Grad­ing Trump: A teacher’s per­spec­tive

Santa Fe New Mexican - - OPINIONS -

Iam a re­tired teacher (38 years), so I have de­cided the best way to send a mes­sage to a pres­i­dent who holds so lit­tle re­gard for ci­vil­ity, tol­er­ance, cu­rios­ity and truth is through satire, by giv­ing Don­ald Trump a re­port card. It is be­com­ing clear that the only thing that can truly out­rage the leader of the free world is crit­i­cism of his words or ac­tions.


Good-per­form­ing tech­niques and abil­ity to per­suade people de­spite lim­ited ev­i­dence to sup­port the points you are try­ing to make. Rec­om­men­da­tions: Reach out to a broader au­di­ence. Try not to overuse ad­verbs and ad­jec­tives, e.g. “very, very” and “bad,” “good,” “ter­ri­ble” and “great.” Avoid plat­i­tudes; seek to in­spire thought. Twit­ter­ing is a lazy way of think­ing about and re­spond­ing to com­plex is­sues. Use fewer fin­ger ges­tures.


Skill in golf in­di­cates a ded­i­ca­tion to count­less hours of prac­tice. Rec­om­men­da­tion: Spend more time in the gym at the White House and less va­ca­tion time, at tax­payer ex­pense, on the golf course.


You know how to ex­ploit tax code and bank­ruptcy laws to make a ton of money. How­ever, you think sav­ing the coal in­dus­try in­stead of pre­par­ing for an en­ergy-wise fu­ture for our grand­chil­dren is a sound economic in­vest­ment. You think that you can en­tice Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to give up cheap la­bor in other coun­tries and bring jobs back to Amer­ica through tax in­cen­tives or by weak­en­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions. Rec­om­men­da­tion: Take a day or two to plant straw­ber­ries or pick toma­toes or split wood. It may teach you a lit­tle hu­mil­ity and the value of hard la­bor.


Fail­ure to un­der­stand the mean­ing of irony; e.g., you ac­cuse oth­ers of show­boat­ing and grand­stand­ing; e.g., you ex­press out­rage at white su­prem­a­cists, a group you courted dur­ing your elec­tion; e.g., you say you love the “Dream­ers.” You have a prob­lem dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the mean­ings of “easy” and “hard.” Rec­om­men­da­tion: The best way to ex­pand your vo­cab­u­lary is to read ex­ten­sively.


Failed to read the re­quired clas­sics. Turned in two book reports, “Road to riches” and “Self-pro­mo­tion.” Rec­om­men­da­tion: write co­gent, in­sight­ful cri­tiques of An­i­mal Farm, The Ad­ven­tures of Huck­le­berry Finn and All the Light We Can­not See.


Fell asleep dur­ing dis­cus­sions of ecol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence. Rec­om­men­da­tion: If you have no ac­cess to books or sci­en­tific mag­a­zines, watch the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Chan­nel and PBS pro­gram­ming on tele­vi­sion.


You think that the Amer­i­can Civil War could have been avoided through ne­go­ti­a­tion; you ex­hib­ited no cu­rios­ity or out­rage that a for­eign gov­ern­ment may have sab­o­taged our democ­racy dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. You show lim­ited knowl­edge of the First Amend­ment and the role of free press to hold the ex­ec­u­tive branch ac­count­able. Ap­par­ently you are un­aware of the causes of World War II. Rec­om­men­da­tion: ??


Wealth is a poor stan­dard by which to judge an­other per­son’s worth or qual­i­fi­ca­tions. You have a ten­dency to shove oth­ers out of the way to be first in line. You have a habit of whin­ing when you are crit­i­cized. You try to make up for your feel­ings of in­se­cu­rity by stag­ing po­lit­i­cal ral­lies, a prac­tice you share with the leader of North Korea. Rec­om­men­da­tions: Try to be more in­clu­sive. Look up def­i­ni­tion of “bully.”

Fi­nally, in the spirit of th­ese self-con­grat­u­la­tory pres­i­den­tial times, I have spent five sec­onds on self-re­flec­tion and awarded my­self an A for my ca­reer as a teacher. Any­one who dis­putes this is either a “liar” or a “crook.” Any re­puted mis­takes that I have ever made are “fake” news, which is to­tally un­fair to me.

Robert Miller is a re­tired teacher and 40-year res­i­dent of a small, con­ser­va­tive moun­tain com­mu­nity in New Mex­ico.

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