A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Teachers and the “Real World”

Today a teacher I follow on Facebook posted a letter she’d written to a local paper in response to a letter to the editor. The original letter from Rob Cobb, printed in the Nevada Appeal, in Carson City, NV, is in the image below. The paper wanted her to cut 250 words, so I helped her do that, and offered to print her letter in its entirety here.


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There are quite a few reasons why teachers shouldn’t carry guns in schools, all of which can be saved for another day and a different letter to the editor. I, however, write today to respond to Rob Cobb’s letter in which he states his reasons why teachers shouldn’t carry guns.

1. “Most teachers have never really functioned in the real world.”

Saying I’m offended by this comment is an understatement. What exactly is the “real world” Mr. Cobb? Teaching your children about a subject is just a small part of our job. How about the kids you send through our doors who we need to counsel and console because their parent beat them senseless the night before? How about the kid that can’t afford to eat because mom or dad is so strung out on drugs and spends the food money on getting high so that kid comes to school starving and so we give them food or money out of our own pocket to buy lunch? How about the student that wants to commit suicide because her parents don’t support her being gay? How about the student who’s been raised by gang members and has recently become a gang member also? You don’t think that this is “real world” for us? The real world, is something we try to CLEAN UP and make better for your children everyday. The real world is more real to us than it is for you who think we don’t “function in the real world.” I function highly in this world and I help your child function also.

2. “They went through school, maybe if their parents had money they went to Europe one summer to see the world. Then after college they got a job teaching, and have never worked or lived outside of a school.”

Many of us had different careers before we became teachers. For example, in my building alone, I work with former carpenters, construction workers, nurses, federal government workers, policemen, firefighters, and career military personnel. Are you implying that these former careers of many of our teachers don’t qualify as “real world?” Many of our teachers gave up lucrative careers to be with your kids, helping them understand what the real world actually is. We bring to the table a wealth of “real world” experience and hands-on knowledge to your children. Your comment is not only offensive, but downright ignorant.

As a teacher, I don’t want to carry a gun in school. But what I do possess in my weaponry are some things called, respect, love, knowledge, and common sense. These are the weapons I use to help teach your children how to function in the “real world.” I believe a lot of these “weapons” will go a lot farther than anything the bullets of a gun could ever instill upon the young minds of our children.


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16 responses

  1. Alex

    This is going to be off topic, as the only thing that brought me here was a search result for teachers being less experienced with the “real world.” But to begin, I’ll clarify my agreement with this article’s author – the reasons given for teachers not having guns were blindingly stupid and nonsensical.

    I do however think that there is something negative that comes from the fact that many or perhaps most teachers have lived most of their lives within the educational system. I won’t be so arrogant as to use the phrase “outside of the real world,” but I think “business world” is perhaps fair. As a former teacher, I can say that working in the corporate world and as a private business owner has given me a perspective on the importance and value of business in the United States that I lacked as a teacher. There is a pervasive trend in schools in this country to villainize American businesses and corporations, or at least to fail in defending the value that they bring. There is also a gap between the types of skills that are stressed in schools versus the ones that will serve people best in the business world. There are of course many alternative teaching systems employed to attempt to address these deficits, but the mainstream approach does not give the majority of students the skills they need to really be successful. I also believe that our approach to instruction is largely (but not solely) to blame for the shortage of women pursuing careers in science and technology. Success after school often requires dedicated, self-directed learning, leadership skills, strong interests and desire. A lecture-heavy teaching system is very much hit or miss for distilling these traits.

    There are obviously many dedicated teachers who have stayed close to the educational system most of their lives, and the nurturing, supportive and patient characteristics of many of these people has irreplaceable value in education. But it seems like it must also be true that more varied experience will provide additional perspective that leads to different approaches in teaching.

    September 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

  2. Reblogged this on bombayjewess and commented:
    Those who can’t, won’t.

    June 4, 2014 at 5:30 am

  3. Peter Blanton

    lwk2431, I’m not sure where you get your “facts” about “most of the school murderers…” Have you interviewed any of the few who’ve survived? Because what you’re saying doesn’t really mesh well with abnormal psychology. I’m not going to say “the fact is…” because anything either of us say on the subject of how these people see the world is purely conjecture, but my guess is that these people are angry, and fucked up, and want to take it out on the world. They’re attempting a form of suicide by cop, and most of them burn through the rage while committing such a heinous deed, and then kill themselves when they’ve burned through it, or when there’s no opportunity to continue. Very few of them “wet their pants and kill themselves, or surrender if anybody shoots back at them.” In most cases, they’re dead before anyone can fire back. So your theory of teachers carrying guns being a positive thing is really based upon “facts” that you’ve just pulled out of your ass.

