Monday, May 20, 2013

What One Student Rant by Jeff Bliss Doesn't Tell Us

IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE NEWS REPORT AND VIDEO of Jeff Bliss going off on the teacher in his World History class, you should check out the link.

The “in-depth analysis” by Channel WFAA fills up two minutes and forty-one seconds of valuable air time. More than 3.8 million people have watched it. Thousands have felt a strange urge to comment. The actual rant lasts only ninety seconds. You can see the original on YouTube. It’s listed under the title: “Jeff Bliss Rant against Lazy Teacher.”

And here’s what’s so cool.

All you need to do is invest a snippet of time. Once you finish you know all you need to know about U.S. education. You can be a school critic! That’s what many who enjoy this brief glimpse of life in one Texas classroom decide.

On one of the videos the “top comment” was: “That teacher ought to be fired.” It had 85 “likes” and no “dislikes” at all.

I added the first.

As a former educator, I admit I watched the video and perused comments with a bit of a bias. I noticed, for example, that many newly-minted experts seemed minimally grounded in logic and reality. If anything, I felt bad because maybe schools aren’t doing a good job teaching critical thinking.

When I clicked on the “Lazy Teacher” video, for example, there were already 3,300 comments. Clearly, not all who felt compelled to start typing spent as much time cogitating as they did whacking the keyboard with abandon  (click on the picture below to enlarge):




Don’t you love the internet—a place where ignorant individuals can call other human beings “niggerdumb” and make informed judgments about all the black kids in class “there for the easy ride” and “not learning jack shit.” And you can somehow tell a teacher is a “fucking fat feminist” and not even realize who really, really, sounds dumb?

It’s bad enough you get this kind of thinking from fools who comment via YouTube. But the Bliss clip has been featured on Fox News.

(Motto: We Hate Unionized Teachers—You Should Hate Them, Too!)

Again, we are dealing with ninety seconds of video, in one classroom, an incident involving one teacher and one student. We have not heard the teacher’s explanation and if we rely on Fox News we never will.

Logically, then, we can’t draw broad conclusions. Nevertheless, many of the Fox Faithful do (although not all are sympathetic to Mr. Bliss and his predicament):

Donna Ramsey Bowen: The Unions have ruined our schools....among other things. Unions were great when they were started. Now, they hurt more than they help. Teachers are a good example of that. Teachers do not actually have to "teach" any longer and they cannot be fired because the Unions have all these regulations the school must follow first. Most Unions require someone to get in trouble at least 3 times - and it has to be for the Exact same thing - before they can be fired

Betty Shelton: Teachers have gotten lazy over the last 30 years. That is why kids can't read at grade level. And End of Grade Or End Of Course test are ignored and child is passed to the next grade or gradeuated.

Mary Long: Right ON! This is why we have nothing but Illiteracy in this country...Teachers care about their pay, not the students. Public Education needs to GO AWAY! We have a PATHETIC work force with Teachers and Unions across the board....All about the money....NO QUALITY in Education.

Debi Krupna Mielach: LOVE this kid!!! More passion in that short clip than that teacher probably showed in the entire school year. God bless you, Mr. Bliss. Don't lose your fire!


Here, I am thinking to myself. I am wondering how Debi sees through walls into other rooms and around corners, etc. I am thinking I’d like to be able to ask: “Ms. Mielach, if I have a video of you sitting on the toilet for ninety seconds does that prove you have been seated on the toilet all year?

That’s what, logically, I am thinking. Many other commentators are apparently typing as fast as they can. This is much faster than they can think:

Arlene Parson: This kid has a future as a motivational speaker at a teacher's convention. Keep it up Mr. Bliss.

Josh Stringer: I hope she gets fired. She was only doing the minimum to get a paycheck. Most places I know you would get fired unless you work at mcdonalds.

Sean Denaris: Listen to the teacher sounds so bored. Likely class taught the same way. Wish more people would stand up.

Beth McKenna Wade: Kudos to this kid... Sadly "teachers" like this are common place in alot of our schools these days!!

