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bigross86
06 Jan 14,, 22:18
‘I would love to teach but…’ (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/12/31/i-would-love-to-teach-but/)


‘I would love to teach but…’

BY VALERIE STRAUSS December 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

I recently published a post with various answers to the question: How hard is teaching? Here is one response I received by e-mail from a veteran seventh-grade language arts teacher in Frederick, Maryland, who asked not to be identified because she fears retaliation at her school. In this piece she describes students who don’t want to work, parents who want their children to have high grades no matter what, mindless curriculum and school reformers who insist on trying to quantify things that can’t be measured.

Here is her e-mail:



It is with a heavy, frustrated heart that I announce the end of my personal career in education, disappointed and resigned because I believe in learning. I was brought up to believe that education meant exploring new things, experimenting, and broadening horizons. This involved a great deal of messing up. As part of the experimentation that is growing up, I would try something, and I would either succeed or fail. I didn’t always get a chance to fix my mistakes, to go back in time and erase my failures, but instead I learned what not to do the next time. Failing grades stood, lumpy pieces of pottery graced the mantle, broken bones got casts. As a result of my education, I not only learned information, I learned to think through my ideas, to try my best every single time; I learned effort. I’d like to say that in some idealistic moment of nostalgia and pride, I decided to become a teacher, but the truth is that I never thought I would do anything else. I come from a long line of teachers and I loved school from day one.

To pursue this calling, I worked hard to earn the title of “classroom teacher,” but I became quickly disillusioned when my title of teacher did not in any way reflect my actual job. I realized that I am not permitted to really teach students anything. When I was in middle school, I studied Shakespeare, Chaucer, Poe, Twain, O. Henry, the founding fathers, if you will, of modern literary culture. Now, I was called to drag them through shallow activities that measured meaningless but “measurable” objectives.

Forced to abandon my hopes of imparting the same wisdom I had gained through my experiences and education, I resigned myself to the superficial curriculum that encouraged mindless conformity. I decided that if I was going to teach this nonsense, I was at least going to teach it well. I set my expectations high, I kept my classroom structured, I tutored students, I provided extra practice, and I tried to make class fun. At this point, I was feeling alright with myself. I quickly rose through the ranks of “favorite teacher,” kept open communication channels with parents, and had many students with solid A’s.

It was about this time that I was called down to the principal’s office with a terse e-mail that read only, “I need to speak with you.” Clueless, I took down my grade sheets, communication logs, lesson plans, and sat down as an adult still summoned down to the principal’s office. “I need to talk to you about these students.” She handed me a list of about 10 students, all of whom had D’s or F’s. At the time, I only had about 120 students, so I was relatively on par with a standard bell curve. As she brought up each one, I walked her through my grade sheets that showed not low scores but a failure to turn in work—a lack of responsibility. I showed her my tutoring logs, my letters to parents, only to be interrogated further. Eventually, the meeting came down to two quotes that I will forever remember as the defining slogans for public education:

“They are not allowed to fail.”

“If they have D’s or F’s, there is something that you are not doing for them.”

What am I not doing for them? I suppose I was not giving them the answers, I was not physically picking up their hands to write for them, I was not following them home each night to make sure they did their work on time, I was not excusing their lack of discipline, I was not going back in time and raising them from birth, but I could do none of these things. I was called down to the principal’s office many more times before I was broken, before I ended up assigning stupid assignments for large amounts of credit, ones I knew I could get students to do. Even then, I still had students failing, purely through their own refusal to put any sort of effort into anything, and I had lowered the bar so much that it took hardly anything to pass. According to the rubrics set forth by the county, if they wrote a single word on their paper, related or not to the assignment, I had to give them a 48 percent. Yet, students chose to do nothing. Why? Because we are forced to pass them. “They are not allowed to fail,” remember? Teachers are held to impossible standards, and students are accountable for hardly any part of their own education and are incapable of failing. I learned quickly that if I graded students accurately on their poor performance, then I have failed, not them. The attention is turned on me, the teacher, who is criticized, evaluated, and penalized for the fleeting wills of adolescents.

Everyone received at least a C that year—not earned, received—and I was commended for my efforts. In the time to follow, I gave up. I taught the bare minimum and didn’t feel like my students learned anything of value, but they all got good grades. I got frequent praise for being such a “good teacher.” It made me physically ill. These empty words were in no way reflective of my capabilities as a genuine instructor nor the true capabilities of my students, but rather, they were akin to the praise you give a beloved pet: you did what you were told, “good teacher.”

Despite this gilt of success, I was constantly prodded both inside the classroom and out by condescending remarks like, “It must be nice to have all that time off.” Time off? Did they mean the five or less hours of sleep I got each night between bouts of grading and planning? Did they mean the hours I spent checking my hundreds of e-mails, having to justify myself to parents, bosses, and random members of the community at large? Did they mean the time I missed with my family because I had to get all 150 of these essays graded and the data entered into a meaningless table to be analyzed for further instruction and evidence of my own worth? Did they mean the nine months of 80-hour work weeks, 40 of which were unpaid overtime weekly, only to be forced into a two-month, unpaid furlough during which I’m demeaned by the cashier at Staples for “all that time off?”

I continued to wrinkle through the sludge because I wanted to believe that it would get better, and for a brief moment, it did. I got a new administrator who preached high standards and accountability, and I decided to try to hold my students to a standard once again. Combined with a brand-new curriculum that I had to learn basically overnight, I took the chance to set the bar high, especially when it came to the gifted and talented program. I was now teaching these “highly able learners,” and all of the training I received told me to challenge them, push them, take a step back in order to “tap the genius inside our schools.” So, I did. I created an intense environment that required students’ best work. I created opportunities for students to rise to the challenge. I provided choice and tapped creativity. And I required that students take ownership of their work and be proud of genuine effort. I felt like a “good teacher” then.

However, as the whipping boy for society’s ills, I could do none of these things. I was lambasted by parents as being ineffective because their child had a B or a C. “S/he has always been an A student,” they screamed at me during frequent meetings. “How dare you give them a B?” Give them? Give them? In my silly attempts to assign grades based on what students earned according to the rubrics I was given and the high standards I set forth for student achievement, I was told that “I will not accept a grade of 50% because my student did not turn in an assignment on time.”

I wanted to tell them to tell their child, then. Tell Johnny that you will not accept his lack of responsibility, and quell any of his excuses. The reality however, is that I had to apologize, hang my head, and give Johnny another chance to earn additional credit, as if that will somehow benefit him in the real world. Johnny planned poorly, and it somehow became my fault. I thought back to my new administration’s stock phrase that had initially given me a glimmer of hope, “We’re not in the business of changing grades.” Although I heard these words a lot, each time parents complained enough, I ended up having to change grades. I was confused. To me, this was akin to going to a hardware store and demanding that they make me a cake. They would try to tell me that cake baking wasn’t their business, but I would scream and be nasty over and over until I got that cake. If this scenario were to really happen, would that hardware store bake me a cake? Probably not. They would most likely call the police and ban me from the premises. So if we accept that modern education is a business (a modern tragedy) and that our business is not changing grades, why am I expected to cave to the insane ravings of confused and misguided consumers?

