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Gifted Children Find Heavy Metal Comforting 585

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-soothing-side-of-slayer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Daily Telegraph is reporting that intelligent teenagers often listen to heavy metal music to cope with the pressures associated with being talented, according to research. Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent "metalheads" are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders."
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Gifted Children Find Heavy Metal Comforting

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  • Punk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @08:48PM (#18437365) Homepage Journal
    Part of me wants to respond in an incredibly cynical manner to this as most "intelligent teenagers" are smart enough to be aware of much of the bullshit associated with growing up and being aware of wider sociopolitical, environmental and other issues and they need a release for the anger. Other cynical parts of me want to say they are also smart enough to be able to recognize the top 40 drivel that is being disseminated by the recording industry.

    However, stepping back from the cynicism, I would note that this was always my experience with the punk scene. Specifically, most people I knew in the scene were incredibly talented, highly intelligent and for the most part more articulate than average. I always wondered how it was that we seemed to find one another, self assemble and take part in a scene that was a retreat of sorts from lives and upbringings that were in most cases not "Leave it to Beaver" or "The Cosby Show" type lives.

  • I program to metal (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:09PM (#18437601)
    I listen to just about everything, but I listen to a lot of metal when programming. In fact just recently, I got back into Maiden. Its been a while, but its good to program to.

    I don't think that it necessarily helps me deal with stress, but it helps me focus or tune out everything else.

    A lot of metal like Maiden revolves around scales -- aeolian, pentatonic, etc. Maybe its that structure that "gifted" people like.

    Of course, some metal has a groove to it, like Back in Black. Now that I think about it, I program more against the classical based metal than the blues based stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:18PM (#18437693)
    I'm 49. In high school and college I listened to classical (which I still like) and some more popular music.

    I just discovered metal a few years ago, and am big into it now - love Godsmack and even some harder bands like Cradle of Filth. But it seems like most people get into it at a much earlier age. Any other of my fellow old farts just develop the taste for it recently?

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:22PM (#18437747)
    This article basically makes no sense.

    Gifted children: is there a single type of gifted children? Gifted in what? You can be very gifted in certain areas and suck in other areas.

    Also, it's funny that the fellow Slashdot commenters which listen to heavy metal read this as "you listen to heavy metal, so this confirms you're gifted". I don't blame anyone for putting on his rose glasses though. It's only natural.

    For the record, gifted children are not a monoculture. There are some gifted children who listen to heavy metal to deal with stress of being a teenager. Nice. There are also gifted children who don't listen to heavy metal, and heavy metal listeners that aren't gifted.

    You're walking away from this article slightly less mentally gifted. Slashdot, you suck.
  • Re:It's so true. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:27PM (#18437801)
    You forgot the heavy metal umlaut! [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:It's so true. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CheeseTroll (696413) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:59PM (#18438073)
    My college roommate and I figured that Vivaldi was the lead headbanger of the baroque period.
  • Re:Marilyn Manson (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elmedico27 (931070) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:00PM (#18438079)
    As does Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. Metal dudes are some of the nicest guys you'll meet.
  • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:04PM (#18438115)
    I think it is more that gifted children deal with a very different set of emotional challenges. For example, not many pop artists sing about the excruciating boredom of being stuck in a middle school when you are academically ready for college. Nor do you hear much about the angst of being eight years younger than the dumbest people you would consider peers. Also, gifted kids are usually far less interested in the dating scene during the teenage years. All of the really gifted kids I know have developed really weird or dangerous hobbies to cope with the relative monotony of suburban American life.

    When you are dealing with profoundly gifted kids, it is a safe bet that any antisocial behavior is mostly intentional and the kid is fully aware of how other people interpret those actions. I've known at least one kid who could fool most any psychologist into thinking he had Asperger's, at first glance.
  • by shaitand (626655) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:06PM (#18438145) Journal
    Yup that is what I remember. It wasn't even a racial thing. Don't get me wrong, racial slurs were tossed around like candy but in the small town I lived in most of the youth hadn't even met someone of another race. All the 'rapper' kids were just wiggers and we laughed at them.