Jason Robertson: paid leave? for get that you don't work you don't get paid. I can not stand unions they have screwed up my childhood, rrrrrr and who pays to have a teacher that is not working

(Okay, now we know that the Fox Message has been sinking in to plenty of otherwise empty heads. Unions are terrible. Union members are bums.)

I decide if I’m going to comment, I should know more. I watch several interviews. There are plenty. All feature Mr. Bliss. None allow us to hear from the teacher. Her name is Julie Phung.


Jeff Bliss comments on an incident at Duncanville High School in Texas.

Here’s what I notice:

1. During the original rant the rest of the class appears to be working.

2. Say what you want about the young man's message, his rant eats up ninety seconds of education for every other kid in the room.

3. Bliss is far angrier than the teacher—and if her responses seem tepid we cannot know how much she cares about teaching. (If you are a teacher you don’t want to have this sort of situation escalate. You want the student to exit the room quickly and you want the rest of the kids to remain on task.)

4. Most of the Bliss interviews cut off the last part of the rant. If Bliss sounds eloquent in spots he sounds belligerent at the end. Again, we don’t know what sentiments motivate him.

5. What precipitated this incident? At some point Phung told him to “stop bitchin’.” It’s an inelegant choice of words but in a high school not something kids and teachers don’t hear every day.

6. Apparently, Bliss wanted to know why his class hadn’t had more time to prepare for the STAR test, the Texas standardized tests. These are the kinds of tests good teachers hate, the kind most feel are making education worse. Bliss is angry because his instructor keeps handing out packets. All I know is that in my final year in the classroom that’s what we were ordered to do. Keep using those packets, specially prepared by the State of Ohio (in my case), because we must raise test scores!


I HATE TO BREAK IT TO THE CRITICS, to young Bliss, or school reformers, but you don’t measure “inspiration” with standardized testing.

I still have an abiding interest in the future of American education. So I watch several more interviews. Not a peep from Ms. Phung. I only hear what Bliss thinks. I discover that he is an 18-year-old sophomore. By admission, he has failed once, during his freshman year. Based on age, I assume he has been held back twice.

He started ninth grade a second time, lasted a semester, and dropped out.

Was Bliss previously a terrible student? Did he have attendance problems? Were there substance abuse issues? Problems in the home? How is he doing now in other classes? Has he truly turned his life around? Is he working diligently? Or, is he a troublemaker and a loose cannon? From the evidence we possess we don’t know.

We do know Bliss is back in school. That speaks greatly to his credit.

I spend ten minutes watching the “Jeff Bliss’ Interview on Fox4.” I find myself liking some of what he says. His mother sounds nice and doesn’t want the teacher fired. I notice that there is no mention of a father in any story.

I come away from this excursion into the world of YouTube and Facebook commentary still not feeling like I can make any judgments.

Well, except one.

I have noticed in recent years that bashing public school teachers and making wild claims—that America’s public schools are failing—all failing—and all failing because of unions—has now become a right-wing sport.

The only definitive statement I will make is that people who make broad generalizations based on limited evidence are ignorant. It’s like convicting someone of a murder that took place in Dallas because at the time the “suspect” was, in fact, a human being living in Texas.

I’m amazed by how many unenlightened individuals feel they can judge Ms. Phung after ninety seconds. Then:  they compound their error by using one erroneous conclusion as foundation for another.

SOMEONE IN THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO SPEAK UP for all the good teachers. For all we know, Ms. Phung may even be one.


P. S. Let us wish Mr. Bliss great success in all his future educational endeavors.

*

IF YOU LIKE THIS you might like my book: Two Legs Suffice: Lessons Learned by Teaching, available now on Amazon




38 comments:

  1. Kudos, Mr. V. So many of our best teachers have been turned into glorified babysitting paper pushers. Not because they don't care about their students or have a passion for educating our youth. They can't teach because the tests won't let them. And they can't instruct students in how to be productive citizens because heaven forbid you tell a kid that not everyone is a winner the minute they pop out of the womb (they actually have to earn it). In makes me sad.

