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Desc:Reason.com asks Matt Damon about the teaching industry
Category:Educational, Nature & Places
Tags:teachers, libertarian, matt damon, how ya like dem apples?, reason.com
Submitted:Cheese
Date:08/02/11
Views:2068
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Comment count is 55
Bort
Five stars for that final swipe there.
Change
Exactly yes.

Toenails
It's even better because he *is* a shitty camera man.

All you have to do is keep your mouth shut and film. But apparently he couldn't even manage that.

dr_mr_vandertramps
As a teacher, I fully endorse this video.

I could have gone for my PhD - I was accepted, and a month away from starting - but when I looked at my life goals, treating mental illness wasn't even in my top ten. Despite 6 years (Undergrad and MA) of psych, I made the conscious and deliberate choice to go into teaching. I love my job, and it's really disappointing how unimportant education seems to be these days.

That said, there are definitely more than a few teachers who are in it for the summers off (which is stupid, considering the hours you put in throughout the rest of the year).
The Mothership
Been teaching university for 7 years, have yet to meet these people you speak of.

Baldr
I teach college, and the summers off are definitely a factor for me. It isn't the only factor, but I'd say it contributes between 10 and 20% of my interest in the profession. I need time to work on my personal projects, and the summers are a fantastic time to do that.

Regarding tenure at the college level, there are a handful of people who go into "fuck you" mode at some point after receiving it. When I was in graduate school, one professor in my department closed down her lab and stopped doing research after being tenured. She taught the occasional class, but aside from that she just sat in her office and became increasingly unhappy. It didn't seem like a very rewarding life, and most of her peers didn't seem to respect her.

I've also read about a case where a tenured faculty member saved up a decade worth of sick days, and used them to take every Friday of the semester off. His students were pretty pissed about this.

That said, those people are a very small minority, and the amount of tenure abuse is incredibly small compared to the opportunity for it.

Kandalor
What sort of demand for a faculty member would lead students to be pissed off by a professor skipping Fridays? What the hell does a student need from the faculty on a Friday that they couldn't get on Thursday or Monday?

Baldr
He was supposed to teach classes on Fridays. Apparently his students kept showing up, only to find that no one was there.

Jellyneck
Tuition at UC campuses has gone up over 40% in the past few years. Some students are understandably pissed at what they are getting for their money at this point.

Also, classes do not meet every day. So if an instructor decides to have a fuck you friday every single week, you would be paying a lot more for a lot less.

I would be furious.

dr_mr_vandertramps
I don't teach at the uni/college level. I'm in a k-middle school.

Postureduck
"Where'd you get that number?" "I don't know."

Five for "reason".
The Mothership
Who are these awful, awful people? I am so angry I could strangle a manatee.
Jeriko-1
They are what Mr. Damon said they were.

A shitty, Ayn Rand, MBA cargo cult culture who use their piece of paper and gung-ho attitudes to go right to the top of business food chains... And then run them into the ground since they have no idea what the fuck they are doing. But at the same time brain dead employers belong to the same cult so these people are snapped right up and put right into positions where they can cause the most harm.

TL;DR: Retard paternalists who believe superficial attitude is more important that competence. So kids quickly adapt to that attitude to succeed.

And oh yeah, there's that deal with them thinking if you are not down with their line of thinking you are a lazy failure who deserves to be miserable.

Scrotum H. Vainglorious
There was a time when having an MBA meant something, but now everyone has them. You can't listen to the radio on your daily commute without hearing some school advertise its work from home to earn your MBA program. Classes starting soon!

Zarathustra00
In the middle of a meeting at work today one of the people attending gets a phone call. It was some school advertising that exact kind of MBA program.

He politely told them that he was quite happy with the masters in engineering he got almost 20 years ago, so unless the diplomas they were offering came two-ply and on a roll he wasn't interested.

Kumquatxop
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2081930,00.html

fatatty
Very classy throwing in the shot of him crying. I think from now on news outlets should throw in Boener crying in the middle of all his interviews.
Syd Midnight
Wait, so Damon is supposed to be the dumb one here? I figured that clip symbolized him weeping in frustration, and also ironic contrast to Reason because his Good Will Hunting character is a truly gifted genius who acts like an unremarkable lout.

