Letters for the week of September 18-24, 2002 

Elementary teachers have it harder, Southwestern College gets Peralta'd, OAK loses its onetime luster, but the drug war is doing just fine.

Lecturers don't matter if students don't get that far
In his interesting article, "The New University Underclass" (Aug. 28), Chris Thompson wrote that "[experienced UC] lecturers ... often draw lower salaries than elementary schoolteachers." The purpose of comparing the salaries of lecturers and schoolteachers is unclear at best. Maybe lecturers deserve better pay, but they do not deserve better pay than schoolteachers.

The job of teaching college students is child's play next to the job of teaching elementary schoolchildren. Most lecturers have a Ph.D, and possess more specialized subject matter knowledge, but every other aspect of the elementary school job is harder, from the workload to the outside pressures (for example, parents). The teaching challenges far outweigh those faced by a teacher of adults, especially considering that many if not most people who teach adults have no knowledge whatsoever of how to teach, nor any training about how people (of any age) learn.

Teaching young children is also a far more important job. If your Biology 1A teacher is boring or unclear, you can ask your TA for help, compare notes with other students, read the textbook more carefully; you can deal with it. If your first-grade teacher is bad, it can mess up your whole life.
David Herzstein Couch, Berkeley

Tattoo the correction
I'm the producer of the Tattoo the Earth festival that took place in Oakland a few weeks ago. The August 21 article "Death and Tattoos" by Katy St. Clair has an error. The name of the show is "Tattoo the Earth," not "Tattoo the World." More attention to detail, instead of an obvious overzealousness to be clever, might be a good idea before Ms. St. Clair submits her next piece. Tattoos may be "sooo 1993," but sloppy journalism has never been in style.
Scott Alderman, Cambridge, MA

Editor's Note:
We regret the error.

Tattoos are forever, but what's wrong with that?
No, I would never get a lover's name tattooed on me (Planet Clair, August 21), and having worked for a tattoo artist for three years from 1991, I even told my mother that when she had my father's name inked on her. She won't be leaving my father, she told me: 'nuff said. I changed my mind about names when my best friend was killed and I put a memorial of her on my arm.

A tattoo convention is like a Republican convention. We attend to find others like us to feel okay and proud to be a "freak." Unlike the aforementioned convention, these folks are certainly more interesting to look at, at least donning something different than the regulation blue suit and power tie. They go to get tattoos from artists from around the world they wouldn't normally have access to. If they get a little self-empowerment on the way, ain't that a good thing? Cheaper than a year's worth of therapy, and a souvenir for life to boot. For some it is therapy, with landmark buildings being blown apart and our way of life changing at an amazing pace. Some people are looking for a little permanence where they can find it. As I told my advanced English teacher in high school, as I walked out of school our last day (she told me how my tattoos bothered her), "I have no fear of permanence: do you?"
Angelique X. Gibbons, San Freaksicko


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