>"No, it doesn't make you a bad teacher, it makes you just a teacher."
?.. just a teacher?
>"I work 53-70 hours a week at my job. I love my work, love the sense of accomplishment. I get three weeks paid vacation every year and 5 sick days, I have no pension, have put some money in my 401 K and hope to retire someday, but if I was not good at my job, I would be fired, no questions asked."
Ok, so? You pretty much described the job I have now.. well, maybe except for the firing.. The impression I get from my employers, that if I was having difficulties with my job ,they would first try to do something about it before considering firing someone.
>"No union to help me stay employed, just me and my skills."
I assume you brought up unions because of teachers.. Keep in mind that nearly 1/2 the states are 'Right-to-Work" states where at will is the norm.. Teachers can be let go pretty much at any time. I have known a number of teachers whose yearly contracts were not renewed. And one that asked to resigned in the middle of the year because of rumors of inappropriate contact with a student (which was found to be baseless, but he still lost his job and now can't work as a teacher anymore.)
Just a question - as part of your job do you carry personal liability insurance in case someone sues you personally for what you do as part of your job? I paid for coverage for up to $2 million each year I was a teacher.
>"To keep from being fired, I spend some money each year to keep myself current, I also go to the library and read all the latest books geared to my career."
Most teacher certifications these days (at least here in Texas) have some sort of continuing-education requirements, which the teacher is expected to pay for themselves. Most of the newer certifications have to be renewed every five years or so.
>"I make less than most teachers my age in my school district."
I wouldn't be too sure of that - keep in mind that most teachers' salaries are based on years of service. If someone was to change careers later in life to become a teacher they might not be making as much as you. I left a job in industry when I changed over to become a teacher - and my first year I was making $22k (a little less than 1/2 what I was making as a engineer). Plus, I had to also pay for my college courses to get my teaching certificate. When I left eleven years later I was making about twice what I started at.
>"I want what every other mom wants and that is the best teachers we can get for the money we are spending."
Which you probably were.. Seems to me you have complained more about the 'how' than the 'who'...
>"As a grandmother, I want to see more as we progress."
And you're going to be disappointed - the problem is, the more things change - the more they stay the same.
>"I think it is imperitive to our survival to make sure our children learn what it is going to take for them to survive. I don't see it happening and I am worried."
I'm sure your parents felt the same, if they even noticed what the state of education was back then. My own experience was that neither of my parents paid any attention to what the school was doing or how they did it. I got on the bus in the morning and then off in the afternoon, at regular intervals I brought home a report card for someone to sign... I can't remember a single time one of my parents even talked to a teacher - well, maybe once, in the 5th grade one of my teachers call the house and suggested getting my eyes checked as I was squinting when I looked at the chalkboard (sure enough, I needed glasses).
What exactly do you see as evidence that kids today aren't going to survive? And keep in mind that the public school system can't fix the problems of the economy.
>"I see our cities declining and when I see some of them on TV, I think of third world countries, where their cities have deteriorated to the point of not being able to sustain populations. I don't want to sound like the doom and gloom predictor, but it has to ALL start with education and that means it has to start with an exceptional you."
Things change. I see things today as being very similar to how things were back in late 70's after I left high school. The petrochemical industry had collapsed. When I got out of college with my first degree and when to apply of an entry level job, I was competing with 10 ~ 20 other people with years of experience. If you were an employer at the time who would you hire, someone with years of experience or someone that the ink wasn't dry on their diploma? (and keep in mind, those employers were offering the people with experience the same pay as I was expecting to get as a new hire). I read the handwriting on the wall and went back to school and got another degree.. By the time I came out a second time the economy was doing a bit better. And later when the computer industry hit the scene and blew the economy up I did very well. What we to really fix things is for some new industry to develop like personal computers and the internet did in the 80's & 90's.
