40 Comments

    1. As a retired teacher, I loved Matt Damon’s remarks, and my respect for him has grown significantly. I loved teaching, because I loved learning and wanted to impart that love to my students. I taught in South Central LA and Compton, and I would say that maybe 5 % of the kids were really difficult–disruptive, etc. The other 95% were great.

      That said, students are coming from all kinds of environments. In high school, many of them had to work full time, some even supporting the family. Others lived with a grandparent or in a group home. Some were homeless. Some were recent immigrants. I could go on forever with impediments to learning. Yet I had students go on to Cal Berkeley, UCLA and other UC’s, many to Cal State campuses, etc.

      My working conditions were miserable–classrooms not cleaned, noise, bomb threats, chemical spills, gang invasions, few materials so that I had to supply my own (even books). Pay was not great. I spent many hours reading, revining and commenting on student papers. Tenure is only to protect good teachers from incompetent principals. The only reason I kept on teaching was my love of teaching and my love for the kids.

  1. He’s married, right? Any straight guys out there want to help me break them up? There’s a gorgeous Argentine woman in it for you.

  2. Does anyone have a source for that ’10 percent of people in any perfession…’ statistic? Is that just pulled out of his ass?
    And if he were a shity cameraman, he would be fired.

  3. I remember an episode of “Sliders” where they landed in an alternate reality and teachers, scholars, and scientists were revered like sports stars. Oh well, pure fantasy.

  4. As much as I enjoyed this, I have to say that in my experience the proportion of shitty teachers is higher than 10%. It was easily 50% for me.

      1. Possibly. It’s easier to spout conjecture on the internet than actually discuss things, I guess. But yeah, a bunch of my teachers were indeed shitty teachers, from being unable to control a class to having an entirely sciolistic understanding of their subjects.

        But no, you guys know better than me, I guess.

    1. I’ve always said, in regards to school, that you get out of it what you put into it. Coming from a high school that had a very marked divide between people who liked it and people who didn’t, I found that the people who complained about teachers (many of whom I had also had) just hated school in general.

      1. I went to two different secondary schools, one public and one grammar because we were no longer able to pay the exorbitant fees for the public school.

        One of my teachers gave me the go-ahead after vetting a potential project, only to tell me two months down the line that he would never have approved it as I wouldn’t have had time to complete it, recommending that I start a new project (two weeks from the deadline of my final exam coursework). He was then summoned to a meeting between myself, my parents and the headmaster and head of department, which he ignored.

        Another was a newly-qualified English Literature teacher who could barely spell to the point that we had to help her with her lessons on a regular basis. This is also in my final year.

        One of them lost all of our coursework folders and almost had a lawsuit brought against him for his ineptitude. In our final year.

        Just two examples off the top of my head. I’ve no idea what this deal is in America with the teachers and whatever, and like I said I thought Damon’s comments were spot-on. But Yeah, in my experience around 50% of teachers I know or studied under are the sort of people that make you say “what the fuck?”

      2. @ CRABS

        I think the general motive of why we all criticized (I thumbed down) your comment is not exactly because they are not true (we don’t know your school record, of course), but because you chose this post, where the attack currently being perpetrated against the working class in the U.S. is combated, to rant about your personal life. Even if it is true, it have nothing to do with whatever. Ok?

      3. @ P

        I didn’t choose it to rant about it. I said that I think that the idea that only 10% of teachers are shitty was being generous. Then elaborated when people responded.

  5. I am a Special Education Teacher’s Aide, and I agree with Matt that there is way more to it than the teacher. You try inviting 27 of todays 8 year olds to your house, have them sit for 6 hours on end, then I will come and test YOU, or drive you to the looney bin.

  6. As a teacher I say FUCK YES Matt Damon! Teaching is by far one of the most thankless, lowest paying, dog shit professions you can have – I do it because of what he said, it is my passion and I work my ass off all year, then all summer to better my craft and better educate and serve my students. If I wanted to not be in debt from college degrees well into my late 30s I’d have chosen literally any other professional position.

  7. It’s high time that Mr Schermer break his long connection with the rag that is Reason magazine and attempt to regain his lost credibility. This video shows that there is no difference whatsoever between them and The O’Reilly Factor in terms of journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty.

    1. Disagree entirely. Reason is excellent in critique of the war on drugs, the security state response to the war on terror, and creeping Christianist influence in schools. Call the folks at Reason what you will, but intellectually dishonest they certainly are not.

      That said, the “reporter” and cameraman came across as simple-minded and vapid. There is a reasonable point to be made about the problems of allowing mediocre, burned-out teachers to remain in crucial jobs. It’s just not that big a problem and, y’know, they weren’t bothering to actually make that point.

  8. Teachers should be lionized, not demonized. All this talk about evil teacher’s unions is just so much bullshit. Whenever a government goes totalitarian, the first people jailed/killed are the teachers. Just look at the Cultural Revolution, Cambodia, etc. Teachers are being singled out because they are democracy’s only hope. Since the powers-that-be are uninterested in a democracy, they are doing everything in their power to reduce the influence of teachers. Read Grapes of Wrath—it’s happening again and I fear for my country.

  9. Here’s the real answer to the Randian fucktards: we organize and get tenure because we can; we get all we can for ourselves; that’s what Donald Trump does, that’s what the Koch brothers do, that’s what all the partners at Goldman Sachs do, that’s what the management at Chase bank does, and that’s what we will do.

  10. Libertarians: indistinguishable from conservative Christians in every respect, except insofar as they want to smoke pot and get laid.

  11. @ CRABS

    What, exactly, were these “exhorbinant fees for the public school?” It seems to me like you’re unfamiliar with FAPE.

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