The Board meeting of May 5 opened with a story from Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. It was the heartwarming tale of a teacher's interactions with a student, "little Teddy Stoddard". The Superintendent told it as part of her observance of Teacher Appreciation Week.
The story itself was so sugar sweet it made my teeth hurt. I think four people in the room were struck with diabetes just from hearing it. Despite those charms, the story bugged me. It sounded like something from the Reader's Digest. It didn't ring true. It wasn't recent. It wasn't from Seattle. Doesn't she have any recent, local stories of teacher success? And what does it mean that she doesn't? More than that, her delivery of it bugged me. It sounded like she was reading it cold, as if she was reading it aloud for the first time. Call me grumpy, but everything about this story hit me sideways.
Today I Googled it and, sure enough, the story is fictitious. See this site or this one.
Why does this bug me? Why do I find it offensive that the Superintendent tries to honor the teachers in Seattle's schools in 2010 with a brief bit of fiction from 1976? Couldn't she find any real stories of real teachers doing real work here and now in Seattle? I guess not. How sad. There was supposed to be a Teacher Appreciation Powerpoint, but after the emotionally draining experience of her story she forgot to show it.
I don't recall if the Superintendent introduced the story as real. I couldn't tell you how she changed the story from the originally published version.
Again, I can't quite put my finger on why it bugs me so much that she chose to tell this fake story on this occassion, but it does.