I thought back to my own education, incredulous. Had I dropped the ball, my parents would have been wildly disappointed in me and apologized to the teacher, and I would have learned what not to do next time. However, education has abandoned us. Some may want to believe that my incredulity stems from defensiveness, a sort of “this wouldn’t have worked for me, so it’s only fair that it doesn’t work for you” because this is an easier truth for deluded people to accept. The real truth is that I wouldn’t have changed my failures for the world because I learned something, really learned something, and I always believed that part of my job was to help students learn things. We cannot concern ourselves so much with “fair.” As the old adage goes, “life isn’t fair,” and education should prepare students for life. Life may not be fair, but it is predictable in a statistically significant way; success generally follows hard work, doing something is typically more effective than doing nothing, and asking questions leads to answers. But remember, just because I am a teacher does not mean that my job is to help students learn things of value.

My job is to be debased by an inescapable environment of distrust which insists that teachers cannot be permitted to create and administer their own tests and quizzes, now called “assessments,” or grade their own students’ work appropriately. The development of plans, choice of content, and the texts to be used are increasingly expected to be shared by all teachers in a given subject. In a world where I am constantly instructed to “differentiate” my methods, I am condemned for using different resources than those provided because if I do, we are unable to share “data” with the county and the nation at large.

This counter-intuitive methodology smothers creativity, it restricts students’ critical thinking, and assumes a one-size-fits-all attitude that contradicts the message teachers receive. Teacher planning time has been so swallowed by the constant demand to prove our worth to the domination of oppressive teacher evaluation methods that there is little time for us to carefully analyze student work, conduct our own research, genuinely better ourselves through independent study instead of the generic mandated developments, or talk informally with our co-workers about intellectual pursuits. For a field that touts individuality and differentiation, we are forced to lump students together as we prepare all of these individuals for identical, common assessments. As a profession, we have become increasingly driven by meaningless data points and constant evaluation as opposed to discovery and knowledge.

Originality, experimentation, academic liberty, teacher autonomy, and origination are being strangled in ill-advised efforts to “fix” things that were never broken. If I must prove my worth and my students’ learning through the provision of a measurable set of objectives, then I have taught them nothing because things of value cannot be measured. Inventiveness, inquisitiveness, attitude, work ethic, passion, these things cannot be quantified to a meager data point in an endless table of scrutiny.

I am paid to give out gold stars to everyone so that no one feels left out, to give everyone an A because they feel sad if they don’t have one. I take the perpetual, insane harassment from parents who insist that their child’s failings are solely my fault because I do not coddle them to the point of being unable to accept any sort of critique; if each student is not perfect and prepared for college and life by age twelve, then I must be wrong about the quality of their work. I lower my own standards so much that I have been thinking my grades were generous. After years of being harangued, I gave Bs to D-quality work, but that is never good enough. All I can do is field the various phone calls, meetings, and e-mails, to let myself be abused, slandered, spit at because that is my career, taking the fall for our country’s mistakes and skewed priorities. So if you want your child to get an education, then I’m afraid that as a teacher, I can’t help you, but feel free to stop by if you want a sticker and a C.

I sample educator Kris Nielson when I say that: I would love to teach, but I refuse to be led by a top-down hierarchy that is completely detached from the classrooms for which it is supposed to be responsible. I cannot integrate any more information about how important it is to differentiate our instruction as we prepare our kids for tests that are anything but differentiated. In addition, I totally object and refuse to have my performance as an educator rely on “Domain 5.” It is unfair, subjective, and does not reflect anything about the teaching practices of proven educators, rather it is one more vain piece of administrative busywork that I do not have time for.

I would love to teach, but I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests that take advantage of children for the sake of profit. I refuse to subject students to every ridiculous standardized test that the state and/or district thinks is important. I refuse to have my higher-level and deep thinking lessons disrupted by meaningless assessments (like the Global Scholars test) that do little more than increase stress among children and teachers, waste instructional time and resources, and attempt to guide young adolescents into narrow choices. It is counter-productive to watch my students slouch under the weight of a system that expects them to perform well on tests that do not measure their true abilities, only memorization and application, and therefore do not measure their readiness for the next grade level—much less life, career, or college.

I would love to teach, but I will not spend another day wishing I had some time to plan my fantastic lessons because the county comes up with new and inventive ways to steal that time, under the guise of PLC meetings or whatever. I’ve seen successful PLC development. It doesn’t look like this. I’m far enough behind in my own work that I will not spend another day wondering what menial, administrative task I will hear that I forgot to do next.

I would love to teach, but I will not spend another day in a district where my coworkers are both on autopilot and in survival mode. I am tired of hearing about the miracles my peers are expected to perform, and watching the districts do next to nothing to support or develop them. I haven’t seen real professional development since I got here. The development sessions I have seen are sloppy, shallow, and have no real means of evaluation or accountability. I cannot stand to watch my coworkers being treated like untrustworthy slackers through the overbearing policies of this state, although they are the hardest working and most overloaded people I know. It is gut-wrenching to watch my district’s leadership tell us about the bad news and horrific changes coming towards us, then watch them shrug incompetently, and then tell us to work harder.

I would love to teach, but I’m tired of my increasing and troublesome physical symptoms that come from all this frustration, stress, and sadness.

Finally, I would love to teach, but I’m truly angry that parents put so much stress, fear, and anticipation into their kids’ heads to achieve a meaningless numeric grade that is inconsequential to their future needs, especially since their children’s teachers are being cowed into meeting expectations and standards that are not conducive to their children’s futures.

I quit because I’m tired of being part of the problem, and as only one soul in the river Styx, it is impossible for me to be part of the solution.

Could I be part of the solution? Of course. But no one ever asks the teachers, those who are up to their necks in the trenches each day, or if they do, it is in a patronizing way and our suggestions are readily discarded. Decisions about classrooms should be made in classrooms. Teachers are the most qualified individuals to determine what is needed for their own students. Each classroom is different. It has a different chemistry, different dynamic, different demographic, and the teacher is the one who keeps the balance. He or she knows each student, knows what they need, and they should be the ones making the decisions about how to best reach them. Sure, using different resources and strategies among schools may make data sharing more difficult, but haven’t we gone far enough with data? Each child is not a number or a data point. They can only be compared to the developmental capabilities set forth by medicine, not education, and to their own previous progress.

In addition, teachers cannot and should not be evaluated on the grades of their students. Who then would try to teach the boy who will never progress past third grade due to a brain injury? Who then will teach the girl that refuses to complete any work? Who then would teach any special education classes? What stops me from skewing my grades to keep the world off my back? Education cannot be objectively measured. It never could, and our problems began when we came to that realization and instead of embracing it, decided to force it into a quantifiable box that is much too small and too much the wrong shape.

Teachers are called to teach because they, like me, believe in potential. We are gardeners. We can plant the seeds, water, fertilize, but then we wait. Students don’t always grow under our watch; it may not be until years later that something we said or did takes root. As a result, it is impossible to hold teachers accountable for what amounts to students’ physical development. I cannot make them grow any faster; I can only provide the foundation for them to grow upon. I can provide opportunities for students to stretch and reach for the sun, I can provide them a scaffold upon which to rest on their way up, but it is up to them to try and it is up to our leaders to support us and our decisions. Like the growth we expect from our students, policy needs to be driven from the ground up, starting with teachers in order to provide the supports we need. How can we be told what we need from those who are not in our position? It is counterintuitive. Let teachers assess the needs of students so that these results can tell us what we need. It is not the place of outsiders to make one-size-fits-all mandates to a world of different shapes and proportions. In doing so, they create an atmosphere where pebbles are polished and diamonds dimmed.