Here are a few parenting suggestions: 1) Read to your children when they are young, and do it often. This really works. 2) Buy your children Legos and other such toys and let them play. TV and computers are okay, but not more than one hour per day. 3) Take your children to a state park where there are park naturalists. Children will enjoy this way more than Disney World. While you are at it, don't take your children to Disney World. 4) Take your children to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Skip the Cubs game. As a matter of fact, you can bring your children up not knowing anything about professional sports. If they are interested participating in a sport, try cross country. Distance runners are, on the average, way smarter than football players. 5) Don't tell your children they need to study hard to make lots of money. This won't work. Tell them to learn as much as they can now, and as a result they will have many choices later on. Then, they can do something very cool, and very useful, and can serve both God and humanity. If you are an atheist, then just humanity. 6) Don't involve your children in more than one activity at a time. Their main activity should be school. 7) Spend a little time at home concentrating on the basics, like math facts, vocabulary, etc. Rote is good at home. The work at school that is higher up on the Bloom scale will come easier. 8) Reward/punish your child for behavior that is well within their control. It is okay to reward a child for doing their best, and punish them for being irresponsible. It is not a great idea to punish a child for not getting 100%, or not being 1st in his class, or not performing like their older sister, etc. 9) Don't be afraid to let children try out different activities, but keep in mind that it is more valuable for children to be involved in one activity over an extended period of time. Being competent at anything takes practice and an extended period of time. Children learn this best by experience.
If you follow these instructions, and others, You will be amazed at how good the public schools are.
what people want teachers to do: in additions to those previously listed how about the special treatment for their little darling. ie the homework for their child while thay take a week off to go to DisneyWorld. or to take a cruise. or just to take a vacation. How about tutoring in some subject they can't be bothered to help their child with. How about understanding that their child cann't be expected to do homework when football practice is far more important, for their NFL career (this is in second grade.) The parents have no reservation in explanining how educated and superior they are to the teacher, but wouldn't last 15 monutes with a class of 25 seven year olds. Then they ask for special attentions for their child. My wife has taught children of Indian and Chinese families where EDUCATION is their first concern for their children, not practice, dance, vacation or even Disney. The Chinese students go to Chinese school on Saturday, all day, to learn Chinese, math, art, etc. What are the other children doing???
I am an involved parent in a highly respected school district, and I recently started substitute teaching. Subbing has offered one astonishing experience after another. It is difficult managing a classroom, especially when there are several (or more) kids with attention disorders, and you won't know this if you've never been in one. On one hand I want my daughter to get the attention she needs, as she is also on an IEP (she's hard of hearing), but on the other hand, I don't know where the attention is supposed to come from. A teacher only has so many hours and minutes in a school day. I have been working in one first grade class with four kids who are seriously high maintenance, and they are not the kids who are falling behind. They have involved parents who work with them at home and keep them up on their work. But some of the other kids don't get that attention at home, and because of the disruptive behaviors of these four classmates, they don't get it at school either. There's also the matter of the parent who thinks their kid is a genius and wants xyz. One parent in this same class yammers about her daughter being gifted and how she should be moved to another class, blah, blah, blah. You know what? She's not exceptional. Several of the other kids in the class are superior students with better noggins. I feel like a whole new model is in order--we need a major do-over, in which the school boards, teachers, and parents all work together toward the common goal of educating our children, and our country's future work force. We DO need a system that teaches for varying learning styles. We may not be "snowflakes," but we're at least apples, you know, with varieties. If these bright yet disruptive kids were allowed to go off curriculum and learn in a fashion they could relate to, oi, they'd be so much better off. And so would the other kids. I'm personally sick of the teacher bashing. I work with my daughter to make sure she understands the material the teacher is covering, and I have discussions with the teacher on regular basis. That my daughter has access to an education is the teacher's job. That she learn from it? Pretty sure that's her's and mine. And it is true that teachers are completely limited not only in what they teach now, but also in how they teach it. The lower grades in my school literally work off the same dittos, class to class, the same lesson plan, the same everything. The only chance they have to engage kids is during discussion, and those are limited by time constraints. It's sad. They're so busy doing dittos and taking mock tests, they don't even get quiet time anymore. That is a school board's choice, not a teacher's.
You are spot on Gentle Reader... a whole new model. So how do we start? Seriously, we all know what we have isn't working, so how do we start changing it? Does anyone out there have a plan? I am almost retired, I can devote as many hours as is needed, but I am not an educator so how do we get heard?
The biggest problem is well-intentioned people making this more complicated than it is... R R R remember??? Insist on paying attention. demand response ...punish trouble makers...reward and acknowledge superior performance...be the leader...BE the authority ...demand and show respect,,, and STOP complicating everything...Jeezus
"So how do we start? Seriously, we all know what we have isn't working, so how do we start changing it?"