That mix-up is a typically Reason-esque phenomenon, though. "Ah, many-layered sarcasm! Subtle and hilarious! Oh wait a minute, the *other* person was supposed to be the protagonist? What the fuck."

Born in the RSR
""Maybe you're a shitty cameraman!"

Bless you Matt Damon! Bless your heart!
ProfessorChaos
Anyone else enjoy how the camera wobbled as Damon said that?

kingofthenothing
Yes, I enjoyed that immensely. It's as if he got hit with an invisible punch.

decoy
I like Damon, he's a good actor and clearly a bright, articulate guy. But I don't want to hear his opinions about anything other than filmmaking. Maybe if he'd work in a "job-job" for 10 years or so he'd understand that most people don't work b/c they "love what they do." That includes many teachers, and I say that from experience in that very difficult field.
SolRo
Becuase all actors go from school to successful star, without having to work shit jobs while trying to get auditions.

spikestoyiu
Okay. His mom is a teacher.

muffinbutt
I went to a school that certifies teachers and many of the people in my classes went on to become teachers. I can promise you that the majority of them are not going into it because they love to, or are even that interested in, teaching.

They wanted their summers off, and they wanted a schedule that would work with raising kids. A few wanted something to fall back on because their parents insisted housewife wasn't a guaranteed life long career choice. (note, none of these women were married, it was a conservative area and their life goal was husband and babies)

It was a real eye opener of where those bad teachers we all had in school came from, I can tell you that much.

IrishWhiskey
CEOs and hedge fund managers need massive bonuses, golden parachutes and job security even when they screw up, for incentives.

Teachers need pay cuts, slashed benefits and job insecurity even when they do well in a broken system, for incentives.

Xenocide
Libertarians stole Matt Damon's hair and he is NOT having it.


There are people in the world who have never felt any real passion for anything. They do their jobs because someone hands them a check every two weeks, and it's never occurred to them that there are people for whom this isn't the case. People for whom the check isn't a motivation, it's almost some kind of small miracle, because with it comes the twice-monthly realization that someone is paying them to do this wonderful thing that they would gladly do for free.

But the "everyone works for the incentive" crowd has never cared about anything enough to experience that type of joy. So they assume it doesn't exist, that everyone, from actors to teachers to artists to scholars, is just doing it for the money. And that the people who devote their lives to educating the next generation should be regarded no differently than dogs doing tricks for pieces of meat.

Fuck.

Those.

People.
Spoonybard
A central theme of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" is that people who work because they love their jobs are better at those jobs than people who do them for the money. Roark, the protagonist, gets shit on for decades while his sycophantic antithesis, Peter, becomes wealthy and successful.

Randroids would be somewhat more tolerable if they didn't consistently embody the worst traits of her heroes AND villains.

Syd Midnight
In the book, do these jobs by any chance involve coming up with some over-ambitious idea, then making other people do all the work while you take all the credit and make all the money while avoiding pesky taxes, morals, and regulations?

'Cause I've never read The Fountainhead, but people who love The Fountainhead seem to think of that as the ideal job, if not their destiny, because anyone could do that if they had enough money and didn't give a shit about anyone besides themselves. Also lower taxes, small government, Google Ron Galt etc.

Spoonybard
Actually the jobs in question involve creative expression and a refusal to compromise ones own aesthetic integrity even when it costs you a sorely needed contract

Toenails
I'm having trouble trying to figure out what this gotcha question is suppose to be about. Why isn't there incentives for teachers?

Besides the ability to help mold kids into responsible humans beings?

Is she saying that teachers need to be paid more?

Is she trying to take a cheap shot at the Unions and say that teachers need to be more like people in Hollywood that aren't (in her fantasy world) part of any union?

That teachers somehow have job security?
jangbones
She is implying that if you are not motivated by greed, you cannot possibly be trusted to produce.

The relationship between "Reason" and actual reason is equal to the relationship between Fox News and "Fair and Balanced".

Caminante Nocturno
I want to push an ice auger through that girl's face.
baleen
It's very clear that she wants to be hate fucked in the butt by Matt Damon. She's on the verge of surrendering all of her Earthly beliefs. Just look at the expression on her face.

