Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

OMG! Teacher connects with his students

In response to Bill Pirkle’s letter to the editor (May 21) about Andrew Miller’s teaching practices, he fails to see the idea behind assignments using text-messaging lingo.

The assignment was part of the AP English Language and Composition course where students were to use their MySpace profiles and analyze the visual rhetoric behind their pictures. The use of text-messaging lingo (LOL and BFF) was only part of the assignment, when students were encouraged to add their “About Me” section to further their analyzing on rhetoric behind the persona they portray on their MySpace page.

“This teacher” has not apparently decided to learn these acronyms to communicate with his students, as he uses them in his own life to communicate with his friends outside of school, because in case you didn’t know teachers have lives outside of the classroom.

Mr. Miller’s “admirable” attempt to lower himself to our level, the student level, appears to be working. Ask any of his loyal students and they’ll tell you that having a teacher in touch with today’s scene is far easier to communicate with than the 60-year-old teacher whose hearing aid is turned all the way up and still believes the ruler across the hand is the best way to punish unruly students.

Call it lowering himself to our level if you want, but in reality he is merely connecting with us on our apparently “lowered level” to bring us up. A teacher who’s in touch with his inner child and embraces the many aspects of today’s society is able to connect with his students on a different level, making them excited to come to class and learn.

What Mr. Pirkle has failed to see is that, even though Miller has embraced many of today’s technology fads, it makes him a better teacher. By allowing students to e-mail him and ask for missed work or the last minute — “my printer stopped working, can I e-mail you the essay that’s due today?” — Miller and his students are able to keep in touch, giving them every opportunity under the sun to succeed.

As for Mr. Pirkle’s hidden agenda of a teacher dress code, I ask: Does it matter what teachers wear if students are learning? Perhaps he has a database of statistics that I am unaware of, showing a direct correlation between a teacher’s attire and Little Jimmy’s test scores. Or maybe that’s the excuse Mr. Pirkle is still holding onto as to why he didn’t pass his ninth-grade algebra final.

Colin Harris,

Federal Way

Old school vs. new school in education

Hang onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because this “old fogy” is about to agree with the letter and opinion from Bill Pirkle (May 21).

I would like to know: When teachers stopped being teachers and became “buddies” with their students by speaking their language and dressing like their students? When did the “children” start deciding the dress codes, and what is important in the learning department? When did parents stop being the parent and let their “children” decide what to wear to school, what to eat for dinner, if anything, that isn’t bought at the fast food joints?

These are just hypothetical questions because there are many school districts and individual schools with strict dress codes as there are parents out there calling the shots on what their children can and cannot wear to school — and dinner is for the whole family to be together. In many of these schools and homes, the teacher is there to teach and set the standards, for their students, at becoming adults. Parents are there to teach their offspring about respect and proper guidance, and give them love, before they send them out into the world.

Mr. Pirkle may be from the “old school,” like myself, but he can certainly see the direction the schools are heading here in Federal Way. You may or may not agree with him, but he has hit the nail on the head about what is being done, or not, in our schools, K-12. It is his opinion, and I find nothing wrong with his thinking, since I came from the same era as Mr. Pirkle, when kids were kids, teachers were teaching and parents were doing the best they could with parenting. These are just my opinions.

Pat Gee,

Federal Way

Jury duty seems a lot like slavery

In reply to Rae Iwamoto’s letter from the Federal Way court system expressing appreciation for jurors.

Former Federal Way Judge David Tracy wrote the thank you letter from May 21, 2005. I responded with the following rebuttal:

“The importance of a jury trial is its key to funding the salaries, benefits and egos of the members of the legal profession. There is little common sense in that arena, and jurors certainly can’t exercise it, limited as they are in deciphering legalese, rehearsed deliveries, practiced and contrived testimonies, and irrelevant rhetoric. Judges overrule jury verdicts when determined that they didn’t understand the evidence. They dismiss charges against a multiple DUI offender when the arresting officer can’t make court because of a broken leg: Hasn’t video testimony been used before? How about live TV concepts like everyday news coverage? How about the judge be relieved of duty because of a lack of common sense?

“As for feeling good about serving on a jury: Enjoy being harassed by interviewing attorneys? Being forced, as a single parent, to give up a week’s pay and care for your children, under threat of contempt by an unsympathetic judge? Sitting through all the time-wasting procedures that supposedly serve the justice process, but in actuality just add to the time lawyers get to bill for? Wondering why lawyers get to charge $100 to $300 an hour for their time, and you get $20 a day and a bus ticket? Wondering why you pay taxes to fund a public defender for a repeat criminal who’s been caught red-handed, and pleads “not guilty” because he hasn’t anything else to do, in hopes that the arresting officer breaks a leg, or forgets to dot an “i” on the report? Common sense doesn’t recognize technicalities.

“There is little comparison between a juror and a soldier. At least the soldier gets to shoot back. Jury duty is actually slavery: A practice that’s been outlawed for years. Forced to give up time and money to perform work that in most cases only benefits the legal system’s members, you may get arrested, fined or jailed if you don’t serve. Wake up, citizens! When jurors are paid attorney rates, and the lawyers get the $20 a day, maybe there will be some justice in the judicial system. Or when some common sense seeps into it.”

Not much has happened to alter my views. Those in control that could overhaul the system don’t want to: Their livelihoods might be at stake. Also, the constitution doesn’t say that the trial and defense attorneys have to be paid for by taxpayers.

Terry Slaton,

Federal Way

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