    Then there were the preps. They dressed like the wiggers (because that Nike and sports stuff was expensive and the preps had to flaunt money) and usually listened to rap/hip-hop/etc but at least they didn't usually come up to you and call you G or tell you they were a blood or crypt.

    I remember at a small gathering one time a so called blood was bragging about his brotherhood and status. A friend shaped a 'B' out of a wire hanger and branded him with it. Convinced him that it would show his loyalty. The following day he spread it around town that so and so was his bitch and he had branded him to prove it. The kid showed his 'B' all over town and it was a good month before he found out why everyone thought it was so funny.

  • Misleading headline (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scwizard (941758) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:08PM (#18438167) Homepage Journal
    Children don't find heavy metal comforting because they're gifted. They find heavy metal comforting because they've been socially screwed over.
  • by PresidentEnder (849024) <wyvernender AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:54PM (#18438583) Journal
    I find that Rammstein is among the best "stress-relief" music available, because my German is not nearly so good as my English, so I am not distracted by the (sometimes kind of stupid) lyrics. Eisbrecher (essentially Rammstein without the synthesizer) is also nice.

    I've also noticed that the Mozart Effect [wikipedia.org] can apply to certain non-mozart music, as well. It seems to be based on the idea of a 60 Hz beat (now I'm doubting that, since Wikipedia didn't mention it. Someone else back me up?), which most of Mozart's stuff provides. Rob Zombie's "Never Gonna Stop Me" features a baseline that follows this pretty exactly.

  • Re:Punk (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pinkstuff (758732) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:55PM (#18438585)

    No.

    It depends on your definition tho, the recording industry puts a lot of music out that they call Heavy Metal. It is quite easy for the avid Heavy Metal listener to filter out that crud.

    In other words, what they call Heavy Metal just ain't Heavy Metal :). Just look at Strapping Young Lad [centurymedia.com], those ugly old bastards are a PR/records label nightmare!

  • *favourite genre* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Average (648) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:59PM (#18438619)
    God, I'd be buggered to name a *favourite genre*. I'm curious if they got a list to pick from. I know I've had that problem when asked similar questions. Probably easier to say "none of these" than try to get into:

    Singer-songrwriter Folk
    Bluegrass esp. New Acoustic/Newgrass
    Celtic (stronger toward Scottish or Newfoundland)
    Blues, Polka, Jazz, Klezmer, old Country, slightly harder New Age (Jean Luc Ponty or Ralph Towner), Scandinavian (NorthSide records artists), Jam Bands, etc etc.

    You know, the stuff that is categorized as "Other" and not even counted in such surveys. Mostly I'm sad that the "gifted" kids have such limited horizons that 80% answered "eh... rock, I guess".
  • by germansausage (682057) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:26PM (#18438821)
    I started out listening to AM radio pop (pap?) back in the 70's drifted thru the usual stuff of the time like Styx and Foreigner and Steve Miller and Frampton. Commercially there was not much Metal on the charts at the time. This was the drought years between Deep Purple's Machine Head and AC-DC's Highway to Hell. I had a friend who's older brother was into "Hard Rock" (I don't know that we called it metal back then) and once I heard some of his records like the early stuff from Sabbath and BOC and Uriah Heep there was no going back. Sad Wings of Destiny got played till the grooves wore out. I just had to get more of THAT SOUND. It was obscure, and you had to go search for it. I ended up listening to a ton of bands, usually about one album before they hit it big. A fucking tidal wave of great metal arrived starting about 1980 (Ace of Spades, Blizard of Oz, British Steel, Virgin Killer, the first Maiden). It was a great time to be a metal fan. I saw Metallica in a 200 seat club, Twisted Sister and Maiden together, Ozzy and Motorhead together, Accept and Saxon and Raven oh my.We had about 10 years of Metal in the charts until alternative and grunge and hip-hop took over. Metal is back underground where it came from.