Though I referenced Robert Greene Ingersoll formerly, Clifford Stroll has already addressed our country’s educational misgivings in a single sentence: “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, and understanding is not wisdom.” It is time that we fall on our sword. In our rabid pursuit of data and blame, we have sacrificed wisdom and abandoned its fruits. We cannot broaden our students’ horizons by placing them and their teachers into narrow boxes, unless we then plan to bury them.

Thoughts? Opinions? I think this picture proves the adage of the thousand-word article above:

35048

Stitch
06 Jan 14,, 22:54
That is EXACTLY what's wrong with our educational system in the US; I don't teach, but my wife does, and I have to listen to at least one story a week along these lines. If the kid doesn't get good grades, it's NEVER the kids fault, always the teacher's. My wife has to answer at least one irate e-mail a week about why their child didn't pass a test (gee, maybe it's because they FAILED it!), or why the child didn't turn in their homework (like it's the teacher's fault!). I remember growing up that when I failed a test, I failed a test; it wasn't the teachers fault, it wasn't my parents fault, it wasn't my best friends fault, it was MY fault. Now everybody's into blaming someone else for their problems and, unfortunately, the teacher is an easy target.

GVChamp
07 Jan 14,, 00:04
My thoughts are that you are focused on the wrong thing. The context of this editorial is within arguments over whether the US should impose ANY kind of standard AT ALL on teacher results, whether teachers can be held accountable and fired AT ALL, whether parents can have any choice AT ALL in where they send their children to school (besides simply moving), whether administrators have any right to reward good teachers AT ALL, etc.

You'll note that the author says she opposes all of this. Wonderful. So let's hear about that instead of dragging Gen Y and parents through the mud.

My work has jerks too and so does yours and so does everyone else's. Everyone gets saddled with unrealistic expectations. You get angry emails about students not doing their work? Big whoop. I get yelled at because the most senior person in the entire division does not do their job, and I have been in my current role less than 12 months, while in the next breath I am told "You are not his boss." The difference? In most cases it is difficult to remove a teacher. Firing me is at will and half the people in my division were terminated in an outsourcing arrangement. Oh yeah. Outsourcing. So all you have to do to get the people off your back is hand out some Cs? Yeah, okay, that's not even option for me. It's also not an option for my sister, who works front-end pharmacy, to tell seniors who do not understand their copays to shove off, because she loses customers. It is not an option for my fiancé to just roll over for the doctors, because if the doctors prescribe something lethal SHE is liable for MILLIONS of dollars in damages.

I do not want to play oppression Olympics, but
1. Stick to the damn point
2. Bashing other people is not a point
3. Everyone's job sucks

Brinktk
07 Jan 14,, 01:00
I just read this email to my wife who is a teacher and the entire time she was wholeheartedly shaking her head in agreement. I too agree. I teach the first year curriculum for military science at a university and just the 3 months I've been teaching, I'm seeing a huge proportion of my cadets/students who are wholly unprepared for higher education.

I have also already received a nasty email from a parent for her 23 year old son earning a D in my class. I'm finding they don't know even very basic stuff like spelling, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, or writing a basic essay. I'm seeing the product of the public education system and I find myself wondering how do I make up for all the ground that has been lost because they haven't been taught how to do these things I "thought" was a requirement just to make it into high school let alone graduate from it...

I may be posing questions for advice in the future on this forum since I see there is a wealth of experience here in this very subject. Time will tell, I'll keep you updated on my progress as I test methods to get these guys and gals ready for the next level.

DOR
07 Jan 14,, 01:53
My parents are both retired teachers who became principals. One of the most important lessons they taught me is that children are taught at school, but they learn at home. If the parents aren't engaged, only the most extraordinary student will succeed. If the parents are engaged, even the most challenged student will improve.

Doktor
07 Jan 14,, 02:07
Huh, where to start...

First of all not any two teachers are the same, nor the same teacher will give/award/assign same grade every day to every student given the same answer. It's not (only) because they lack standards, but also because every kid responds differently, some take the carrot, the others...

The letter from this teacher sounds a lot like she needs an excuse to give up. She tried everything but to stand her own ground. Either that or she is highly unorganized and can't work under pressure.

If one plans to work in school you must be ready to deal with 1000 kids, 2000 parents, and then some administration and politics. Your colleagues come as an extra.

Coming from a family of teachers, married to one, being in the system and now having a kid in it, observing the things from all the angles, I came to the conclusion that the "arrogant" teachers seems to fare the best. By arrogant I mean those offering a lot to the kids, asking a lot from them and not giving a damn about the principle's or counselor's wish to pass some kids or to fix some grades. They have time for every kid - 15 mins once per semester. From what I can witness their kids have above the average results and their grades are also very, very real. Nope, my wife is not (yet) one of them :rolleyes:. My grandfather, however, was.

On some of the topics she will be spot on even here - too much administration, no free time - at least not as much your friends and neighbors think you have, frequent changes of curriculum...

On a side note, what I find surprising is that GV Champ mentioned there are no standards in measuring teachers results. Since I know US schools have standardized tests for the end of the year, it is fairly easy to be done.

bonehead
07 Jan 14,, 04:28
“If they have D’s or F’s, there is something that you are not doing for them.”



There are two things but most teachers are not allowed to do either one of them.

1) Some kids are either not prepared for the current class or will never be able to understand the subject matter. They need to drop a grade or two to learn what they should have the first time and/or go to a completely different curriculum because they will never get what is going on currently. Kicking kids out of the classroom because they really don't belong there is no longer allowed.

2) Some kids really do need the teachers size 12 boot up their ass as a motivator. God help the teacher that actually helps his students in this fashion.

JAD_333
07 Jan 14,, 04:49
One might not think this relates, but when my son was 9, I signed him up for kid's soccer (football to you non-Americans). The league had 12 teams. The idea was for him to have fun, but also learn teamwork, how to compete following rules, and experience what it took to win. When the season ended, his team was dead last. On the final day, trophies were handed out, and much to my surprise every kid on every team got exactly the same trophy and a big certificate. I remarked to the person handing out the trophies that it did not seem right that the losers as well as the winners all got the same trophy. The answer was, 'we don't want to hurt any kid's feelings; winning doesn't matter; only playing matters.' My kid felt like a winner. That left him unable to confront the fact that he had really lost.

This new way of thinking shocked me. In my day, winning did matter, and when you lost, you felt bad, and that drove you to try harder the next time, but at least you knew why you lost. Only winners and achievers got awards, and that affirmed the value of hard work. One year, I tried week after week to win the class penmanship award. I lost repeatedly which made me try harder, and finally I won, and I was on cloud nine...lol...all over a lousy award for writing neatly. It was a Catholic parochial school. The nuns and lay teachers were gods; they rapped knuckles with a ruler when you misbehaved in class or they sat you in the corner on a stool facing the wall for the whole class. You learned to behave.

