And worst of all, most of them rarely teach anything. They just make it look like they do. A Diva will spend four months on the third grade musical version of Death of a Salesman, complete with car crash finale and chorus line. Other teachers wonder how they get their kids to do such wonderful stuff.

It's pretty easy, really. They give up math and reading. Science and SS? Tush! They didn't teach those meaningless subjects anyway, darling.

I'm annoyed about this because my child has had a Diva teacher all year who has decided to move up with the class. That means another year in which I will have to teach the skills the Diva jettisons in favor of making stained glass letters for her bulletin board. I have no more room in my attic for scale replica Taj Mahals made of fusilli.

I've had it. I don't have any choice but to take my own child out of public school, which sucks more than I can tell you. But I think the fat lady has sung.

12 comments:

Pissed Off said...

I think I just posted a pciture of some of the divas on my blog.

Every school has lots of them.

Mr. Talk said...

I think they should at least make it a menu item so I could have a crack at being one.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Are you sure your child doesn't go to my school?

NYC Educator said...

I think before I took my child out of public school I would go there and raise hell until my kid got another teacher. I'm thankful not to have been in that situation, but if I were I wouldn't hesitate.

Miss Eyre said...

I have at least one I can think of at my school. She is gorgeous, "busy," and all sweetness and light to the admins. However, she never has the time of day for me.

She ran for CC and naturally I did not vote for someone who can hardly deign to say good morning to me. Yesterday I got treated to a rant from my AP about how we all should have voted for the Diva (who lost the election). But apparently I'm not the only one at my school who has caught on to the fact that she is pretty...useless.

Mr. Talk said...

I think the question becomes, why do principals want these essentially useless teachers? I mean, they will hound competent teachers day and night for the most frivolous things, but Divas are basically untouchable now matter how little they teach.

I can not remember a time when my school did not have at least 3 or 4 divas. Unfortunately, the kids love these teachers because they do fun projects. In the mean time, they teach almost none of the curriculum and no one says a word to them.

If I ignored teaching the way a Diva does, I'd be in a rubber room faster than you can say 3020 hearing.

17 (really 15) more years said...

It's all an illusion Mr. Talk. The Divas make things pretty, always have some sort of fabulous presentation at the ready to impress visitors, and have an air of self-importance that essentially says, "Back off, or you'll have nothing to put in the lobby display come PTC night". And to top it all off, their ass-kissing skills are second to none.

ed notes online said...

Reminds me of the ultimate diva at my first school. Fits the tee perfectly. Had an affair with the principal and broke up his marriage. Tons of money went into her fancy library while the rest of the school starved. They moved in together (supposedly secretly) but didn't marry because then she would have to leave the school. But they actually did marry secretly and the Post revealed it. That ended it.

And then there was the married diva at another school who had an affair with the principal but instead of breaking up his marriage he hired a hit man to chloroform his wife to death. And then there was....lots more, all in my district.

Some people think Divas are only women but I met my share of male Divas, only with a different style.

NYC Educator said...

I think male divas are called Devo, and they have to wear inverted Christmas tree bases on their heads and sing stilted techno music.

bronxteach said...

It's funny how the Divas get to move up and down teaching top classes even though the contract (I know it's naive to mention it as if it's meaningful) states teachers are supposed to switch between those assignments. Good to see there are parents who see through the BS, sorry to hear it's at the expense of your child's learning.

KitchenSink said...

Forgive me for being unpopular on this blog, but your experience as a parent is the reason why accountability needs to be both real and rational if kids are going to get what they deserve.

School leaders should have real data at their fingertips (I'm talking qualitative observations and feedback and rubrics about performance here, not test scores), and should have the freedom to remove the chaff for the benefit of kids.

With checks and balances - I'm not endorsing rogue principals playing out personality disputes. But these divas - they should be freelancing as stagehands, not spending all day with your child.

Ms. M said...

Yes! I know this teacher! In my school he is always getting lavish praise from the administration. Announcements are made over the loudspeaker about how his class has 100% attendance (he calls the students home sick and makes them come in for at least one hour to be counted), he is praised for having the best behaved class in the school (he torments and ridicules them into submission). I have even heard him be so arrogant as to say "I have been in this school 20 years, I can do whatever I want."