Tuesday, May 03, 2011

This is No Apple

   Teachers all over the place are eating free at Applebees today, and I think that is the most wonderful thing.
   Teachers are some of the most underrated and underappreciated and most important people in our society.  Now, I admit that I might be stumping a little bit because...oh...every one of my friends from high school went on to become a teacher, and the college I went to cranked out an awful lot of teachers, but it's hard to deny when you look at the evidence.  First of all, teachers have to put up with a lot of shit.  For some reason, it is not reinforced in today's children that teachers have authority and should be respected.  A lot of that stems from the fact that kids aren't stupid and the courts have taken a lot of teachers' ability to be authoritative away.  So they are stuck with a lot of ingrate little bastards who they can't do anything effective about.  Secondly, teachers are always bearing the brunt of the rising costs of education, and the declining amount of public funding.  So they are being asked to do a harder and harder job, all the while their pay is remaining the same and they are paying more and more for benefits, and they don't get a whole lot to begin with.  Plus, there is a tremendous amount of job uncertainty that comes with being a young teacher.  I have friends who have been teachers for like five years and they get laid off EVERY YEAR at the end of the school year.  Granted, they get called back almost every year but you never know. 
     Now I understand that teachers get a lot of flak for generally having strong unions, and for having a system of tenure that doesn't take into account or reward performance in any way, and sometimes I think that it is bullshit that all you have to do is survive.  But the more I think of it maybe that is okay, because teaching is not a good gig anymore - you are expected to be babysitter, parent, disciplinarian, and you are expected to make kids that don't care about doing well do well and who relatively often bust into your workplace and start shooting randomly - and maybe we should applaud those who don't jump ship at the first available opportunity.
     Well that is exactly what Applebee's, and a handful of other restaurants are doing today, which is officially Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you go into these places you get either a percentage off of your bill, or you get free food for nothing more than showing your pay stub or school ID.  And rightfully so.  Nobody gives the teachers apples anymore, so the least they should get is some Applebee's, right?  Applebee's is probably the most well-known and universal chain that is having a promotion (although not all locations are participating, so make sure to call ahead and ask first) for teachers.  Now I am sure that it varies from area to area, but it basically works like this: you call, then you go in with proper ID (which could range from Teacher's Union card to school ID to a class picture) and show it, and then you get to order off a special menu, and then you eat it.
      Well, it isn't exactly a special menu, but it is a very limited part of their regular menu.  This is where the corporate America-ing comes in, because if you have ever been to Applebee's or are familiar with their menu you will see that they aren't exactly offering the highest priced things on the menu to teachers for free.  There is, however, a pretty good selection of things that you can get and let's be honest beggars can't really be choosers, even though you teachers aren't begging for anything.
     Besides, it's the thought that counts.  And you do deserve to be recognized for the things you do and the sacrifices that you make.  There are few people in public service that have as much of an impact as do our teachers, so all of you teachers out there make sure to take advantage of some of the special offers available to you.  And know that we appreciate you on Teacher's Appreciation Day.  And all week for Teacher's Appreciation Week. We wouldn't be where we are today without you.

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