Today, my grade school graduating class actually has an alumni association. When I look at the list of my former classmates I am struck by how many went on to become accomplished professionals--doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, business owners. But you would think, looking at how schools are run today, that back then we suffered degradation and learned nothing. The world wasn't a better place when I was growing up, but we knew the difference between true success and failure. If it's true, as the article says, that today's system aims to increase the success rate by lowering the bar for failure, then it's understandable why so many students entering college today can only read or write at a grade school level.

bonehead
07 Jan 14,, 07:05
One might not think this relates, but when my son was 9, I signed him up for kid's soccer (football to you non-Americans). The league had 12 teams. The idea was for him to have fun, but also learn teamwork, how to compete following rules, and experience what it took to win. When the season ended, his team was dead last. On the final day, trophies were handed out, and much to my surprise every kid on every team got exactly the same trophy and a big certificate. I remarked to the person handing out the trophies that it did not seem right that the losers as well as the winners all got the same trophy. The answer was, 'we don't want to hurt any kid's feelings; winning doesn't matter; only playing matters.' My kid felt like a winner. That left him unable to confront the fact that he had really lost.

This new way of thinking shocked me. In my day, winning did matter, and when you lost, you felt bad, and that drove you to try harder the next time, but at least you knew why you lost. Only winners and achievers got awards, and that affirmed the value of hard work. One year, I tried week after week to win the class penmanship award. I lost repeatedly which made me try harder, and finally I won, and I was on cloud nine...lol...all over a lousy award for writing neatly. It was a Catholic parochial school. The nuns and lay teachers were gods; they rapped knuckles with a ruler when you misbehaved in class or they sat you in the corner on a stool facing the wall for the whole class. You learned to behave.

Today, my grade school graduating class actually has an alumni association. When I look at the list of my former classmates I am struck by how many went on to become accomplished professionals--doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, business owners. But you would think, looking at how schools are run today, that back then we suffered degradation and learned nothing. The world wasn't a better place when I was growing up, but we knew the difference between true success and failure. If it's true, as the article says, that today's system aims to increase the success rate by lowering the bar for failure, then it's understandable why so many students entering college today can only read or write at a grade school level.



If your kid did learn teamwork, how to compete, learn the rules, etc, he is a winner in a much stronger sense than if his team was in first place. He is going to carry those lessons with him the rest of his life. Isn't that more important than his teams actual win loss record at 9 years old? Sometimes the journey/experience really is the important thing. At younger ages you should reward the early accomplishments no matter how small. The winning of contests, and the real trophies, will come later but you have to learn the game and put in the effort first. If at 9 the whole emphasis is on winning, too much gets lost along the way and kids will suffer for it down the road. At 9 and at the beginning/learning stage I really don't see any problems with this. At High school level? We have a problem. There is nothing at all wrong with a strong desire to win/succeed. However, I don't think you have to look too hard to find adults who spent their whole life thinking winning is absolutely everything. Far too many are complete losers in the end.

tbm3fan
07 Jan 14,, 07:21
One might not think this relates, but when my son was 9, I signed him up for kid's soccer (football to you non-Americans). The league had 12 teams. The idea was for him to have fun, but also learn teamwork, how to compete following rules, and experience what it took to win. When the season ended, his team was dead last. On the final day, trophies were handed out, and much to my surprise every kid on every team got exactly the same trophy and a big certificate. I remarked to the person handing out the trophies that it did not seem right that the losers as well as the winners all got the same trophy. The answer was, 'we don't want to hurt any kid's feelings; winning doesn't matter; only playing matters.' My kid felt like a winner. That left him unable to confront the fact that he had really lost.

This new way of thinking shocked me. In my day, winning did matter, and when you lost, you felt bad, and that drove you to try harder the next time, but at least you knew why you lost. Only winners and achievers got awards, and that affirmed the value of hard work. One year, I tried week after week to win the class penmanship award. I lost repeatedly which made me try harder, and finally I won, and I was on cloud nine...lol...all over a lousy award for writing neatly. It was a Catholic parochial school. The nuns and lay teachers were gods; they rapped knuckles with a ruler when you misbehaved in class or they sat you in the corner on a stool facing the wall for the whole class. You learned to behave.

Today, my grade school graduating class actually has an alumni association. When I look at the list of my former classmates I am struck by how many went on to become accomplished professionals--doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, business owners. But you would think, looking at how schools are run today, that back then we suffered degradation and learned nothing. The world wasn't a better place when I was growing up, but we knew the difference between true success and failure. If it's true, as the article says, that today's system aims to increase the success rate by lowering the bar for failure, then it's understandable why so many students entering college today can only read or write at a grade school level.

I also went to Catholic school and experienced the same stuff. Even carried on into high school where Fr. La Reviera, ex-Merchant Marine, would either hit you from across the room with an eraser and bang your head into the blackboard. Needless to say no one complained and he had the best behaved junior and senior class in the school. It was embarrassing to acknowledge you were the one.

If I came home with a bad grade my mother asked me where I had a problem and not whether the teacher had a problem. I also remember getting an F in penmanship back in 5th grade. Pissed me off so much that I vowed a change and an A. People, to this day, still remark how nice and clear my handwriting is. Actually it is still damn near perfect.

As for Pop Warner football and Little League baseball all I wanted was to finish first because first got the trophy and the rest didn't. When we didn't finish first my mental state wasn't irreparably damaged. Last, I can honestly say I didn't kill anyone and neither did any of my classmates.

JAD_333
07 Jan 14,, 07:51
If your kid did learn teamwork, how to compete, learn the rules, etc, he is a winner in a much stronger sense than if his team was in first place. He is going to carry those lessons with him the rest of his life. Isn't that more important than his teams actual win loss record at 9 years old? Sometimes the journey/experience really is the important thing. At younger ages you should reward the early accomplishments no matter how small. The winning of contests, and the real trophies, will come later but you have to learn the game and put in the effort first. If at 9 the whole emphasis is on winning, too much gets lost along the way and kids will suffer for it down the road. At 9 and at the beginning/learning stage I really don't see any problems with this. At High school level? We have a problem. There is nothing at all wrong with a strong desire to win/succeed. However, I don't think you have to look too hard to find adults who spent their whole life thinking winning is absolutely everything. Far too many are complete losers in the end.

You make some good points. I don't agree entirely. You are right that he learned teamwork, following rules and so on. No question those lessons have value in themselves. But he also learned a lesson I believe is less valuable, and that is you don't have to win to be rewarded. It's not like he was going to be raked over the coals for losing. No one was going to yell at him like the proverbial soccer mom. It's more like using his loss to motivate him to improve his skills so he could do better next time.

JAD_333
07 Jan 14,, 08:09
I also went to Catholic school and experienced the same stuff. Even carried on into high school where Fr. La Reviera, ex-Merchant Marine, would either hit you from across the room with an eraser and bang your head into the blackboard. Needless to say no one complained and he had the best behaved junior and senior class in the school. It was embarrassing to acknowledge you were the one.

If I came home with a bad grade my mother asked me where I had a problem and not whether the teacher had a problem. I also remember getting an F in penmanship back in 5th grade. Pissed me off so much that I vowed a change and an A. People, to this day, still remark how nice and clear my handwriting is. Actually it is still damn near perfect.

