To The Daily Sun,
I have three college degrees and retired from a very successful career as a high tech executive.
A few years ago I was hired by a previous principal of Laconia High School as a substitute teacher. The pay is terrible, but I think the Laconia taxpayers can use the money more than I can. My motivation was to give something back to the community and teach kids as much as I can, based on my knowledge and experience.
I am sad to report that the Laconia schools are in decline. Let me tell you how.
Too many of the students are unmotivated. Too few can articulate a career objective. The school administration seems beaten down the the preponderance of discipline problems. Teachers are showing the same abandonment. Both boys and girls are offenders.
The students show a general lack of respect for authority, age and experience. A growing number of students choose not to participate in the daily Pledge of Allegiance. After the Pledge, there are usually several important announcements from the main office. A general mode of behavior is for the students to talk or fool around, rudely avoiding the announcements, and preventing those who may be interested in listening to them.
Cell phones are everywhere. There was a token ban on them, but they re-emerged, as students sometimes say they need them for a "calculator". Students also believe that they have the right to listen to music, or whatever other programming during class. Computer-based research projects often collapse into video games when the students think the teacher isn't looking.
Bathroom breaks and trips "to get a drink" are all too common and the privileged is often abused. More and more students just give up and refuse to do the classwork or homework.
Course material is geared to the lowest common ability level. So called "advanced" classes show little marginal improvement in challenge to the students.
As a substitute teacher in a recent Algebra class I observed three students who refused to do the work. One student said, "I just don't understand this." I offered to help. Another student who seemed to know the subject offered to help but the student refused her help. I sent three offending students to the office.
I know a lot of families in Laconia. Students from good families seem to do well, but are frustrated by so many rotten apples in the barrel. Students from broken families or indifferent parents do poorly and are big part of the discipline problem.
I must say the situation is somewhat better at the Middle School. Those students haven't learned how to game the system.
Since the last assignment in the Algebra class, I have not been called back to substitute. I guess the administration doesn't want someone rocking the boat. Mediocrity and lack of discipline seem to be the order of the day at the Laconia High School.
Walter F. Kalin