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  2. I totally agree, Thanks for doing the background reporting on this. I know that "handing out packets" and using this as a "substitute for real teaching" probably was not the case. These tests are required by the states (I presume to get educational funding?) and not the teacher's idea at all! All this excess testing is usually something teachers prefer NOT to do. Thanks again, your article was very good; yes, we do need more instruction in the classroom on critical thinking (many students get -0- in their homes these days!)
    I appreciate teachers now, more than when I was younger and can see how they are the new political scapegoats!-it's very unfair and narrow-minded of those who push this thinking forward. I won't name a particular political party except to say Fox News definitely pushes their agenda!

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    1. You are welcome. Last I heard, 232 districts in Texas were calling for cutbacks on testing, because the test was driving curriculum, costing tens of millions, and achieving nothing.

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    2. I wanted to try to find the ORIGINAL power points I saw that Jeff was complaining about. I found them 2 years ago. I wrote about this for Policymic. I am a college teacher of almost 20 years.

      I would have fired her had I been her supervisor. They were appalling and subliterate. It wouldn't take the brightest student to see an unqualified, unmotivated teacher. Sorry for this report, but this bright kid was CORRECT.

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  3. You really don't offer any substantial evidence that Mr. Bliss was wrong in his assessment of the teacher either. Maybe you would like a camera in your classroom so everyone can see what you do when you teach. Better yet, send the film to the government and grind your axe to them. They're the problem, right? Not Mr. Bliss or any of your fellow teachers.

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    1. You sound rather crabby. We cannot know if Bliss was wrong because we don't have enough evidence. We cannot know if he is right, either.

      Not enough evidence. You have to be on the dense side to miss the concept.

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    2. Her power points were on the internet (of 2-3 years prior to Jeff's complaint in class - she hadn't updated them). Student power points were better than the ones she provided!

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    3. What is your point?
      This somehow justifies behavior no good teacher would allow in class?

      1) Who cares how old the presentations were? The quality of the presentation is not based upon it's age. It's based upon the quality, clarity, and relevance of the information presented. Unless you have reason to believe that great changes to the history curriculum in TX had been made in the last 2-3 years, your point is pretty pointless.

      2) I'm not sure how it is you determine which presentations are hers and which are the students'. But again: So what? Every presentation of the teacher must be of superior quality? No. Student presentations are probably a project, and probably a group project at that. It's not reasonable to compare the two in most cases.

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    4. "You have to be on the dense side to miss the concept" great ad hominem argument.

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    5. Alas, the point is simple. We don't have enough evidence from the video to make any kind of judgment...except that we can't make a judgment because there's not enough we can see from the clip.

      That's not "ad hominem." That's logic.

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  4. It's amazing how much negativity one is able to spread in the name of anonymous. Especially when this individual didn't even bother to read your article in its entirety. I for one would love to open my classroom so that the public can see exactly what teaching is in the present day education system. I work hard every single day to educate and mold productive individuals. The critics should also set up a camera in my home and watch me correct papers and read professional journals until late at night when I, quite literally, fall asleep across my work only to have my family wake me up to go to bed.

    Ignorance is a cancer that has proven to be highly contagious. The irresponsibility of many media outlets is the vessel that spreads such baseless judgments and misinformation. A suggestion? Why not promote the dedicated individuals who serve in education instead of feeding into the mob mentality? I'm far from perfect, but I'm one of many who constantly strive to inspire and teach our future. I am fortunate enough to have had the option to choose from many lucrative professions but I CHOSE to teach. I graduated with a quadruple major, summa cum laude, 16th out of a class of 400, in four years from a highly competitive school. I am certainly not lazy, my take-home pay is $35,000 a year, I am a union member, and I am proud to be a public school teacher. There is nothing that anyone can rant, post or say that will change that or make me apologetic for my noble profession.

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    1. To be fair to the annoying anonymous you mention (and he or she does seem not to have read the post), this blog site is hard to figure out if you want to comment under your own name.

      And I am too computer illiterate to fix my own site.