As for Pop Warner football and Little League baseball all I wanted was to finish first because first got the trophy and the rest didn't. When we didn't finish first my mental state wasn't irreparably damaged. Last, I can honestly say I didn't kill anyone and neither did any of my classmates.

Deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say. The best teacher I ever had was in high school English, a Franciscan monk. He made sure everyone in the class learned everything he had to teach. He quizzed us over and over until he was satisfied we got it. He never raised his voice, and no one ever misbehaved. He had way about him that made you want to please him. Anyway, I'm glad to see someone else shared my experience and didn't turn out to be a psychopath.:)

troung
07 Jan 14,, 14:44
One sided pity party.


In addition, teachers cannot and should not be evaluated on the grades of their students. Who then would try to teach the boy who will never progress past third grade due to a brain injury? Who then will teach the girl that refuses to complete any work? Who then would teach any special education classes? What stops me from skewing my grades to keep the world off my back? Education cannot be objectively measured. It never could, and our problems began when we came to that realization and instead of embracing it, decided to force it into a quantifiable box that is much too small and too much the wrong shape.

She should have led with this diamond.


Teacher planning time has been so swallowed by the constant demand to prove our worth to the domination of oppressive teacher evaluation methods that there is little time for us to carefully analyze student work, conduct our own research, genuinely better ourselves through independent study instead of the generic mandated developments, or talk informally with our co-workers about intellectual pursuits.

Someone is scared of being graded.


We are gardeners. We can plant the seeds, water, fertilize, but then we wait. Students don’t always grow under our watch; it may not be until years later that something we said or did takes root.

LOL - don't hold me to any standards. If the plants don't grow you ask them why and if things don't improve fire them, you don't let them hang around for a few decades then get a pension.


For a field that touts individuality and differentiation, we are forced to lump students together as we prepare all of these individuals for identical, common assessments. As a profession, we have become increasingly driven by meaningless data points and constant evaluation as opposed to discovery and knowledge.

Yet she gives out Ds and Fs - though I assume she doesn't want to be on the hook for those kids with the parents who give "insane ravings of confused and misguided."


So if you want your child to get an education, then I’m afraid that as a teacher, I can’t help you, but feel free to stop by if you want a sticker and a C.

Yawn.


To me, this was akin to going to a hardware store and demanding that they make me a cake. They would try to tell me that cake baking wasn’t their business, but I would scream and be nasty over and over until I got that cake

The fuck? Her job includes the issuing of grades, those parents showed up with questions regarding her job. Pathetic illustration which shows her own arrogance and poor thought process.


f this scenario were to really happen, would that hardware store bake me a cake? Probably not. They would most likely call the police and ban me from the premises. So if we accept that modern education is a business (a modern tragedy) and that our business is not changing grades, why am I expected to cave to the insane ravings of confused and misguided consumers?

They are not misguided consumers - they are the parents of students forced by law to sit in your classroom and their money was taken by the government to pay your salary. Not much free market at play there.


Education cannot be objectively measured. It never could, and our problems began when we came to that realization and instead of embracing it, decided to force it into a quantifiable box that is much too small and too much the wrong shape.

Someone doesn't want to be graded herself. She has no problem with grading the "misguided consumers" but wants a pass for herself.


I continued to wrinkle through the sludge because I wanted to believe that it would get better, and for a brief moment, it did. I got a new administrator who preached high standards and accountability, and I decided to try to hold my students to a standard once again.

Oh you poor thing...


Finally, I would love to teach, but I’m truly angry that parents put so much stress, fear, and anticipation into their kids’ heads to achieve a meaningless numeric grade that is inconsequential to their future needs, especially since their children’s teachers are being cowed into meeting expectations and standards that are not conducive to their children’s futures.

So now you have a problem with parents who are involved and concerned over grades?


It must be nice to have all that time off.” Time off? Did they mean the five or less hours of sleep I got each night between bouts of grading and planning? Did they mean the hours I spent checking my hundreds of e-mails, having to justify myself to parents, bosses, and random members of the community at large? Did they mean the time I missed with my family because I had to get all 150 of these essays graded and the data entered into a meaningless table to be analyzed for further instruction and evidence of my own worth? Did they mean the nine months of 80-hour work weeks, 40 of which were unpaid overtime weekly, only to be forced into a two-month, unpaid furlough during ”

Whiny.


which I’m demeaned by the cashier at Staples for “all that time off?

To be demeaned by such low class people.


So, I did. I created an intense environment that required students’ best work. I created opportunities for students to rise to the challenge. I provided choice and tapped creativity. And I required that students take ownership of their work and be proud of genuine effort. I felt like a “good teacher” then.

Hardass who prided herself on being tough.


However, as the whipping boy for society’s ills, I could do none of these things.
Whipping person :rolleyes:


Let teachers assess the needs of students so that these results can tell us what we need. It is not the place of outsiders to make one-size-fits-all mandates to a world of different shapes and proportions. In doing so, they create an atmosphere where pebbles are polished and diamonds dimmed.

Scared of being measured by the performance of those pebbles and diamonds.


I refuse to subject students to every ridiculous standardized test that the state and/or district thinks is important. I refuse to have my higher-level and deep thinking lessons disrupted by meaningless assessments (like the Global Scholars test) that do little more than increase stress among children and teachers, waste instructional time and resources, and attempt to guide young adolescents into narrow choices. It is counter-productive to watch my students slouch under the weight of a system that expects them to perform well on tests that do not measure their true abilities, only memorization and application, and therefore do not measure their readiness for the next grade level—much less life, career, or college.

Their parents are crazy, they are lazy, the school board is out of touch, I'm a martyr - but please don't link my job to the performance of pebbles.
===========
Arrogant bitch needed to go find a new job long before she wrote this crap. Did she count this whiny email as partof her 40 unpaid hours of work? Sadly she will probably collect a pension from those "deranged customers." A waste of space and the world is better off without her.

Captain Worley
07 Jan 14,, 15:02
For two years, I taught advanced HS, tech college, and prison classes.

The teachers in prison were all state employees who used to teach in regular schools. Every single one of them said if they had to go back and teach in regular classrooms, they'd quit.

And I could see why.

Tamara
07 Jan 14,, 15:29
I just read this email to my wife who is a teacher and the entire time she was wholeheartedly shaking her head in agreement. I too agree. I teach the first year curriculum for military science at a university and just the 3 months I've been teaching, I'm seeing a huge proportion of my cadets/students who are wholly unprepared for higher education.

I have also already received a nasty email from a parent for her 23 year old son earning a D in my class. I'm finding they don't know even very basic stuff like spelling, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, or writing a basic essay. I'm seeing the product of the public education system and I find myself wondering how do I make up for all the ground that has been lost because they haven't been taught how to do these things I "thought" was a requirement just to make it into high school let alone graduate from it...

I may be posing questions for advice in the future on this forum since I see there is a wealth of experience here in this very subject. Time will tell, I'll keep you updated on my progress as I test methods to get these guys and gals ready for the next level.

And when you got that email, did you tell them to ask the student?

That's the way it is around here, FEDERALLY. It doesn't matter if the parent is paying the way; what is going on with the student is discussed only with the student.

