the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Teacher of the Year


Many of the bloggers on my blogroll are teachers.  I frequently read their blog posts where they are complaining about their low salary and their bratty students.  Well, I have a message for all you teachers:  ENOUGH of your complaining.  Did you ever think that the problem with the American education system is YOU — the SPOILED American teacher?

You might ask me, "Who the hell are you — Neilochka — to talk to me in this condescending manner?"

I will tell you.

I am not just some dumb blogger mouthing off.  No, I am someone who has "made a difference," according to this letter I received yesterday in the mail:

"Dear Mr. Kramer,

I am proud to congratulate you on being selected for inclusion in the 10th Edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2005/2006.  I believe you will find this honor exceptionally gratifying since it comes from a successful former student who recommended you because you made a difference in his or her life

There is no greater reward for teachers than to be valued by former students.  Only high school and college students who have been cited for academic excellence themselves in Who’s Who Among High School Students, Who’s Who Among American High School Students – Sports Edition, The National Dean’s List, and the Chancellor’s List are invited to nominate one teacher from their entire academic experience. "

Do you hear that?  I, writer of Citizen of the Month, was nominated by one of my prized pupils for this esteemed honor.  Where is your nomination… BrookeNance Leesepea?   Janet?

I know what you’re thinking. 

"It’s all a scam, you idiot.  You’ve never taught a single class in your life."

Well, boo hoo.  Sure, I’ve never taught a class anywhere.  But think of all the educating I’ve done through my blog.

"It’s bullshit.  They just want you to buy the book with your stupid name included."

Of course I want to buy the book.  It’s an honor.  Something to show my grandchildren.   And I’m hoping some of you might want to buy the book as well.   You better be quick, because when these books are published, they sell like Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe’s on a Sunday morning. 

In fact, this is what Jeffrey Fix, Vice President of Student Programs, wrote in his letter:

"A limited quantity of these books are published each year — and they cannot be reprinted.  So, we urge you to act fast.  Order today, or you can reserve a copy now by including a payment with your Teacher Data Form.  We’ll bill you the balance in three equal installments."

That’s three equal installments.   Or "installments x 3," as I like to joke with a friend of mine who’s a math teacher. 

Teachers, it’s time to be awoken!  Our students cannot compete in the international marketplace without some serious reform.   Yeah, yeah, we can blame overcrowded classrooms, lack of money,  and Pizza Hut lunches as the culprits.  But the real problem is a lack of inspiration.

That’s where I come in.  I was included in the "Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers" because I "made a difference" in a student’s life.  Let me ask the other teachers out there:  Do you spend your time "making a difference" like me?   Or do you spend your time counting the days before summer vacation?


  1. Pearl

    Neil…oh, never mind. Nothing I say can influence you, the way you’ve influenced all of us…Teach!

  2. Nelumbo

    5 weeks 4 days and 4 hours to grade finals.

  3. Pants

    Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe’s?! That sounds so good I’m damn near ready to drive down for it.

  4. Kevin

    Neilochka, you da man! And I know this because I nominated you!

    I’m in your blogroll but I’m not a teacher, technically. Does it count that I always wanted to be a teacher but cannot afford to give up my paying job for however many weeks it takes these days to get my student teaching done? Maybe when I have lots of money and can give up the rat race for a while and commit myself to school full time.

  5. Brooke

    Oh oh oh! I have the perfect response to this. I am going to post it on my blog instead of here. This way people will leave your blog and come to mine. *insert snicker*

    In other news, after reading this post, I have decided that I am never going to sleep with you – ever.

  6. cruisin-mom

    Neilochka…why are you eyeing the First Lady’s breasts?

  7. The Retropolitan

    I was once nominated for a similar honor: female baby beauty contest. I’m still not sure why I didn’t win, but one of the judges tried to explain it to me: “All the intimidation tactics in the world won’t change the fact that you’re a grown adult male and AGGGHHHUHCK”

    It was kinda hard to make out what he was saying through my fist. To this day, I still don’t know why I didn’t take the top honor.

  8. Heather B.

    I was a Who’s Who of American High School Students and then of College Students…I had terrible grades and had to cheat my way through economics, I feel like the entire thing is BS, but I embraced it. You should too.

  9. annie

    Please cut teachers some slack, Neil!

