Monday, October 27, 2014

Time is right: Teachers are the problem.

The recent Time Magazine cover about Silicon Valley "Millionaires" solving the education woes of the 21st century has gone viral, and for most people in education, the nasty term 'viral' is owning up to its name.

One quick Google search will reveal a myriad of responses to Time's latest teacher tenure slam. (Which, to be fair, is much less provocative than its cover suggests).

Regardless, the coals are burning hot on the issue: Teacher tenure is a problem because bad teachers can't be fired. 

And you are right, Time Magazine. That's a huge problem.

Only it's not for the reason you think it is. 

Google news reports nearly twenty-five thousand results to the search 'Time Magazine Teacher Tenure'. Twenty. Five. Thousand.  Many are responses to the recent article, but others are responses to the articles of yesteryear on the same general topic.  Title after title, article after article: New York Educators Respond to TIME's Cover, Randi Weingarten Responds to TIME's Cover.  It is everywhere.

Educators and parents alike have been called to arms. And they are ready to fight. TIME is right. TIME is wrong. Teachers are good. Teachers are bad. Teachers shouldn't have tenure; no one else does. Teachers work hard. Teachers should have due process.




And that, my friends, is the problem.

It shouldn't be about teachers at all.

Because what we should be talking about is the kids. The students. The human beings in the classroom that get neither tenure nor merit pay.

Any good educator knows that when evaluating anything in the classroom, the only place to start is the kids. Talking to students gives insight about their thinking.  Asking them questions provides information about what and how well they're learning.  After all, when excellent teachers reflect on their practice, what do they do? They look at student work and student writing, and they talk to the children about what they know.  Because "No learning takes place without the learner." (Perrenoud, 1998).  In the world of teaching, learners rule.

Time-tested, research-based practices such as Responsive Classroom emphasize the importance of a teacher recognizing student's value as a human being in order to increase achievement and positive classroom culture.  Focus? The students.

Never mind the research that has concluded time and time again that the testing culture, in an effort to hold teachers accountable, has not only failed to achieve what was intended but in many cases, had a negative effect of students.

In 2001, the United Nations defined the goal of education as being 'to empower the child by developing his or her own skills, learning and other capacities, human dignity, self-esteem and self-confidence." Again, it's all about the child.

And yet, the child isn't what anyone is talking about this week.

How can we possibly make positive changes in education when all of our conversations leave out the most important part?

We can't.

If we are to ever make real change, we need to stay focused on what really matters. Doing anything else is like steering a ship through a storm and only watching the helm.

So, you're right, Time Magazine. Teacher tenure is the problem. Bad teachers are the problem. But not for the reason you think.

The reason those issues are the problem is that for every article, and rebuttal, and argument, and breath spent on this hot button, political issue, there is one less article being written about the one thing, the only thing, that does matter:

The kids.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Teaching is the crappiest job in the universe.

Can we all just take a minute and peel ourselves away from the end of summer psychosis and admit to one very cold, hard reality? Teaching is, literally, the crappiest job in the universe. Like, pee your pants a little when you pick up a dropped nickel and spill coffee on your brand new, winter white, overpriced, Anthropologie, cashmere sweater crappy.

I know. That's a terrible analogy because what teacher shops at Anthropologie for anything other than a 2oz candle? No teacher.  Which is another great reason why teaching is the crappiest job in the universe.

Exhibit A: These handwritten cards are about as lame as it gets.  I mean, please. The "best" teacher ever? Can someone say, "over-exaggeration"? I mean, truly. Ever. As in, as there ever was. What other job exists where job performance feedback from customers involves two choices: A swift see ya & goodbye, or a note making an outlandish, hyperbolic claim? How is anyone supposed to work like that? You're not.  Quit teaching and find something else that doesn't confuse the psyche.

Exhibit B: These shoes look like they spent a few months in the Cheetah exhibit at the zoo.  Torn and tattered and totally rendered useless, no human sole (pun intended) shall ever bear thier adornment again.  How does a job involving coloring impart so much physical damage to the feet?  And what is the reason behind the total injustice of wearing the formally cloud-like, comfort capsules? There is none. None at all. Jimmy Choo-Who? Not unless you want to claim bankruptcy by Mid-January.

Exhibit C: Enough already with the duties.  I'm sick of going outside and spending all that wasted time in the fresh air and sunshine. Hello, skin cancer! Nice to meet you every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10:05-10:25! What is wrong with a basic cubicle that protects you from the sun and human contact? Nothing.

  Exhibit D: New 'coworkers' every 11.8 months = a pain in it.  Just when you've gotten the team dynamics completely functional... everyone quits and you're left with a whole new crew of brand new team members who have no idea what they're doing.  "Where's the bathroom?" They ask. "Do you have any pets?" "Do you like Starbucks?" "What's your favorite color?" Oh, pu-lease.  You missed the train by a whole summer, and now I need to completely start over -- and by the way, it's not really that cute at all when you *feign* joyous excitement at the science experiment you've "never done before" or when your force your little face to light up when you finally "get" something. Whatever.  Crap, crap.

Are you with me, or are you with me? Teaching sucks.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go set up my room.

After all, I'm the best teacher... ever.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Oh Baby! It's the June Mystery Box!

It is that time again! Our June semi-mystery box is ready to set sail! The summer season has officially arrived and we are celebrating with some nautical awesomeness. Can I get an "Aye Aye, Captain?"

I know what you're thinking, there is nothing we could give you that could top the satisfaction of spending months away from your gnarly underaged crew! 

That is where you are wrong our friends, think about how your summer could improve if you only had this AWESOME new beach bag from Ooh Baby Designs??

No beach time in your near future? No worries! This bag would also be great for hauling your library books, your rock collection, or your WWE wrestling belt.

Our grand prize winner will receive the bag pictured above from Ooh Baby Designs, AND a MYSTERY box full of summer time goodies, AND . . . a shopping spree in each of our stores. 

Click on any certificate below to visit their TPT store ands scope out your potential choices!

We will also be giving terrific prizes to TWO runner ups! Two lucky teacher friends will receive the digital products pictured below in their digital inbox!

Last month's GRAND prize winner won a $200 Tieks gift card! We also gave away two $100 gift cards! 

To see what was included in previous prizes click, here, here, here, here

Simply complete three easy steps to enter the June Mystery Box Giveaway!

1. Follow
2. Comment
3. Rafflecopter

This month's comment question:

Feel free to copy and paste your answer to this month's question in the comment section on each blog. There is no need to retype every time. Please follow each blog while you are hopping through.

While your clicking through the rafflecopter, be sure to "Like" this month's sponsor, Ooh Baby Designs, on facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We apologize to our friends from around the globe, but this contest is for US residents only, please.

Nautical graphics in this post were purchased from Little Llama Shoppe. Teacher clipart images in this post were designed by Melonheadz Illustrating.

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