"Fortunately", I teach a technical skill where if people, adults, don't learn it right, they could die. So my say on "go or no go" is law. Of course, there are always at least two things to it. First of all, go or no go is not tied in with what goes down in the grade book. Secondly, I can be over ridden..................if they can find another instructor willing to take the risk.

astralis
07 Jan 14,, 16:15
from one of my favorite authors.

====

GLADLY WOLDE HE LERNE, Harry Turtledove

What could be more important for any society than making its next generation better and smarter people than the current one? Yet to whom do we entrust so much of the task of raising our children? All too often, to day-care workers who can’t find work much above the minimum wage and to teachers who majored in education because it was easy. We get what we pay for, though, here as anywhere else. The probability of “Gladly Wolde He Lerne” reflecting reality is effectively zero. Too bad.

----

Only the cold, green-blue glow of mercury vapor lamps lit the campus lot when Ted Collins pulled in. He had to park a long way from the lecture hall. He hauled his attach? case off the front passenger seat and locked the car. Then, already weary from a full day’s work, he trudged over the asphalt toward the hall.

It was more than half full when he came in. Even so, it was quiet; the rest of the educators there were as worn as he was. Some of the superintendents, administrators, program specialists, and supervisors looked fresh out of college. Others, like him, were a few years older, already experienced in managing school district affairs.

Whatever their backgrounds-Collins himself was an assistant superintendent for education planning and research-they all had one thing in common. They were all ambitious enough to go to night school to learn what they needed to know to advance in the educational bureaucracy.

Professor Vance walked in. She strode briskly to the podium and tapped at the microphone to make sure it worked. Collins took out his notebook and a pen. He’d heard from people who had been through this course that Vance didn’t believe in wasting time.

She didn’t. As soon as she found the mike was live, she plunged straight into her lecture: “Anyone can be a success at the district level. Policies are blurred there, responsibilities vague; very often you never see the actual clients who depend on you for educational services. If you hope to go farther in education, you’ll have to lose that pervasive vagueness. You got by with it at the university, you can get by with it at district offices, but it’s a fatal handicap in an actual school setting. Here’s what I mean…”

By the time that first lecture was done, Collins wondered what had possessed him to want to become a principal in the first place. He thought about dropping the class and staying comfortably in his present job. He shook his head. When he started something, he wasn’t the sort to back away from it.

He ended up acing Vance’s course. He took the others he needed, one or two a semester, always at night, as he could fit them into the rest of his life. He went through an internship program at an actual junior high school campus. He took the state-required examination for certification. Before long, he got an interview. The committee let him hang for two weeks before they let him know he’d been accepted. Kranz Elementary School had itself a new principal.

When Collins got the news, he threw the biggest party he’d ever given-and ended up with the biggest hangover he’d ever had. The hangover eventually went away. As for the size of the party-well, what the hell? With the raise he’d get from his promotion, he could afford it and then some.

He started his new job in the fall. It was as challenging as he’d hoped it would be. Budgeting for a single school was a much more complicated-and, as Professor Vance had warned so long ago, a much more precise-business than planning for district-wide programs, where you could always shuffle money between dozens of different accounts.

Human relations counted for more at the school-site level, too. Little by little, he learned how to build rapport with the faculty. As principal, he also came into contact with pupils, something he’d never done back in the district office. Dealing with them made the problem of handling a staff look simple. But again, he learned.

He got on with the rest of his life, too. He married a curriculum specialist from the district office where he’d worked before. He took up golf. After a while, he was shooting in the mid eighties. He grew a mustache. After a while, it turned salt-and-pepper.

Satisfying as his principal’s assignment had been, he slowly decided it didn’t give him everything he needed. He hated the idea of being in a rut for the rest of his life. He talked things over with his wife. “Go for it,” she said. “I know it’ll be tough. Even if you don’t make it-and so many people don’t-you’ll be better for the experience. But I think you will. I think you can do it.”

“You’re wonderful,” he said, and kissed her. The very next day, he enrolled in night school again.

The moment he walked into his first class, he saw most of his fellow students were folks a lot like him: solid men and women who’d already built up solid careers but wanted something more. Oh, there were a couple of people in their early thirties, but only a couple. He knew they were the ones he’d have to watch out for, the whiz kids, the ones on the fast track to the top. He was no whiz kid. He was a grinder. That had always worked till now. He had to hope it would keep on working.

“Congratulations,” Dr. de la Vega said as he walked to the front of the classroom and sat down on the table by the podium. “Congratulations just for being here, and for wanting to be the best.” His mild smile turned savage. “Now we’ll see how many of you I can run out of the program over the next twenty weeks.”

He meant it, too. Nothing was watered down here, nothing simplified to let the slower people keep up. If you couldn’t keep up, too bad. Grimly, Collins buckled down to do the work. He ended up with a high B in the course, and felt prouder of it than of most A’s he’d earned.

Every course in the whole program turned out to be like that. Collins learned to live on coffee and four hours of sleep a night. At a physical, his doctor warned him all that coffee could bring on an ulcer. He kept drinking it. Without it, he would have had to quit, and he’d come too far to do that.

As time went on, he became ever more conscious of the responsibility that came with jobs at the top of the hierarchy. He had to look hard at himself to find out whether he truly wanted it. Without false modesty, he decided he did.

Before he was even allowed to take the exams at the end of the program, he had to convince an interview board he was worthy. The exams themselves made the ones he’d taken to qualify for principal look like a pop quiz. When he learned he’d passed, everybody at his school gave him a party. He got his picture in the local paper, along with half a dozen other tired-looking people.

More interviews-now he could pick and choose, because there were always more jobs than people qualified to fill them.

He finally settled on one not far from where he lived, in a top-notch school. “We’re delighted to have you,” the principal there said, shaking his hand.

Once his exams were over, Collins had cut way back on his caffeine intake. Even so, he hardly slept the night before his first day on the new job. “Am I really good enough?” he asked his wife as he picked at breakfast that morning.

“You bet you are,” she said. “Now, go get ‘em.”

For all her encouragement, he needed a deep breath to still the fear inside him as he walked up to the enameled door with the tarnished brass 7 on it. He opened the door. He went inside.

“Good morning, class,” he said, forcing his voice to steadiness.

“Good morning, teacher,” the children chorused.

Teacher. He felt ready to burst with pride. After so long, after so much hard work, at last he’d reached the pinnacle of his profession.

bonehead
07 Jan 14,, 17:52
You make some good points. I don't agree entirely. You are right that he learned teamwork, following rules and so on. No question those lessons have value in themselves. But he also learned a lesson I believe is less valuable, and that is you don't have to win to be rewarded. It's not like he was going to be raked over the coals for losing. No one was going to yell at him like the proverbial soccer mom. It's more like using his loss to motivate him to improve his skills so he could do better next time.

As kids mature the well grounded ones will put their losses to good use. If the kids are not having fun they won't want to continue activities such as soccer. Remember when your son was about a year old and took to the toilet the first time? Did you berate him as a failure because he missed or reward him generously because he took an important step that meant your diaper duties were just about over, and you wanted to encourage him to continue. A win depends on where you put the goals.

Brinktk
07 Jan 14,, 18:04
And when you got that email, did you tell them to ask the student?

That's the way it is around here, FEDERALLY. It doesn't matter if the parent is paying the way; what is going on with the student is discussed only with the student.