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  5. Thank you for addressing this. As high school teachers we take a lot of flack for student's lack of inspiration and drive and we get demonized a lot for a few individual teacher's lack of motivation towards their job. Yes, there are teachers are not so good at their jobs, but for the most part what people forget about the teaching profession is that teachers have a degree and options. There are easier ways to make 35K a year. Everyone talks about what the teacher can do and what the schools can do and nobody talks about the other people who are involved in a child's education. A child's education doesn't begin and end in the classroom. Your education begins and birth, not in Pre-Kindergarden. Children are constantly learning how to behave, what to value, and how to view themselves by the community as a whole.

    I understand a kid's desire to feel passionate about what it is he does, but many people leave out the simple fact that sometimes learning things is hard. Sometimes school is boring. We have this false idea that we can only work in school when we are inspired to do so. We tell teachers that they have to entertaining and not boring and then wonder why people's work ethic is so poor when they graduate high school. Would we indulge this kid's rant if it was towards his manager at McDonald's about how he needed to be "inspired" and "have his heart touched" to flip burgers?

    In my experience as a teacher the kids who don't actively participate in school are the ones who complain that they're bored. The kid who has joined a sport, or a club or an activity that they choose is the one who is not bored. The kids who walk into class on the first day, choose a seat in the back, put on their headphones and wait to be entertained are the ones who complain about bad teachers. The ones who sit up front, ask questions, make suggestions about what they can do to improve their experience in the classroom are the ones who inspire teachers to work harder and the ones who are inspired by the work that they do.

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  6. I welcome visitors to my room anytime without warning. Depending on the time if year we are doing packets for state testing, district testing, and local testing. Other times we are engaged in actual learning. If you are not an educator or someone who works in a school, you have no clue what we do. A ninety minute video can not tell you anything. Moods in a classroom change by the minute. Social media is utilized to discredit educators as a joke by students who are angry about their ineptness in education. Bliss needs support in his educational career, but also discipline for his rant. When you have taught in an actual classroom, not as a sub, maybe then you will understand the plight of a teacher.

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  7. Don't let them distract from the issue. There are billions of dollars "available" for anyone who can take education from the public to the private sector. That would spell disaster not only for education but for democracy. But the advocates of corporate education don't actually care about education, its quality, or results. Most of them couldn't spell the word, let alone speak meaningfully to the issues involved. They see kids as potential profit, nothing more -- and the model of education they advocate doesn't even work well in the business world, applied to inanimate objects. It's smoke and mirrors when they blame the unions. Don't fall for their spin. Kids are human beings, not potential dollars and cents.

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    1. Amen to that; Rupert Murdoch already made that clear and now he's a player in education technology with Wireless Generation/Amplify. Joel I. Klein, former chancellor of NYC schools is his point man...at $4.5 million per year.

      Naturally, Klein never taught a day in his life.

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  8. If you were this student's teacher, how would you respond to him?

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    1. Not sure, I'd have to know more about the young man. If his attitude was generally good, I'd follow him out to the hall and we'd talk immediately. If he's not doing well in class, I might kind of chew him out...I'd tell him I liked him (I liked probably 4,996 out of the 5,000 students I had); but the last part of his rant, I think he's pretty rude.

      All discipline should depend on what works best with the kid.

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  9. I agree that we are surely lacking context and even if this video is reflective of her regular practice, is it highly possible the system has allowed or even encouraged this teacher to settle into ways that might not be as effective for students. Perhaps this teacher tried earlier in her career to do something innovative and exciting, but she could not manage it well because she was a new teacher and an older teacher told her she had to "get things under control" before she was going to try stuff like that and she never got there because she was teaching a group of students who struggle to focus, or who come in significantly below grade level. I also wonder if the commenters who suggest firing her are sure that there are candidates lined up around the corner to take her place should she be relieved of her duty.