    If you were a teacher, you’d be complaining, too:

    Schools today are filled with nubile, scantily-clad girls. Many of them look just like Scarlett Johansson. And they not only know more about sex than you do. They KNOW that they know more.

    You’d be mincemeat.

  10. Dagny

    I so love Annie’s comment.

    I don’t feel the need to be listed in a silly book. I know that I have had great effect on former students because every now and then I will receive an email from one out of the blue.

  11. claire

    Is it my imagination, or have you gotten taller? ;]

  12. TWM

    Take your hand off Laura’s ass.

  13. ashbloem

    No good at all can come of goosing the First Lady.

  14. mea

    I definitely make a difference and I am awaiting my nomination… I teach my students to count the days until summer vacation in another language!

  15. better safe than sorry

    i’m not a teacher but i think i’ve made a difference in my life.

  16. Scarlet

    You know, I’m supposed to be writing my “Philosphy of Teaching” for one of my classes…Can I just give a link to your blog?

  17. Alissa

    I bet you teach sex ed.

  18. Nancy

    Well, you certainly have taught me a great deal…

    And what an impeccably dressed man you are, according to that pic!

  19. Tatyana

    Neil, why is your face matching your shirt in color? Are you choking, overcome with emotion?

  20. Megan

    I say all of the teachers boycott sleeping with Neil (thanks for the idea Brooke)! I, for one, will never sleep with you now, Neil. (Well, unless we get Sophia in on the mix.)

    Screw summer break, this is my last week teaching before SPRING BREAK! I can’t wait long enough for summer vacation to come. It’s all about the baby steps.

  21. Sandra

    I’m thinking that you teach anatomy. The talking penis would really get the attention of the junior high kids. You couuld dress him up with different outfits to represent things that could happen if the kidlets don’t use protection, etc…I think there’s something here.

  22. Jack

    Wow, that is a quite a tie.

  23. Brooke

    I’m with you Megan. Oh and Neil, why is your hair so messy? What were you three up to in there?

  24. Jill

    I have 2 more weeks until spring break. But yes, I make a difference. And if I have the energy left over after I go over all these essays with a fine-tooth comb, then perhaps I will write a post about it.

  25. New York Moments

    I didn’t go into teaching because I have no patience. And I can’t stand children. And…I never wanted to work with a bunch of guys who wear pocket protectors. Which explains why I’m an IT recruiter…

  26. Tuck

    Hey, if you looked like Mrs. Greenspan (ladies, it’s a guy thing) you would have also had my vote. Congrats on your resume addition.

  27. Michele

    Neil, as soon as you’ve got the stamina to chaperone a group of kids in Europe for two weeks, I’ll believe you’re a teacher. In the mean time, I’ll fax you my copy of the same letter.

    Who did you pay to get on the teacher junk mail list?

  28. modigli

    Ok, Neil. This is the one time I’m glad you didn’t include me on your list of blogger friends who are teachers.

    I saw Brooke’s post and had to come over and see what all the hype was about.

  29. Lynn

    Does this mean we have to call you Mr. Kramer now?

  30. darlin nikki

    my mom has the best stories as a teacher–like realizing at a field trip to the logging conference that one of her flatulent boys in the third grade was not so different from the gaseous baby beavers that can’t swim and just float due to their momentous internal processes. viva la beaver!

  31. Lin

    Welcome Back Mr. Kramer (and congratulations on your inclusion in such an obviously prestigious publication). You’re a star.

  32. Neil

    Thank you. Mr. Kramer will do. Or you can just say, “To Sir, With Love.”

  33. Elisabeth

    This should answer your question, Neil. I wrote this on my blog entry today (I teach at the university level):
    I can’t wait until the summer break begins – I think we are roughly five or six weeks away.

    And yes, just like Mea, I also rule because I teach my students how to count the days until summer vacation in a foreign language (French.)

  34. Melissa

    Is it just me or does the first lady need a better bra? Seriously, the girls look like they are down around her knees and for god’s sake, get those pants tailored. You’re the first lady, not the bag lady.

  35. Nance

    You know, Neil, teaching high school English was not my first career choice. I was in veterinary medicine briefly. Then I discovered that I fainted too often at the sight of blood. So…I chose education. I still get to work closely with animals, but there’s a lot less blood!

  36. Janet

    You’re welcome to take over my class ANYTIME.:)

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