"Fortunately", I teach a technical skill where if people, adults, don't learn it right, they could die. So my say on "go or no go" is law. Of course, there are always at least two things to it. First of all, go or no go is not tied in with what goes down in the grade book. Secondly, I can be over ridden..................if they can find another instructor willing to take the risk.

That's exactly what I said. I told them if the student was willing for me to release their information to the 3rd party I would, AFTER said student signed a release, otherwise I cannot release any information in regards to this student.

Class starts back up tomorrow and I'm making a few revisions to the syllabus that they were operating under before I came in. I teach military science/ basic officer leadership which can be hard to quantify through a "rubric". I've got a few ideas in mind and I guess we'll just have to see how it all works out.

antimony
07 Jan 14,, 19:41
Arrogant bitch needed to go find a new job long before she wrote this crap. Did she count this whiny email as partof her 40 unpaid hours of work? Sadly she will probably collect a pension from those "deranged customers." A waste of space and the world is better off without her.

Oh I am sorry, are you the kid who got that F which had to be changed into a C?

What the fuck matters more - the efforts of the teacher (she was at least doing her job and teaching) or the expectations of the parents that their kids need to be rewarded.

I don't agree with her that students cannot be measured, but the expectations that kids today need to be handled like a a delicate free range egg with bland non threatning grades is disgusting.

tbm3fan
07 Jan 14,, 19:57
Deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say. The best teacher I ever had was in high school English, a Franciscan monk. He made sure everyone in the class learned everything he had to teach. He quizzed us over and over until he was satisfied we got it. He never raised his voice, and no one ever misbehaved. He had way about him that made you want to please him. Anyway, I'm glad to see someone else shared my experience and didn't turn out to be a psychopath.:)

Our guy also taught English and was Jesuit. He was also very good at what he did and respected greatly among the students. He simply had a line you didn't cross while in class, and those who didn't understand that learned it the harder way just once, after which his reputation was all that was needed.

Sadly those days from the 50's and 60's are long gone even in a Catholic school. Luckily I missed my mother's days in Catholic schools during the 40's. Rulers are for measurements.

troung
07 Jan 14,, 20:19
Oh I am sorry, are you the kid who got that F which had to be changed into a C?

Bane style back breaking occurred when my mother's favorite son was criticized.


I don't agree with her that students cannot be measured, but the expectations that kids today need to be handled like a a delicate free range egg with bland non threatning grades is disgusting.

She doesn't want to be measured. She has no problems giving out bad grades but doesn't want to be called out for them or receive performance evaluations either.


What the fuck matters more - the efforts of the teacher (she was at least doing her job and teaching) or the expectations of the parents that their kids need to be rewarded.

Someone that writes a 25 paragraph bitch fest about why they are quitting their job probably has a screw loose, we have only her word to say that she was some great beloved teacher who was attacked by the parents of the pebbles and the administration. She is angry that parents took an active role and called her to task on her job and that she was to be held to account for her student's performance. It jumps from complaining about uninvolved parents to some rambling crap about hardware stores and cake baking when parents do show up and call her to task. She wants to have power over people without any oversight.

The article is a whiny pity party which seeks to blame everyone else for her not liking her job when she had to deal with performance metrics and oversight. It was cartoonishly one-sided bitching aimed to hit all the right keys - lazy young people, bureaucracy and overbearing parents to cover up the fact some arrogant bitch got called out by the parents of the diamonds and the administration. All we have is her self serving word that she didn't suck and wasn't herself part of the problem.

"Back in my days we got beaten three times a day by President Taft and liked it."

The comment section on the actual article is a teachers union circle jerk.

Shame the leech is no doubt on a pension sucking away the futures of the pebbles and diamonds she has so much dislike for.

tbm3fan
07 Jan 14,, 20:33
- lazy young people, bureaucracy and overbearing parents

I know this community as in I really do know this community several of them in fact.

troung
07 Jan 14,, 21:15
I know this community as in I really do know this community several of them in fact.

I am going back to the land of "one why question a day" in a few months :tongue:.

========
Comments section on the article - the target audience.


I read this column with awe because I could totally identify with it only I doubt I could have expressed my thoughts as well. After a long and successful corporate career I got certified to teach in a local Maryland county because I believed I could "make a difference." I taught for 5 years and do believe I made a difference for quite a few students but I encountered every obstacle noted by the Frederick teacher in her email. Even today I tell friends that I encountered two types of parents, those who wanted to know why their darling wasn't getting an "A" because he/she had always gotten A's in other classes, and those who simply wanted to make sure that their child would pass so he/she could graduate and get out of the house. As for "central office administrators" all I can say is that they truly are examples of the old "if you can't do something then teach it" because the next line of that old saw should be "if you can't teach it, tell other people how to teach it." Another thing that's sad about the system is that people who move up the management chain aren't motivated by being better teachers; management is simply the only mechanism for getting a promotion and earning more money.


The Department of Education with its top down standards established by administrators who have little to no training or experience in the field impedes the learning process by setting a one-size-fits-all curriculum. This reduces teachers from educator to presenter.

These administrators justify their existence and prove their value by developing metrics that have little to do with educating or challenging students, or promoting student creativity. Students conform to the metrics. Educators are confined by them. US students’ performance has continually dropped vs. the rest of the world since the DoE was created.

Imagine how much money would be available to schools if this wasteful spending were eliminated! Funds would be available for art, music, lower student:teacher ratios, books, and facilities.

She is wrong on one point. She states that the rules are such that students are not allowed to fail and this does not prepare them for life in the real world. But we live in a society that promotes that everyone, including capable people who choose to put forth little or no effort, should still get a passing grade (in the form of government subsidies that provide funds for food, clothing, shelter and other necessities like flat screen TVs and cell phones). This is called “fairness”. People even convince themselves that those who were unwilling (Note: I am not referring to those who are unable) to provide for themselves will manage to become productive members of society if we just continue to give them a hand up. In fact, this has created a continually dependent class. America’s poor have a higher standard of living than members of the middle class in over half the world.


Your article is 100% true and honest. I was a high school mathematics teacher for seven years. I taught in South Carolina and Maryland and you hit the nail right on the head. If there is anyone who disagrees then they have never set foot in the battlefield of the public school classroom. I am glad that the struggle is now put in print. I would never go back to teaching high school because of all the reasons that the article stated. It gives you a sick feeling in your stomach when you have to lower your standards and you are doing everything possible to help and the students do not have to anything and its your fault. It is a joke and travesty. Thanks for the time that you took to write this article. Have a great year.


Here's one idea that will pry never fly.... Let's pass a law that no one can pass laws affecting education until he or she has completed ten consecutive, successful years as a public school teacher. Then we could stick to what works instead of coming up with (not) new education policies every five years. I'm a veteran teacher whose non-teaching duties have increased 2,000 percent in the last two years. I did the math on all the new requirements, distractions and interruptions, and I determined that I now have an average of 45 seconds of one-on-one time per student.


Agreed 100%. Holding teachers responsible for the performance and motivation of their students is a sure road to failure, one that we're already far along.

Similarly, holding schools accountable for their students' performance on standardized tests only promotes rote memorization at best, and cheating and fraud at worst. It further drives the polarization between "good" and "bad" schools and takes money away from schools that need it the most and gives it to those that need it the least.