    I will say that while I fit the "geek who's into metal" profile, not a whole lot of the "gifted" people I knew (no lack of them in engineering school) were into metal.

    I listen to other music of course, but mostly still Metal. I just don't "get" Hip-Hop. I think? it mostly sucks but I have no real frame of reference to judge this. I hate what passes for "R&B" these days, and I KNOW it sucks.

    Some people like soothing music to calm them down.

    Some people like perky music to cheer them up.

    I happen to like music that makes my adrenaline pump, my heart race, my fists clench, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and my brain boil with the mad urge to kill!!!

    PS - Lemmy is God!

    PPS - go get the Twisted Sister Christmas Album. It rocks. Seriously.
  • Re:RTFA, baby. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shawb (16347) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:59PM (#18439119)
    Pfft. Mozart wasn't metal. For a real metal musician from the era, look to Niccolò Paganini. "It was common for him to arrive at a concert in a black coach drawn by black horses. Paganini himself would wear black." [brick.net] and "Paganini's technique was outstanding and unusual, but it was his satanic bearing which caused great crowds to attend his concerts." Finally, because "Paganini had refused the final sacrament, he could not be buried. His remains were kept in a basement for five years"

    Mozart was more rock star than metal.
  • by gacl (1078259) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:04AM (#18439153)
    Hm, the opposite thing happened to me. I was a metal-head all through my high school years but in college i started to listen to classical music, and nowadays that's all i listen to. Actually, i don't do much listening of anything anymore. . . mostly playing and singing on the piano and guitar. . . acoustically ( Luddite tendencies ). Cheers.

    Gus
  • Re:Punk (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chimera512 (910750) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:15AM (#18439221) Homepage
    As the AC said, very well put.

    It has been increasingly annoying to see the radical left and right adopt a stance against moderates and contribute to the sort of discourse on political leanings that makes your post such a breath of fresh air.
    Everything's not black and white, right or left, good or bad. We seem to often forget that there's two sides to every coin, and an edge, there's a middle ground (at least in theory if not in practical impelmentation, somewhere)

    [rant] I'm American (I'm not going to assume my whole audience is) and fairly liberal but when i see things about Democrats calling for the impeachment of the president I despair a little, why not work to fix things instead of waste time punishing the president for the massive f***ing mistake that is Iraq. We're there and trying to remove the president won't stabilize the country, won't bring anyone home, won't bring back the dead or restore limbs. [/rant]
  • Re:Marilyn Manson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jamrock (863246) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:33AM (#18439343)

    "As a side note, I've seen a couple interviews with Marilyn Manson and he comes across as surprisingly intelligent and well-spoken, even while still wearing the freaky makeup."

    Florence Henderson (the mother in The Brady Bunch) said almost the exact same thing after meeting Marilyn Manson on Bill Maher's former show, Politically Incorrect. She was doing an interview and was asked how she felt about the incongruity of the two of them participating in a round table discussion, and she replied that she thoroughly enjoyed talking with him. She said that she was struck by how intelligent and articulate he was, and that she found him to be extremely charming.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:34AM (#18439353)
    These sound like the ravings of crazy ass libertarians.

    "The truth is that "gifted and talented" programs are fast-track indoctrination courses, not real academics."
    I've never been in a "GATE"/Gifted and Talented program, but later on in the academic career, most high school honors and Advanced Placement classes do offer advanced academics to students who are either willing to work hard or have the aptitude to finish the coursework.

    "I could regale you with mountains of statistics to illustrate the damage schools cause. I could bring before your attention a line of case studies to illustrate the mutilation of specific individuals--even those who have been apparently privileged as its "gifted and talented." What would that prove? You've heard those stories, read these figures before until you went numb from the assault on common sense. School can't be that bad, you say. You survived, didn't you? Or did you? Review what you learned there. Has it made a crucial difference for good in your life? Don't answer. I know it hasn't. You surrendered twelve years of your life because you had no choice. You paid your dues, I paid mine. But who collected those dues?"
    School isn't bad. I can answer "Has it made a crucial difference for good in your life" easily. First, how to code efficiently and cleanly in C++(I was learning on my own and it lead me to some... bad ...habits). Second, it made me appreciate things I never would have. Math, literature and sciences. Bad schooling is the problem.

  • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @04:00AM (#18440385) Journal
    Such a silly song, much is lost in the translation. Like all non-native languages, it takes a little interpretation on the part of the reader/listener -- there's a whole fuckton of German phrases which just don't work in English. And it's not their best work, to be sure, but Benzin is still an incredibly energetic and powerful song, able to cure the worst of moods with its music alone.

    Like most great creations, Rammstein's best work is about drugs, death, joy, confusion, power, discovery, and/or fucking.
    And it's not always silly, but often quite serious, even after being translated. Oftentimes, their music is downright ugly. Sometimes, it helps to know that things could always have been worse.

    Courtesy of herzeleid.com [herzeleid.com]:

    What does a man do
    what does a man do
    who can't tell the difference
    between human and animal
    what

    He will go to his daughter
    she is beautiful and young in years
    and then, like a dog, he will
    mate with his own flesh and blood

    What do you do
    What do you feel
    What are you
    but an
    animal

    What does the woman do
    what does the woman do
    who can't tell the difference
    between animal and man

    She dips the quill in his blood
    and write herself a letter
    lifeless lines to her childhood
    when her father slept by her

    What do you do
    What do you feel
    What are you
    but an animal
    Rammstein, Tier

  • by Aurisor (932566) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @04:50AM (#18440575) Homepage
    I'm posting AC because I'm trying to be brutally honest, not go on an ego trip.

    I was one of those kids who was labeled as "gifted" fairly early on in my education. My school didn't have a tag program until 6th grade due to budgetary constraints. I can't speak for every school in the country, but your descriptions don't match my experience and they largely seem the product of philosophical / political beliefs.

    - My tag program was comprised entirely of real academics. In the 6th grade we did high school chemistry, some astronomy and physics, learned about stock trading, wrote research papers on 20th century history, read some difficult books, started a debate team, and so forth.
    - My experience in high school people was like pretty much any experience with other people. One or two teachers were brilliant, most were just getting by, a few were misleading, and one was downright malicious. Sure, my school didn't seem to be able to provide for me very well, but it was due to a lack of resources, not any kind of malice or conspiracy.
    - No matter what you want to believe, some people's brains just work faster than others. One of my best friends in high school was also in the tag program. I did my homework during class, never studied a night in my life, blew away standardized tests without preparing, and spent my nights hacking on linux. She was doing the same work, getting pretty much the same grades, but studying 6+ hours a night to keep it up. Some people couldn't have kept up if they studied 8 hours a night, 7 days a week.

    That last link goes into a lot of conspiracy theory bullshit about how the idea of varying intelligence amongst people is an artificial concept, which it coyly blames on some great conspiracy between the Rockefellers, Dewey, Rousseau, blah blah blah. Frankly, a lot of the links you've posted seem politically or philosophically motivated.

    Bottom line:
    - Some people are smarter than others. These categories are not the product of propaganda, conspiracy, or a bunch of fat rich white men smoking cigars and drafting up a "system of order."
    - Teachers get paid shit so many of them are there because the hours are good, or because the competition is not exactly fierce, or because they are genuinely benevolent, caring individuals. At the end of the day, though, I believe far more of them give a shit than most people believe; I suppose it's more comforting to think that you're dealing with a conspiracy or institutionalized malice than to confront the fact that most of what we encounter in life is the product of people doing the best they can under the circumstances.
  • Re:RTFA, baby. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cliffski (65094) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @04:58AM (#18440611) Homepage
    paganini was also a savvy businessman. The whole 'black clothes' thing started after someone declared that his prowess on the violin must mean he was in league with the devil. That sold tickets, and paginini went out of his way to encourage that image, because he knew it attracted crowds.
    He was also a womaniser, always lusting after rich influential peoples wives and daughetrs. As i recall it was some sexually transmitted disease that finally finished him off.
    He used to play free gigs in graveyards to the poor as well, that probably helped his 'metal' image.
  • by Biogenesis (670772) <overclocker...br ... shome...com...au> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @06:39AM (#18441033) Homepage
    Interesting that you mentioned musical complexity. I find most forms of "popular" music really boring. The "metal" bands I listen to include the likes of Opeth, Therion, Blind Guardian, Nightwish etc, all of which write very interesting and technical (esp Blind Guardian) music.

