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Author: shoesnsocks Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 9935  
Subject: Re: War on Teachers Date: 1/28/2014 2:36 PM
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As a current teacher are you kidding me? I'd quit before I had to teach in some of the lower performing schools in my district. I have no desire to be threatened or cursed at. When was the last time you were in a public school like that?

Having started with those comments let me back up by giving you a list of my recommendations for improving schools. These are in particular order.
1. Students are accelerated too much early on and they do not get the foundation they need. At a lot of schools acceleration is for the parents benefit and not for the student's benefit. They can talk about how smart their kids are to their neighbors but in reality that Algebra I class in 8th grade isn't really algebra I. It's a watered down version because the kids can't really handle algebra I and so they go to high school unprepared. This means that will struggle in geometry and algebra II and precal. But it sure makes the parents happy. And just try to get a kid replaced into a lower level class that is appropriate for that student, one where they could actually learn and not be frustrated and stressed out, and be prepared to do battle with parents. Hardly worth it. Biggest reason why American kids do so poorly in math in my opinion

2. TIME - this is probably the biggest problem in classrooms today. Not enough time for teachers to prepare. Not enough time for students to be able to master material. Competency comes from mastery and with the curriculum requirements from the state and Feds it is impossible. You should check out all the strands that Texas middle school science teachers are required to teach their students And that will be state tested over. Can we say set up for failure? Kids need time to work in multiple ways with new ideas. Preparing well for class takes time too. It isn't just a matter of running off copies. And kids from low income families need even more time since they don't get the educational opportunities outside of the classroom that their wealthier friends do. Actually this overplacing students that I mentioned in #1 is a result of not giving kids enough time to master a topic but pushing them ahead without the proper foundation.
The old saying goes in education that you go slow in the beginning so you can go fast in the end. What we as a society are doing now is going fast in the beginning and then we have to go slow in the end because they need so much remediation when they get into high school subjects. I teach chemistry and I actually have kids who ask me which number goes In the house when they want to do long division without a calculator.

Budget cuts in most states are the reason why teachers can't get more time in their day to plan new and exciting lessons. I have much less time than I did 3 years ago. And a note to class sizes. Yes, big classes are horrible for several reasons. Especially in science, supplies that are not consumables, safety, grading. Multiple choice tests are lazy tests. Any good test taker, which I bet all fools are, can ace a MC test even when they don't know much. A really good test, whether short answer or essay, requires students to explain why things are the way they are, to connect unrelated phenomena into a pattern and explain , etc. and these kind of tests take a lot more time to grade. Especially when u have to train students not to use "It" and to identify what they are talking about. Plus all the countless meetings that take up planning time after school. And all the stupid surveys the district requires. And learning the new appraisal system so you can have a little control over how you are assessed. Which by the way has no bearing on how money we receive in bonuses. That is all based on improvement in test scores from one year to the next. Go figure.

3. Parents - be realistic about your child. While we may all want our kids to go to MIT few will. The more realistic you are about your child the more you will be able to help guide them into making choices that will truly help them be successful. That advice is or for parents who tend to be over involved in their kids lives. On the other extreme you have parents who are very under involved and to say that the student is in his own is an understatement. Mentoring programs for these kids with other adults is very beneficial. Personally I have been involved in a mentoring program with another district I taught in and it was highly successful. Also they had parenting classes for anyone who was interested. Often once the kids got in the mentoring program, the parents did become interested themselves and became engaged in the system.

Ok I've used up my passionate card for today. Thanks fools for giving me a venue to vent.
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