A front-page article in Sunday's Sun says that Robert Moulton may be fired from his 17-year position as an English teacher because he read a story that included vulgar language to his class.
I was a physics teacher for 12 years and was always careful about my language in class. Even so, there were at least a few times when my enthusiasm in class resulted in my language being more "colorful" than I would have liked.
The article notes that Mr. Moulton served as head of the English department, was featured in a Sun article in 2011 because of his creation of an after-school poetry club, and received an award from the Massachusetts Teachers Association in 2008.
To me, the more important awards are noted as comments from some of his students. When students write about a teacher and use terms like "passion for what he does," and "He's the best teacher I ever had," and when students rally around a teacher, that shows he is doing a great job and is an inspiration to his students. I have a few comments like that in my portfolio, and they are worth more to me than my framed Master of Education diploma.
I have at least one issue with Principal Manley, and some questions. It is completely inappropriate for the principal to interrupt a teacher's class in the way described in the article. He should have spoken to Mr. Moulton between classes or sent him an email. The article indicates that a special- education teacher helped convince Mr. Moulton to read the story; later, the article says it was the same teacher who subsequently filed a complaint.
Mr. Moulton was given a seven-day suspension and then required to comply with a Comprehensive Improvement Plan. A CIP is like a contract, in that both parties must sign it, and it needs to be specific in its terms and duration. Did Mr. Moulton sign the CIP? Did it require him to submit lesson plans beyond the end of the semester and into the next semester?
Mr. Moulton submitted "rough outlines" of his lesson plans: My lesson plans often served only as a guide; I had to modify plans on the fly, depending on how well students understood the material. In an English class I'm sure there is much more variation in what goes on from day to day depending on the teacher-student interactions, and it seems there were lots of good student-teacher interactions in Mr. Moulton's classes.
Finally, I'm reminded of Jack Kerouac, and how Lowell celebrated "Jack Kerouac Day" on March 12, 2010. Kerouac was a highly acclaimed novelist whose language sometimes was extremely "colorful."
Does Dracut really want to lose a valuable teacher over a disagreement about teaching styles?