    It would be interesting if the study included classical pieces as well, as in studying how many gifted teenagers like both modern "complex" metal and "complex" classical. A close friend and I like both kinds, it would be nice to know we weren't the only ones who mix Ride The Lightning with Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:32AM (#18441563) Homepage
    Consider what Gatto writes here:
    http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt [newciv.org]
    "The first lesson I teach is confusion."
    "The second lesson I teach is your class position."
    "The third lesson I teach kids is indifference."
    "The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency."
    "The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency."
    "The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem."
    "The seventh lesson I teach is that you can't hide."
    "After an adult lifetime spent teaching school I believe the method
    of mass-schooling is the only real content it has, don't be fooled into
    thinking that good curriculum or good equipment or good teachers are the
    critical determinants of your son and daughter's schooltime. All the
    pathologies we've considered come about in large measure because the
    lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments
    with themselves and with their families, to learn lessons in self-
    motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity and love and
    lessons in service to others, which are among the key lessons of home
    life."

    It may be a long journey before you are willing to admit you have been bamboozled by the very people who proclaimed to be your salvation. It was for me. :-)

    As I said in the title, the Gifted label is used to control. If you are a standard product of school, even of a "gifted program", you have been controlled -- neutralized -- domesticated. You have been shaped to fit into a 19th century Brave New World industrial model of how society should be. OK, so you were tracked as an Alpha, so what? You were still controlled -- and limited -- against your wishes. Those very wishes were shaped to fit the perceived needs of that industrial order.

    It does not matter if many or most teachers are caring individuals -- they remain the agents and prison wardens of this system; their range of behavior is limited by the system they are embedded in. That is one reason so many of the most caring ones burn out early.

    I have no doubt that people vary in interests, experiences, or potential. Consider Howard Gardener's work Frames of Mind. The theory of multiple intelligences: __
    http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm [infed.org]
    "In the heyday of the psychometric and behaviorist eras, it was generally believed that intelligence was a single entity that was inherited; and that human beings - initially a blank slate - could be trained to learn anything, provided that it was presented in an appropriate way. Nowadays an increasing number of researchers believe precisely the opposite; that there exists a multitude of intelligences, quite independent of each other; that each intelligence has its own strengths and constraints; that the mind is far from unencumbered at birth; and that it is unexpectedly difficult to teach things that go against early 'naive' theories or that challenge the natural lines of force within an intelligence and its matching domains. (Gardner 1993: xxiii)"

    There may well be people who excel at everything. You may be one of them. But so what? How does that justify "compulsory schooling" of anyone? Except to control them. To neutralize any potential benefit of that intelligence on social structure. Even if kids need to be in day prisons because their parents are forced to work to survive (even in this age of abundance):
    http://www.whywork.org/ [whywork.org]
    why not "Free schools"?
    http://www.albanyfreeschool.com/overview.shtml [albanyfreeschool.com]

    On conspiracy, if you read the rest of that online book, you will see that Gatto does not believe in "conspiracy" in a large sense. As he says here:
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/ [johntaylorgatto.com]
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:47AM (#18441673) Homepage
    You've missed the point. All people are unique. There are also many types of intelligence:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_in telligences [wikipedia.org]
    So this suggest you are correct to start making distinctions, like between IQ and EQ. One can go a lot further than that, according to Howard Gardner.

    Even if some people are just smarter about everything (including ethics?), so what? How does that justify compulsory schooling of everyone? Perhaps "Gifted programs" skim off those who might be troublemakers and keep them occupied in relatively unimportant pursuits and direct their thinking away from social reform?

