In our day, it is often a necessity for teachers to get second jobs just to make ends meet. There are teachers that pull pints for tips in the evening and those who work retail jobs in addition to their teaching duties. I know someone who is a tutor outside of the school for the children of wealthy New Yorkers and makes a tidy second income from that. Is there a line that must be drawn that distinguishes what is acceptable as a secondary source of income — and what is not? For critics of teacher Judy Buranich, the line is drawn at the writing of literary erotica — regardless of the fact that Ms. Buranich writes under a pen name.
Deanna Stepp, mother of a district student, said: “We are not questioning Mrs. Buranich’s teaching credentials. We are not even questioning her ability as a writer … . What we’re questioning is that the two jobs are not compatible with one another.”
Based on everything I have read about the case, at no point did Ms. Buranich bring her literary life into the classroom. She did not, for example, have her students write examples of how they thought her stories should end, and she certainly did not bring her own stories into her classrooms.
What the above quoted mother seems to be saying, essentially, is that a mind that is capable of writing what she considers to be disturbing literature is not a mind that should be in charge of teaching students the English language.
Unlike the creepy case of Doyle Byrnes, Ms. Buranich did nothing to hurt herself or her school. She had a second job about which nobody needed to know because it had absolutely no effect on her primary job.
Somehow, this has not been a problem for the majority of her teaching career — it wasn’t just that she tried, she actually succeeded in teaching them — and she has been teaching students for nearly thirty-three years. One would think that if there would have been some issue with what she was teaching the students, it would have come up a long time ago.
Rather, I cannot help but think that the critics are of the sort to think that because they judge there to be something fundamentally immoral with the writing of this erotica, therefore a perpetrator of said moral wrong should have nothing to do with teaching their children.