Mother_Puncher
The girl talking to him is adorable. I mean so adorable that I can't stand it. I'd probably have to throw acid on her face and bash in her teeth and give her staph infections all over her body just to keep her from being so cute. But I think Damon's point is way over her head. She reports for a libertarian website but she doesn't seem to have any retorts to what he is saying and not even mustering some childish comeback (which has to be taken care of by the camera guy) so I'm guessing her only incentive to stay so hot is job security because I doubt she cares about the politics.

dek863
Props to Matt Damon.
heyitslozeau
I'm a teacher. I'm a passionate, young and motivated teacher. I'm finishing up my summer recovery period and going through my inevitable "oh god, another year". It's not because I hate teaching, I love teaching, I hate the system that I'm stuck teaching in that seems to be doing everything in it's power to ruin me. Thanks Matt Damon for making me feel a little less shitty.
Burnov
I know quite a few teachers who got into it because they didn't know what else to do, and yeah there's a certain level of job security.

And yeah, they're what I would consider -bad- teachers.

Matt Damon is full of beans sometimes.


dairyqueenlatifah
Holy shit, how many POE residents are teachers?
jangbones
Few, but most "POE residents" apply actual reason to political disagreements.

Also, many enjoy the public humiliation of those trying to make a very childish political point by tripping up a Hollywood actor.

Ursa_minor
I'm a teacher as well. Though I teach on a college level. I get paid shit, have no benefits, and no job security - but I love doing it.

heyitslozeau
You also dont have a lot of the shit that goes with teaching minors and dealing with education policy.

Nikon
I also teach.

dek863
I start TAing this Fall.

The Mothership
I teach university, and thankfully have benefits. I get paid shit, though, and I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have benefits. I feel for you, Ursa.

sunisevil
I teach as well (though not here enough to qualify for resident status) on the college level. I remember loving it, I think.

Bus_Aint_Comin
i teach bouncing

joelkazoo
There's no need for that poop talk, Mr. Damon!
heyitslozeau
Another thing: the whole "if you have tenure you cant get fired!" argument isn't quite that. All tenure really means is that you get to know why you're being fired and you have a chance to appeal it.

The fact that administrators have turned tenure into that is (strangely) a symptom of the problem tenure sought to fix in the first place. We have yet to really come up with a decent way of evaluating teachers (yes, evaluating a teacher's abilities is far more complicated than evaluating many other's), hell we really don't have a good way of evaluating students abilities. Tenure prevents someone who observes you twice a year for a combined hour and a half from hastily firing you. Half the administrators I know have little to no classroom experience whatsoever. I'm all for more merit based incentives for teachers, but only if they're judged in a fair and comprehensive way and we haven't even figured out how to properly do that with students yet.
frau_eva
That's exactly it. When you call for evaluating teachers, there's really no form of evaluation we have that would be very fair. Most people assume test scores, which is ridiculous when you're comparing students who are living on the streets to those in the suburbs. I'm teaching in an area with no real unions, and have to listen to area idiots blame our local schools on our unions...somehow. And the whole private sector idea ignores that students who go to private schools are all put there by parents who have to at least care enough to pay for their education--so they're going to get it if they come home with an F.

You're not the only one feeling it, Lozeau. Our educational system failure is a symptom of the vast poverty of this country, which is ignored and put on us to somehow solve. Anything involved with actual teaching I enjoy, but the unacknowledged state secretary job part grows every year. And it all goes in a drawer, never to be looked at. You can't do any activity purely for growing their interest and enjoyment of learning, or really anything outside the state standards. Its made education far more boring and rote, for students and teachers alike.

kingarthur
Yes.
gmol
Even Anderson Cooper is getting in on the Damon lovefest.

Reason TV are a bunch of douchebags...but critically evaluate some of Matt's statements. Why would teachers do jobs with "shitty salaries"?

Don't presume any of my motives here, but first let's take a look at the average GPA which colleges most teachers graduate from (and the administrators of the public system). Compare that to, say, medical doctors or Wall St. professionals.
longwinded
wow cena could learn from you

Pacobird
Compare the teachers' GPAs to what the Wall Street execs got in Econ, in undergrad.

Medical schools are pass/fail, more or less precisely to head off the bullshit equivalence you're trying to make. In fact, pretty much the only graduate-level field where grades actually mean anything (other than being a death sentence if you get a lot of Bs) is law.

memedumpster
No wonder Trey Parker and Matt Stone make fun of him, he's a decent human being.
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