    As I said, following on the point of the parent post I responded to, the "Gifted" label is used to control. Why not reflect on how those labels, even "high IQ", are being used to control you? Even if it implies it will get you the goodies academia has to offer?

    Doesn't it bother you to be reduced from a unique individual to a label?

    By the way, IQ was originally designed to detect and provide help for people below the norm in most areas, it's not clear it has any real meaning for people above the norm, since it is essentially ability divided by age. What happens when people get older?
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:53AM (#18441705) Homepage Journal

    The researchers surveyed 1,057 members of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth - a body whose 120,000 student members are within the top five per cent academically in the 11-19 age range.

    Asked for their favourite type of music, 39 per cent said rock, 18 per cent R&B and 14 per cent pop. Six per cent said heavy metal and a third rated it in their top five genres.
    I guess one needs to compare this statistics to a result of the refrence group. Below is the excerpt from the poll results [usaweekend.com] done by "USA WEEKEND Magazine's Teens & Music survey, published last fall. Nearly 60,000 teens responded to our poll in the magazine, at our Web site and through this year's partner, MuchMusic USA".

    If you had to choose just one type of music to listen to exclusively, which would it be?

    Hip-hop/rap 27%
    Pop 23%
    Rock/punk 17%
    Alternative 7%
    Christian/gospel 6%
    R&B 6%
    Country 5%
    Techno/house 4%
    Jazz 1%
    Other 4%
    So make your own judgement.

    About the author of the paper [nagty.ac.uk]:

    Stuart Cadwallader BSc (First Class Honours) Psychology, University of Kent. I am currently studying for an MA in Educational Research methods.
    Webpage is updated at least this year. So the author of the survey called "psychologist at the University of Warwick" in the Telegraph article does not have a master degree yet. Hmm...
  • by evil_breeds (934729) <evil.breeds@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:05AM (#18443479)
    So I'm a reasonably smart nerd and as a teenager had hair down to my ass and was a freakin metal-maniac. In my twenties I "grew up" and sold most of my metal and didn't miss it. On a recent plane ride though I saw Metal: A Headbanger's Journey [imdb.com] by happy accident. Excellent movie (party on Wayne!). I got all amped up about metal again and went out and bought up all kinds of metal - like 30 cds in two weeks. How I've survived the last 10 years without Master of Puppets I have no idea - fucking fantastic! 3pm rolls around and the ipod almost always creeps to the metal end of the dial and half the time I end up giggling about how good this stuff is.

    If you, as consumers of News for Nerds, used to have the black t-shirt and jeans standard issue uniform but have since "grown up", I strongly encourage a revisit to the used bin at your local record store, you won't regret it, and your code will improve! (Ok maybe not, but in the spirit of TFA, my code improved therefore the whole population's will as well Q.E.D.)
  • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:14AM (#18443625)
    Teachers get paid shit so many of them are there because the hours are good, or because the competition is not exactly fierce, or because they are genuinely benevolent, caring individuals.

    As the son of two teachers, I call B.S. on the hours bit. The hours for teaching are not that great. Did you think that machines grade papers for them? Did you think that they just wing it each day instead of having to submit detailed lesson plans to the administration? Just because all the kids go home doesn't mean that the teachers do too.

    Over 40 hour weeks are pretty common, and summers aren't work-free either. Most people go into teaching because they like working with children and put up with the pay and the parents. Anyone who thinks teaching is a short-hours job gets disabused of that by the time their student teaching gig is over.

    Also, competition for teaching jobs is harsher than you'd think. It's not a job with high turnover past the first five years, and the amount of teachers that can be hired is directly tied to the number of rooms available in school buildings and the latest budget crunch. Most people I know that graduate from college to be teachers don't end up working in their hometown and have to move or commute a good distance to work. This can be a problem when the only openings are in a community that doesn't offer good opportunities for their spouse as is the case with many rural school systems.

    I know you're trying to be understanding of the stresses that teachers undergo in their job, but you've got the motivations to teach in the first place all wrong in my experience with my parents and their co-workers.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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