    However, it does make me a little nervous to suggest that a child's fatherless status could explain why he is deviant. It is questionable that he has several rants and does make you wonder if he likes anyone there at all, but that does not make him incorrect about his assessment either. I have been in a lot of schools doing visits with teachers planned or unscheduled drop-ins, and there are some teachers, in the minority, but still many out there, that see their job as an unskilled labor position. If she did tell the students "I am just here for the paycheck" as the student claims and has only administered packets all year, she would not be alone in her stance. Again, I would suggest that if this is happening, this is a systemic failure and cannot help but assume she has an administrator who is neglecting her or has bigger fish to fry because of a small number of good teachers in the community where she lives.

    I agree with this last comment that John makes, that it is troubling she doesn't try to see him out in the hall, but as you say, we cannot know all the circumstances to consider ourselves experts.

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    1. Flem, as a retired teacher, I know there are some people in classrooms who just take up space. My experience with kids raised by one parent only was that they tended to have more problems in school.

      Not always, of course, and two parents, if bad, don't come close to equaling one good.

      My main point was: we just don't know enough about either the teacher or student (or even the situation) to be blasting anyone.

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  10. Thank you, Mr. Viall, for your refreshing points. I know this story is old and I feel a little silly still thinking about it, but I still find it interesting. I find much of the internet commentary on this quite tiresome. People jump to conclusions and refuse to consider anything else. After looking deeper into it, it does look like this teacher may be as bad as she is made out to be, but this teacher shouldn't have been put on display for the whole world to judge her. It looks like Jeff Bliss was a student who rightly wanted better education, but he was given excessive praise for unoriginal remarks. He is by far not the first student or last student to express frustration to a teacher. I get tired of people making the hasty generalization that politeness never works and that only troublemakers bring about positive change. I wonder if Jeff Bliss or anyone else tried to change the situation before resorting to this. I also wonder how much effort was made. I wonder if anyone tried to encourage her and guide her rather than complain to her. I don't believe many of us outgrow the need to be nurtured and treated with understanding and the need to be treated kindly and politely even when we don't deserve it.
    It is also a shame that people who express reasonable opinions get personally attacked or treated rudely. I made some comments about this story online, trying very hard to express my thoughts politely. I don't remember how many, but some responded rudely. Most weren't too bothersome. One person in particular made assumptions about my character. This person told me that he or she weeps for me given my lack of ambition. This person also accused me of being an apologist. Why? Just because I wasn't singing Jeff's praises? Just because I don't romanticize this story? Just because I don't think we should jump to conclusions? Just because I value the dignity of questionable teachers? Just because I think students as well as teachers should take responsibility? Who knows? My post was called close-minded when I am the one trying to get people to consider other perspectives. It is not very open-minded to use words like “obviously” when arguing. That is a way to discourage honest debate. I wish people would stick to points rather than making assumptions about strangers. My personal character is neither here nor there when I am not the subject. I do agree that many people have not been taught to critically think. That is why they are rude, reactive, emotive, and close-minded.
    Mr. Viall, I am conservative, but I judge education in the USA to be a very mixed bag based on my experience and information, first and second hand. I have positive and negative things to say about it. Fox News is not mainstream, but I hope you are fair to it. I know it is not without bias and misinformation. Other networks have that as well. They tend to have their objective contributers and their nonobjective ones. We need to look at everything with an open mind and a critical eye. Just because something is mainstream doesn't mean it is accurate.

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    1. Your reasoned points convince me I would like talking to you. I'd probably like Bliss in class, too. He has some fire. From what I can see on the video, though, I have no way of assessing the overall attitude or approach of the teacher.

      Your experience mirrors mine, however--a certain percentage of those who comment can hide behind the keyboard and be extremely rude without having to face anyone.

      Comment on any post of mine in this fashion and I will be glad to hear from a reasoned conservative. My father was a good conservative for sure.

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    2. Yes, I am aware that people often behave online how they wouldn't behave in person. I guess they don't feel like they are insulting real people or something. I find classless and fallacious arguing very irritating.

      Jeff seems very likable aside from his frustrated moment. He was said to be quiet by nature.

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  11. I agree that we cannot make assumptions based on a 90-second clip. As a student, I realized that if I try my hardest, behave properly, manage stress properly, and befriend my teachers, school becomes quite fun. I think that Mr. Bliss needs to lighten up.

