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Substitute teachers should be appreciated, not deprecated

With teachers, there's no substitute for an evenhanded stance

June 10 C.T. Bowen column

Teacher 'subs' not

subpar workers

As a fairly new substitute teacher, I take offense to the superintendent Heather Fiorentino's criticism. She claims it is "disrespectful to every teacher" to call the former substitute a "teacher" instead of a "sub." Why is that, Ms. Fiorentino? Am I sub-par, as the term "sub" implies, and not worthy of the same level of respect that a certified teacher would deserve?

I work hard as a substitute teacher. I do everything in my power to ensure that the students in my assigned classroom follow school rules, stay on task, and view me a professional educator. This is not easy. I tolerate disrespect from: students, who feel they do not have to listen to me because I am not their "real" teacher; teachers who don't even muster a polite "hello" to me because "oh, she's just the sub," and even some teachers who skip their duties to team-teach with me without warning because apparently a sub isn't worthy of their time. I guess now I can add the superintendent to this list who don't value substitutes.

I have days where I come home feeling great because I helped some students in a meaningful way and was able to facilitate a productive learning environment while the regular teacher was away. I also have days where I come home nearly in tears because of the disrespect or indifference that I have been shown.

Why do I do it? Because I am trying to determine if teaching is the right field for me. I am not a moron, as many people want to make subs feel. I have a college degree in economics and years of experience as a successful financial analyst, but simply want to know if teaching is the right field for me, as I have been wondering since college. I'm an educated, motivated person considering teaching in Florida. Shouldn't I be sought after, instead of being made to feel like a certified teacher should be insulted to be placed in the same category as me?

I find the Fiorentino's apparent disregard for substitutes troubling, considering the great need for us. I heard a statistic that, on any given day, 30 percent of classroom vacancies go unfilled. Clearly, more substitutes are needed. Good luck getting them.

Cara Tharp, Tampa

The most dangerous lead June 9 guest column

Column same old

antigun rhetoric

C.D. Chamberlain's attempt at antigun logic and presentation falls short, and, in the end, is only a reworking of the same old tired antigun rhetoric. It is more than a stretch to compare alcohol addiction and lead paint toys from China to the Second Amendment and lead bullets, and then throw in statistics from the Center for Disease Control which are inappropriate because they include adults ages 18 and 19, and teenage criminals.

In fact, all children to age 14 are five times more likely to die from motor vehicle accidents than from firearms, and more than twice as likely to die from drowning, according to the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2005).

Banning ammunition for guns is the same as banning guns. That would be a clear violation of the intent of the Second Amendment. Arms that cannot function are no longer arms. All arms are protected by the Second Amendment when it says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." All ammunition for firearms is as protected as the arms themselves.

The Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms, and the right to the necessary ammunition to make firearms do what they are made to do, are non-negotiable.

Lee Hanson, Hudson

Beware of breathless blogger blatherin' | June 8 column

Writer ignores media's neglect

Jan Glidewell takes on the role of protector for the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in warning us about bloggers who spread "untruths." I'll begin by saying, Mr. Glidewell, that many bloggers are lucky to reach hundreds or maybe tens of thousands of people.

So, where were you when Dan Rather, who reaches tens of millions of Americans, came out telling us about how, through the use of doctored paperwork, that President George W. Bush was avoiding his National Guard duty? Where were you admonishing the mainstream media which jumped on that story like sharks on chum and spread it to millions more? Where were you when it was bloggers who exposed Rather for the partisan hack he and his media cronies were? Where were you demanding Rather be fired and held accountable?

Where were you when the media ruined the lives of those Duke University lacrosse players by spreading the malicious lies of their accuser? Where was all the solid reporting that would have shut this case down in days rather than months?

Jump forward a bit. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., accused many Marines of killing innocent Iraqis. He called them cold-blooded killers. The media frenzy that resulted from repeating Murtha's accusations filled thousands of newspapers and thousands of hours in the broadcast outlets.

To date, virtually every single one of those Marines has been exonerated, acquitted or found not guilty.

Where were you, Mr. Glidewell, in demanding some accountability from Murtha? Where were you excoriating the media that reaches those tens of millions of people for the lies he perpetrated? It's people like Murtha, and self-righteous hypocrites like you who, if we were reporting World War II like the media minions report the Iraq War, we'd all be speaking Japanese or German.

Do us a favor, Mr. Glidewell; stay retired until you can say something sensible.

Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill

City workers deserve praise

Earlier this week, the group was playing at Sims Park. My 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, came to me because she found some profane graffiti in the playground. I had her call the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center.

Within 10 minutes, someone showed up and started cleaning up the graffiti! He was so patient as nine children kept calling him from different parts of the playground to show him more bad words.

Many thanks for the quick response. We are proud of our city employees!

Nancy Giordano,

New Port Richey

Ballparks better

than tennis site

What a shame the Pasco County Commission was so eager to give away our tourist tax dollars for a tennis stadium, a sport that has been on the decline in this country for years. How many citizens will be using these courts?

The money could have gone to a wonderful idea of these baseball parks they're considering now. I would take all bets this idea will work out a lot better than the tennis debacle.

Bob Clark, Port Richey

'Plaid' is the color of one great deal | June 7 column

Too much 'Plaid'

not possible

As a theater professional for more than 30 years, I can tell you that it is unusual for two professional productions of the same show to be playing in such close proximity.

But the truth of the matter is that there's more than enough room for both productions of Forever Plaid.

I'm certain that the Show Palace has a dedicated base in and around Hudson while audiences from all over the Tampa Bay area and beyond have been flocking to Forever Plaid at TBPAC's Jaeb Theater for 15 years. Every indication is that we've got another blockbuster engagement on our hands in Tampa of this show about a group of '50s crooners who come back from heaven to sing the concert they didn't get to do in life.

As the first Florida theater to present Forever Plaid (in 1993), and one of the first organizations in the country to gain the rights to produce the show, TBPAC certainly has the experience and the history to mount a gold standard production. TBPAC's 2008 cast of talented New York actors — including Michael Indeglio, Dean Maroukakos, David Purdy and Fred Ross — is certainly up to the challenge of, as your arts and entertainment writer Barbara L. Fredricksen put it, delivering a "show that you can see over and over and never tire of."

My suggestion to audiences: Go to the theater in Tampa, in Hudson, wherever. It'll enrich your life and as the Plaids sing, provide "Moments to Remember."

Judy Joseph, Vice President of Programming, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center

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Substitute teachers should be appreciated, not deprecated 06/11/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:40pm]
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