    There are many reasons why school murderers decide to do their thing, some of which we can guess about, but most of which are beyond our ken. So let’s try and stick to things here that we can understand.

    Teaching is hard. Really hard. I used to teach college level history, which is nothing compared to younger grades, and it was difficult enough. So much of teaching involves communicating with your students, of connecting with them, so you can teach them and help them. Connecting with them is the hardest part, and involves a variety of things as has already been pointed out here. But if the teacher is put into a position where they’re afraid of the students, or are seen to be afraid enough to carry a gun for protection against the students, it’s damn near impossible to connect. Sure, they may well have a better chance of getting through the day without problems (although that’s still pure conjecture, and I’m not sure I believe it). But they’re going to have a much harder time connecting with the kids, and therefore have a much more difficult time teaching them anything. Arming the teachers doesn’t do anything more than simply turn the classroom into yet another armed camp. And if you really think having more guns is going to solve the problem, I’d direct you an incident in 2009 that you may have forgotten — when a lone gunman killed 13 and wounded 32 others at Fort Hood, the largest US Military base in the world. The presence of guns and people trained in their use certainly didn’t stop that. Do you really think it would help in the classroom?

    By the way… in Ste.Anne-de-Bellevue, an isolated community in Upper British Columbia, teachers have been unable to carry concealed handguns for a couple of years now, with no problems at all. I’d say that rather than giving a raise to any teacher willing to get a permit, perhaps they should get a reprimand if they carry a gun in a classroom. Because if they’re doing that, they may not have any problems with safety in the classroom, but they’re probably not doing a very good job of connecting with and teaching our children.

    January 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

  4. Lets just remember that those who are the most critical of teachers would pee their pants & cry for mommy in less than a week if faced with a class to teach, & I’m talking a class of reasonably well behaved 1st graders- not even your typical middle or HS kids.

    January 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

  5. Beautiful reply to an ignorant know-it-al.

    January 12, 2013 at 4:05 am

    • I thought so. :)

      January 12, 2013 at 5:00 am

    • Angila

      Thank you.

      January 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  6. Robb Cobb = Patronizing as hell, imo. Think he may be white and old?

    January 12, 2013 at 2:34 am

    • Heh. What are the odds? :D

      January 12, 2013 at 4:06 am

  7. onibabamama

    I can’t believe that letter was published. It seriously sounds like an essay a reasonably bright (but ignorant) fifth grader might write!

    January 12, 2013 at 12:27 am

    • Yeah. Unfortunately, that’s adult-level for far too many in our country. Not sure whether the editor is ignorant too, or just shining a light on ignorance. I guess we’ll see whether they print her edited letter.

      January 12, 2013 at 4:09 am

    • Angila

      I believe in his right to freedom of speech and I believe the newspaper has the right of freedom of press. It does make them both look pretty lame though. When I read my response to my students, one young man said, “why did you even give him the satisfaction of a response? He is clearly an idiot.” Awe, that made me smile…out of the mouths of babes (however, I teach seniors….).

      January 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  8. That’s telling him! Well done, teacher.

    January 12, 2013 at 12:13 am

    • Seconded.

      January 12, 2013 at 4:07 am

    • Angila

      Thank you so much!

      January 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  9. lwk2431

    My wife is a teacher of very young children like the one’s killed in Connecticut. We have had discussions and she would consider getting a license to carry a concealed handgun and carry it to school. I heard her principal say that she feels safer when armed people (like off duty police officers) are in her school with concealed guns.

    The fact is that most of the school murderers are abject cowards looking to kill themselves surrounded by the bodies of their victims. But they almost all wet their pants and kill themselves, or surrender if anybody shoots back at them.

    Teachers don’t have to be superb shots of SWAT trained. Just shooting back at a lot of these guys will stop them cold.

    BTW, in Harrold, a small isolated community in Texas, teachers have been carrying concealed handguns for a couple years now without any problems at all. I say give a pay raise to any teacher willing to get a permit!

    January 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm

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