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    1. It's nice to read the words of a reasoned, proactive young person. They are either rare or they don't get much attention. Many seem to think that proactive people are those who are overly dominant and needlessly troublesome. Proactive people are those who take control of their own lives and take responsibility. They don't wait around for someone else to make their lives happen. They don't blame others when things don't go their way.

      I find what you say refreshing. There are many wonderful young people, but it's too easy to forget that.

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  12. Opinions are all well and good but as a former teacher you should know to look at the facts. Julie Phung was the teacher in question and I did my research, her rating as a teacher is 1.7 out of 5.0. And the Duncanville ISD graduation rate is 58%. The average graduation rate is 80% in Texas which makes Duncanville ISD below average.
    Now some could pull the race card and try to say the graduation rate is so low because the student body is 92% black but we both know that is bull hockey. Yes, the teacher student ratio is 16:1 and the average is 14:1 for the state of Texas. But is that an excuse to just pass out packets? When I was in school (a decade ago) we did packets as well but the teacher was there reviewing the packets with us and answering questions. And in the video we all saw Mrs Phung was just sitting behind the desk, not standing in front of the class with one of those packets in hand.
    You say that time interrupted the other students class time? From the short few seconds we saw in the video most of the students were looking up and didn't even have anything in front of them. I take that back, one student had a phone in their hand.
    And the student filming it as well? When you taught would you let students have their phones out while they were supposed to be studying for a test that could affect your job and their education? I think not.
    While Jeff Bliss didn't vent an original frustration he did vent what he felt. Something that other students have felt before myself included. I too have had bad teachers that have done the same and I have had good teachers that wouldn't sit down while a lesson was being taught. They were up and around, interacting with the students.
    So do we discount what he is saying because he dropped out before? I think not. The proof is in the video. While Jeff was venting his frustration Mrs Phung was dismissive and saying that he was wasting her time, not the students time. Not to mention the way she tried talking over him when he was trying to express his point.
    And the aftermath. Would a good teacher be put on indefinite paid leave? How about the punishment Jeff received? Granted he approached the situation the wrong way but what was said is right. The best teacher that I have ever had was on his feet interacting with the class. He challenged us. He would ask questions alluding to the wrong answer to try and give the students a chance to give the right answer and have a greater satisfaction in giving the answer.
    The worst teacher that I have ever had? Sat behind her desk and just handed out work just as Mrs Phung has done.

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    1. Easy, fella. My point is fairly simple. You can't make any judgment about this teacher from the film clip shown. One slice from any class can be deceptive. I don't question your research; it could be you are right, at least about Phung. That doesn't mean drawing conclusions from a short clip is correct, unless by chance.

      I've worked with some teachers who rarely moved from behind their desk; but I never judged anyone based on ninety seconds spent in their classroom.

      Simple point.

