Meghan Trainor's Comment on Teachers Sparks Controversy
A recent social media scandal has sparked the conversation about society's perception of teachers.
Recently pop artist, Meghan Trainor received backlash from teachers all over social media because of a comment she made on her podcast. These educators felt their profession was being disrespected, specifically teachers on TikTok had a lot to say about this. This generated a response from the singer addressing the controversy her statement created in an apology video she posted shortly after the incident. Meghan Trainor said, “Teachers of TikTok and teachers of the world, I recently said F teachers on my podcast and it’s not how I feel. I was fired up because we were talking about how sending your kid to school here in America is so horrific and what all of us have to go through, but especially teachers, is not normal and is not ok.” Although many feel upset and disrespected by what the singer said, it has started the controversy of how society perceives teachers.
Perception of teachers can present itself in a variety of ways. Some may include the media, parents, students or even government laws. Mr. Wilson shares that he feels on the surface lots of people say they love teachers but that the treatment of teachers says otherwise. EHHS History teacher, Mr. Wilson says, “It is common in society to say such things as we love teachers or we support teachers. But I would view that as coffee talk.” He continued to share that local government laws, budgets, and actions are more symbolic of respect than individual speech. Mr. Wilson says, “Before our Connecticut house of representatives there was a bill that would have given teachers hazard pay, it would have given us a bonus in our pension based on teachers who taught during covid. This policy is not going to get passed. And this I would say demonstrates what I am saying.” Ms. Boisvert shares that when there are so many negative stories and experiences shared about teachers in the media it can often change the way society thinks about them. EHHS English teacher, Ms. Boisvert says, “I think especially with covid, we went from being heroes to being, as a country, villainized in a lot of places because we are trying to make things more inclusive." She continued to give an example of this by talking about how there is a lot of push back with social emotional learning. EHHS Assistant Principal, Mrs. Farotti, shares that she feels the media likes to focus on negative aspects of the profession and how this affects her ability to do her job. “In any profession no matter what it is there are people who don't do their job correctly and it seems like the media likes to find those people and make it bigger than it actually is.”
When it comes to parents, teachers at EHHS have expressed that it can come with a lot of challenges whether that be with a lack of respect, difficulty having conversations with parents, and even curriculum. Mr. Wilson explains that students often base their perception of teachers off of one negative experience they have with a particular teacher and how parents oftentimes feel they should have a say in the curriculum. He says, “From my perspective knowing a reasonable amount in my field and being pretty well credential I find that to be utterly offensive. They do not trust me to do my job and from my perspective I don’t think I have provided any basis to not have that trust.” Ms. Boisvert continues by sharing that new methods and concepts of teaching like social emotional learning can cause fear because people tend to be afraid of things that are new to them. “Because these are things people aren’t necessarily familiar with and are new, they're scary. When things are new and you don’t understand them you want to be afraid of it.” She also explains how society’s perception of the profession makes talking to adults difficult. EHHS Math Instructional Leader, Ms. Bauer says, "During covid everyone thought teachers were saints because parents quickly realized how hard it is to work with children all day but with the current uproar over the different curriculum that’s being pushed. I think people have a misconception about the curriculum. She continued to share that the common generalizations that are made about educators are very offensive to her. She says, “I get offended when it’s said that teachers don’t work hard, they get the summer off, and they are all left wing liberals that are pushing certain agendas. I am offended when these generalizations are made.”
Teachers at EHHS also explain how they feel they are not recognized for their huge accomplishments and hard work in today’s society. EHHS Language teacher, Mrs. Marsico says, “I would think and hope that some people still value what we do very much. We mold you, we are the beginning of every profession. But I also think there is another element of people who don’t value what we do.” Ms. Boisvert also shares her experience with this in her personal life. She shares, “Even though I am one of the most educated people in my family. I’m still viewed as just an English teacher by some of them. The reaction is not “she is an English teacher, look at all the things she did when she went to school and what she’s doing now.” It’s just “she teaches kids.” Mr.Wilson added that he doesn’t get paid extra or compensated for the success of his students or for going out of his way for his students. He says,“I get no bonus for having more kids pass the AP exam, I get no bonus for writing extra letters of recommendation, or helping kids write college application essays. I get no compensation for any of this. The only compensation is the notion of a job well done.”
Regarding Meghan Trainor's comment about teachers, lots of educators felt hurt and some even offended by the comment she made. Mr. Wilson says, “People fancy themselves as somehow experts based on anecdotal evidence. Because if you just depend on anecdotal evidence like TikTok to make grand claims about the state of education, I think that’s a very misguided approach." Ms. Boisvert explains how what Meghan had said made her feel. And also how much this could potentially affect teachers and influence the people that listen to her. She says, "I think this idea that public school teachers are traumatizing children is hateful rhetoric and is coming from an influencer. It’s got weight behind it and I don’t think she realizes how much weight is actually behind what she said. And the kind of influence it will have on teachers and their relationships with both students, the school boards, and the towns that they work in.” Mrs. Marsico shares how important it is to watch what you say especially in the public eye and how Meghan’s comment makes the generalization that all teachers are bad. She explains, “Anybody in the public eye has to watch what they say. I would think she had a bad experience with a teacher but she put the generalization on all of us. She should have thought before she opened her mouth because that's not something you can just apologize for and come back from.” Mrs. Farotti also adds, “People don’t realize that schooling is not just dumping knowledge on students. We are teaching you how to be a better member of society. We are teaching you how to interact with peers . . . She may not realize that yet because she is not in it yet. She has one very small child and she has one on the way. She doesn’t know what the education system is like. And she may have had a bad experience with a teacher. But we’ve all had bad experiences with everyone.”