Brinktk
07 Jan 14,, 22:08
I suppose people being able to identify with this teachers protests is certainly indicative of a conspiracy of victimization and martyrdom en masse by the people who actually do this for a job. Perhaps the point of the email was not necessarily to bitch and moan, it was to point out what problems are being created within public education by a top down, over bureaucratized approach. Sure, there was some bitching and soapboxing, but there was also content that begs exploration. How would you rectify this problem if made King/Queen for a day?

antimony
07 Jan 14,, 22:52
Bane style back breaking occurred when my mother's favorite son was criticized.


So, not you then



She doesn't want to be measured. She has no problems giving out bad grades but doesn't want to be called out for them or receive performance evaluations either.


She is doing her job, teaching. About her performance evaluations - if she is measured on how many students she has to forcibly pass, yes, then I am on her side.



Someone that writes a 25 paragraph bitch fest about why they are quitting their job probably has a screw loose, we have only her word to say that she was some great beloved teacher who was attacked by the parents of the pebbles and the administration. She is angry that parents took an active role and called her to task on her job and that she was to be held to account for her student's performance. It jumps from complaining about uninvolved parents to some rambling crap about hardware stores and cake baking when parents do show up and call her to task. She wants to have power over people without any oversight.

The article is a whiny pity party which seeks to blame everyone else for her not liking her job when she had to deal with performance metrics and oversight. It was cartoonishly one-sided bitching aimed to hit all the right keys - lazy young people, bureaucracy and overbearing parents to cover up the fact some arrogant bitch got called out by the parents of the diamonds and the administration. All we have is her self serving word that she didn't suck and wasn't herself part of the problem.

"Back in my days we got beaten three times a day by President Taft and liked it."

The comment section on the actual article is a teachers union circle jerk.

Shame the leech is no doubt on a pension sucking away the futures of the pebbles and diamonds she has so much dislike for.

From what I have seen in schools here, she is right. The "pebbles" and "diamonds" in Us schools could do with some serious academic asskicking. They also need some serious fear in their lives, that slacking during school is going to ruin their lives and careers.

troung
07 Jan 14,, 23:09
She is doing her job, teaching. About her performance evaluations - if she is measured on how many students she has to forcibly pass, yes, then I am on her side.

She was complaining about more then just having to hand out Gentleman Cs to the pebbles.


From what I have seen in schools here, she is right. The "pebbles" and "diamonds" in Us schools could do with some serious academic asskicking. They also need some serious fear in their lives, that slacking during school is going to ruin their lives and careers.

Ineffective teachers need to be purged as well. It doesn't sound, even in her biased and self serving account, like the author thrived under scrutiny.

Pretty shitty writer as well.
======
Article was aimed to an audience who fell themselves victims because of their chosen profession.

I find it disturbing that you consider teachers "whiners" when what we are doing is trying to speak up and voice our concerns with this broken system......not for ourselves, but for our students. Excuse us for trying to advocate for change, to defend a student's right to learn from their failures, to make learning more important than standardized tests, and to be able to personalize a student's education to benefit them individually. You, are part of the problem. But, I have a 65 hour work week to prepare for, so I better quit "whining" and get down to it!

As a teacher, I recognize everything Ms. Strauss says in her essay. I imagine that she has been a top tier teacher. The educational system is sick in this country. Those in control of policy have reduced it to "quantifiable" vacuity. As a history teacher, I am appalled at what I am required to teach and of my inability to exercise my judgment as to what should be included to make the learning meaningful. Similarly, I am disheartened that we facilitate trifling attitudes in indolent students: they don't need to sweat it, the teacher does. There's more, and Ms. Strauss hits on much of it. I fear things will get worse before they get better. I'll add that this seems to go deeper than party politics. But money may be at the root of the evil. The forces that seem to be pushing these policies are either making money on them, or are fearful that their incomes will be cut off when it's discovered that they are sophists pushing snake oil (e.g., educational specialists with doctorates in pedagogy employed in central offices who left the classroom long ago).

Officer of Engineers
08 Jan 14,, 01:58
How would you rectify this problem if made King/Queen for a day?Your case is easy. You're training officers. They have to EARN the right to lead men.

Brinktk
08 Jan 14,, 05:13
Your case is easy. You're training officers. They have to EARN the right to lead men.

Trust me, they're going to earn every bit of it.

Officer of Engineers
08 Jan 14,, 05:23
I have absolutely no doubt.

Doktor
08 Jan 14,, 08:12
Teachers are not happy for being crappy is new, eh?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMvGTiU1o0o#t=202

Gun Grape
09 Jan 14,, 01:42
Trust me, they're going to earn every bit of it.

Let me pass on the words of wisdom that were given to me when I was a Blockhouse instructor.

Never forget that your name will be associated with that individual by your peers. Your reputation rest with their performance in the fleet.

Your not going to be an instructor forever. Train them like they were going to your unit. Because one day they will be in your unit.

Brinktk
09 Jan 14,, 02:22
Let me pass on the words of wisdom that were given to me when I was a Blockhouse instructor.

Never forget that your name will be associated with that individual by your peers. Your reputation rest with their performance in the fleet.

Your not going to be an instructor forever. Train them like they were going to your unit. Because one day they will be in your unit.

Absolutely. I'm actually compiling a required reading list as we speak. I know I got the first class of the semesters attention today after going over the syllabus. Lots of wide eyes. I guess it was quite different than the one they received last semester. Basically, it went the way of "it's no excuse time, either deal with it and perform or gtfo."

Tamara
10 Jan 14,, 09:20
Absolutely. I'm actually compiling a required reading list as we speak. I know I got the first class of the semesters attention today after going over the syllabus. Lots of wide eyes. I guess it was quite different than the one they received last semester. Basically, it went the way of "it's no excuse time, either deal with it and perform or gtfo."

As things go, that has happened to me in a lot of classes, from the 90's to now. Some instructors say it is the contract with the student; there is an old cartoon which shows a student running after their windblown papers screaming, "Oh, No! My syllabus!". Two passerbys see this, one questions what a syllabus is.

"Professor's way of "I told you so"."

Of course, I recall another prof, ex career police, say during the first meeting, "Don't like that? (about some method of his teaching) There's the door.".

In my case, the first session is suppose to be paperwork, but more because it is legal and waivers, and not because of what comes next. Sign and initial. As time goes on, I am learning there is more and more reason of why to have them do that, more and more situations where if they try to take you to court because of something that happened, you got the paperwork upfront that they were informed and they acknowledged that risk.

As far as what Gun Grape said,


"Let me pass on the words of wisdom that were given to me when I was a Blockhouse instructor.

Never forget that your name will be associated with that individual by your peers. Your reputation rest with their performance in the fleet.

Your not going to be an instructor forever. Train them like they were going to your unit. Because one day they will be in your unit."

How very true. In this industry, it is small, and often one's name will be known about around it. Others may not know my name, but they certainly know the name of the man who taught me, the organization I work for.

As far as training them, treating them as, if, they were to be part of my unit, I start off the bat like that. I believe, though, it is more from the joy I get, such as when I was an officer, of taking care of people. I don't know if I developed it way back when or if it is just something that is always there.

Granted, however, as each class moves on,.......there are those, here and there, that really get on my nerves.