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  13. I've read the article as well as all of the comments. Today was the first time I've come across this video (Yes, I must live under a rock :-)). I am a 32 year old mother of 2. My daughter's intelligence level tests off the charts, currently speaking over 1500 words at the age of 2.5. My son, well it's just too early to tell since he's still a baby. I am the product of Public Schooling while my husband is the product of Private Schooling. I provide this background to you because it molds my interpretation of this video.
    My biggest fear, besides school shootings, is the education system failing my children, in some way. Of course, as parents, we are as equally responsible for our children's education as any/all teachers are. Keeping a child/young adult/adult engaged in any lesson plan is always the hardest part but it's up to us as the providers to find that way. In a classroom setting, there could be anywhere from 14-24 (if not more) kids/young adults there that all learn/interact/become & stay engaged in different ways. I've learned throughout my career the value of the phrase "Know Your Audience." Sometimes, I think it does seem plausible that teachers will gravitate towards the majority rather than the minority for teaching/engaging strategy & lesson plans.
    I don't disagree with the content coming from Jeff Bliss, maybe the context/delivery BUT I do believe there was a better way for Ms. Phung to handle it. I'm all for the idea of "get the disturbance out of the class as quickly as possible without creating an issue" BUT, she should have followed up with him in the hall or gently escorted him to the door saying something along the lines of "we can discuss this further out in the hall together." Would I want to be judged by a randomly plucked 90 seconds of my career, absolutely not, but I can say that in a moment that truly could have defined her character & morality as a teacher, she failed. If her response was more intuitive, this video would not have gone viral. She is the reason it has had the impact it has, not Jeff. Jeff isn't saying anything that's new... a lot of people feel this way. The reason he can articulate it so well is because he is older than most of the students and has had the time to think about. Clearly, this is something that has been bothering him about this teacher so he's had a benefit that Ms. Phung hasn't had. Ms. Phung did not respond to the element of surprise well.
    For the record, I had standardized testing, everyone does. My teachers were always engaged with us UNLESS it was a timed, simulated practice exam day.
    I agree, we don't know enough to truly make any judgment, and I also agree that ignorance breeds ignorance. The internet "comments" sections is a mind numbing display of American's taking the "Freedom of Speech" liberty to the extreme but not being intelligent to know when to stop or when to think about what they are typing prior to typing it." I don't really have a point to what I am writing, I just wanted to comment because your article as well as the comments brought up these thoughts in me as I was reading... Thank you.
    ~Kelly

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    1. You seem like a rational observer. We can always use more of those.

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  14. Did anyone notice in the original video that the ranting student, even though he was speaking to the teacher the entire time, was facing the person holding the camera for most of the time? I would like to believe that his sincerity was real, but this looked like it was a set-up from the beginning, and that he had planned to do this so that it would go viral...which it did, and he's capitalized on it with several interviews. I know there are plenty of sub-par teachers out there, but this guy seems to be looking for the proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

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    1. He's facing the camera because he's walking towards the door where the student holding the camera is. When he looks directly at the camera, the other student puts it down because now Jeff may have garnered that he's being recorded. Most of the time Jeff is either looking at the teacher or the class as a whole.
      I've watched the interviews too and he seems more nervous than anything. Wringing his hands, or keeping them clasped together, both of which are signs of being nervous or anxiety. I've also looked elsewhere and after those first couple of interviews he drops off the map, but still continues to try to speak up for change.

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  15. I have been searching for a follow up to this story and really haven't heard anything which is unfortunate. The school did their own investigation as to whether or not there was misconduct on the teacher's part. It is unfortunate that if she was found to have actually been doing her duties as a teacher that this was not publicly available information since this video most certainly has tainted her image (whether for valid reasons or not).

    But I do think one thing in your analysis is not quite accurate. If you look at the other students in the video, not one has any work on their desk being done. Three have their heads on their desks as if they are sleeping and two seem to be picking at their nails. Given that we do not know what was going on before the video started there are many explanations for this (maybe class hadn't started yet, maybe he had been ranting for a while, maybe the teacher literally was not teaching during class, etc.) but it cannot be assumed that the student "ate up" valuable lesson time when the students literally did not even have a pencil and paper on their desks and multiple students seem to be taking the time to rest their heads.

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    1. You may well be right; I know my classroom rule was no sleeping allowed. My main point has always been: from this very short video clip we can draw no real conclusions. And the racist comments from several who responded were nauseating.

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  16. Everyone is losing the purpose here. Regardless of the students in the classroom color. Regardless the age or grade of Bliss. The concern is that one student spoke out on being bored in the classroom. Thank God for people like Bliss for speaking up.

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  17. People get behind him because of their personal experience with teachers that are exactly what he describes. It's very easy to want to feel that your instantaneous judgment of this individual needs to be defended especially when you are motivated to rush to the aid of a fellow teacher and / or adult. Asking the planet to critique their comments on Youtube at the level of a professional writer, underwriter, or lawyer lest they be insulted and ridiculed here makes me question your sincerity - or at the very least, question your understanding of the pliability of language in general.

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    1. Typically, you question my sincerity based on reading an article, without knowing me. I think you proved my point. People were much too quick to judge from the very limited evidence available.

      I'm not insincere. I'm a big fan of evidence.

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