That's the problem - there are any number of people with theories on what to do.. Figuring out who has the best is nearly impossible - and does it need to be just one solution or should there be multiple so that people have options?
There are good teachers and bad teachers....just like every other vocation on the planet. Problem is those darn unions that protect the bad teachers and keep them in the classroom. The time for unions has passed....they used to be good for protecting workers, but now they only protect themselves, and are a drain on society and it's resources.
I've heard this guy on a talk show. Everything he said was right on the money. http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/faculty_bios/view/Pedro_Noguera
Any successful reform effort will begin with a sobering inventory of what we currently have, where it is failing, and what we can do to improve the current system. Here are a few things that won't work:
1) Accusing whole groups of people, like teachers or parents, for "failed schools." Even the most frustrating parents want what is best for their children. Some parents simply don't know how to accomplish this. Providing for children, educationally speaking, is more difficult now than ever. And, every year teachers have less and less control over how they practice their profession. A lot of what they are blamed for is far beyond their control. 2) Insisting that our education system is a complete failure, and in need of complete overhaul. If we tear down our current system, I would bet that it would be replaced with something that is less effective. Many people claim to know what works, when they really don't. Most often, such people have a political agenda. Middle class families are quite happy with our education system, and some states rank very high internationally. Middle class schools are not failures, and high-ranking states are not failures, either. The public schools, as a whole, supply multitudes of students to elite schools like MIT, Cornell, etc. 3) Privatization. Our public schools were much better before the Reagan-era privatization craze began. New York used to have a 12-member math department that was very effective. This department no longer exists. You would be surprised at how ad-hoc the decision making process is, and what loony ideas come about as a result.
Fifteen years ago we were all told that charter schools would revolutionize education. We were also told that unions were the problem, and if we could only eliminate their grip on education, all would be well. Now, here we are, years later, and the original predictions have not come true. Some charter schools have been successful but, overall, the results have not been what was promised. Maybe the unions are not optimal, but they are not responsible for the plethora of problems in our schools. And, if we could instantaneously eliminate the unions, we would also most likely eliminate the teaching profession as well.
"Maybe the unions are not optimal, but they are not responsible for the plethora of problems in our schools. And, if we could instantaneously eliminate the unions, we would also most likely eliminate the teaching profession as well."
I agree. Also, keep in mind that nearly 1/2 the states have 'Right-to-Work' laws and where teachers unions are not an issue (such as here in Texas).
Yet, if anyone was to take a look at the results for states with unions and those without - there really isn't that big of difference between the two in regards to the problems and issues that public schools experince and the success rate.
MY education did not suffer by having been "taught to the test"... grow up! and RECOGNIZE how UN-educated these children are.... they cant tell the difference between .4 and .04...they don't know when, or maybe even IF there was a World War II... "The time for unions has passed" to quote a member of this discussion...a test does NOT exclude the opportunity to teach common sense, either. When a student must be taught remedial English and Math to go to college,what does that tell YOU? ,,maybe the evil and pointless test would have discovered that.
Really?????? and how are YOU going to take them up...a notch??? So...I am a simplistic FOX news type,,,,what are you ...a Marxist parrot....cackling out your Socialistic blather who is all too happy celebrating mediocrity and sameness, and blaming others. or the "system" for the failings you help perpetuate ...YOU need to discover entropy, and see how it applies in the social realm, as well. Your stinking elitism is fouling this discussion.
I got none of this from my parents,,,they EXPECTED me tp learn in school, and I did. You are nothing but a [pompous ass in civilian clothing. The simple truth is education is the JOB of children...and they are expected to PERFORM.
As a local School Committee member in 1993 when Massachusetts passed "Ed Reform" I stated that within 10 years we will be teaching to the test. I was told "no way would that happen. The reform requirements would fit around our current teaching methods." Five years later my wife, a second grade teacher, was told every lesson in her plan book had to indicate which state standard the lesson addressed. Now, it's totally off the charts, totally to the test and now they want to evaluate teachers by test results, but the teacher can only teach what they are told with very little deviation. And every year the standards change, and more things are expected of the teacher. Continuing Educations for teachers is fine, but the requirements for that are also a moving target as some liberal PhD from Harvard decides to change things for the sake of "improvement." Last I knew, 2+2 still equalled 4, except in Middle School where it can be whatever you want as long as you feel good about it!